I know it seems like every time I write it has something to do with Canada and I’m sure our readers probably get tired of hearing about it, but it should stop doing so many stupid things. I love my country but that doesn’t mean I can’t yell at it from time to time.
Take recent international boners for example. Over the course of a few weeks, Canada has managed to piss off the United Arab Emirates over letting some of their planes land in Canada more often. Whether in direct retaliation or ‘unrelated’, the UAE then nixed the free Canadian base used by the military for the Afghanistan war and now required Canadians to get a visa before traveling here. Be it a wee smidge of an overreaction on the part of the UAE or a justifiable response, I won’t engage in the finger pointing game.
Some experts near to the issue say ‘who cares… UAE is fading fast and it will hurt them by losing Canada as a friend and economic partner’ but this completely misses the point.
The bigger issue comes down to how a country and its people are perceived on the world stage. When your government makes some decision that affects trade or travel conditions for its citizens, you have to be aware that other countries might automatically assume certain things about you. Some people hold the attitude that you shouldn’t care what others think and do what makes you happiest but those people tend to be jerks oblivious to social propriety. With that segue in place, look at the way Americans are popularly perceived – pretty craptastically, which is often unfair and incorrect. You can say this is because of actual interaction with people, but a lot has to do with what their government has done.
It doesn’t mean every tiff with a country will lead to closed borders and prejudice, but it does mean you should keep yourself informed of what is going on in the world. As I write this, Canada is also mulling closing some of its embassies in Africa… a scary thought considering if something goes wrong, where are you to turn for assistance – not to mention a symbol of friendly relations between countries. You can’t control the jackassery of your government or the hissy fits of other countries, but you can be aware of what could await you before you get on a plane – because it can happen overnight.
In regards to it being harder to get into the UAE for Canadians, I personally don’t care. There are tons of other places higher on my list to visit. Besides, the initial snub by Canada was probably in response to the CN Tower being dethroned by Burj Khalifa. It’s all we have!