Tensions rise between Saudi Arabia and Canada

In a tweet, the Canadian Foreign Ministry said it was "gravely concerned" by the arrest of Saudi activist Samar Badawi and other women's rights campaigners, and called for their release. CNN's Lynda Kinkade has the details.

Posted: Aug 9, 2018 5:49 PM
Updated: Aug 9, 2018 6:03 PM

The first major global conflict of the 21st century broke out in the Middle East. It didn't involve Iran. ISIS wasn't a factor. Surprisingly, even Israel found itself on the sidelines.

The initial volley of shots in the battle for the post-US period came from Saudi Arabia. The power struggle was caused by Washington's withdrawal from the world.

President Trump had surrendered the United States' role as a principal source of global stability. No longer was the country going to honor alliances, treaties or traditions. No more would its foreign policy be guided by a set of values and an inclusive vision of the world. America First has left other nations, like Canada, to fend for themselves.

Criticism of its human-rights record should be nothing new for Saudi Arabia. The US badgers them, they bristle and then it's back to business as usual. So, when the Canadian ambassador decried the detention of a women's rights activist in a tweet last Friday, Ottawa expected a similar reaction.

Instead, Riyadh unleashed the diplomatic equivalent of its nuclear arsenal. Not only was the ambassador expelled, trade was cut off and even Saudis hospitalized in Canada were moved to other countries.

This was about more than a tough tweet. The kingdom's leaders want to recast its relations with the world. They know the United States is unlikely any longer to rush to the defense of human-rights activists or allies. Such a disproportionate reaction sends a strong message to other nations that would consider criticizing its conduct.

Saudi Arabia realizes that the rules are being rewritten. Influence is being reapportioned. The oil-rich nation saw its opportunity and seized the moment.

America has stood by and watched. It told both countries to work it out among themselves. That's diplomatic speak for you are on your own, Canada.

Out of pride and principle, Ottawa may take a stand and protest against bullying and bad behavior. But ultimately, Canada is likely to lose this scrap.

We are entering an era in which might more often will make right. No single nation will be able to effect tectonic shifts in the global order. Instead, regular tremors will disrupt and inflict damage on international institutions, as well as ideals for which they stand.

Canada, France -- and perhaps even someday again the US -- can push back against these trends. They can try to lead by example. But others will exploit the benefits of the geopolitical shift.

Western sanctions against nations breaking the rules won't be strong enough in the future. Their enticements will have lost much of their luster. The West simply won't have the power to impose its will on the world.

Saudi Arabia, China, Russia and other emerging powers will play by their own set of rules.

They will have on offer their own prizes and be able to pull out their own penalties. Many of the conditions and concerns that came with Western engagement will be cast aside. It may not replace a Washington-dominated world, but it will certainly be able to contest for influence.

So, what should leaders like Canada's Justin Trudeau and France's Emmanuel Macron do at this stage?

First, they need to lay out a much more compelling case for our shared values and a vision of the world they can create.

Second, that case needs to become much more pragmatic. Vague values like human rights and democracy are a tough sell these days. Instead, they should focus on the tangible value they create. It's a world that brought you the internet, the iPhone and the next major innovation coming just around the corner.

Finally, the West needs to go on the offensive. We spend far too much time reacting, responding and repairing the damage. It's time that we more aggressively defended ourselves. It's time we put those who would endanger our way of life on the defensive.

Other countries -- and our own citizens -- took a lot for granted in the era of American global leadership. Our leaders could be counted on to do what was right. As that period comes to a close, power is diffused not only across to other countries -- but downward.

The US government may not come to Canada's aid, but its people can. Individuals and institutions can speak out. We have witnessed the incredible power of citizen-led social and political movements in recent years. It could be mobilized, especially on an issue like women's rights. That might well significantly change Saudi Arabia's calculus.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 78632

Reported Deaths: 3113
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16437734
Lake7952283
Elkhart505191
Allen4161164
St. Joseph376683
Hamilton3033104
Vanderburgh212215
Hendricks1978109
Johnson1819119
Cass18139
Porter141539
Clark135250
Tippecanoe129312
Madison106266
LaPorte96730
Howard94865
Kosciusko87812
Bartholomew86747
Floyd86150
Marshall80523
Monroe78432
Vigo77913
Delaware77752
Dubois72912
Noble71729
Boone71646
Hancock70239
Warrick61230
Jackson6075
Shelby57328
LaGrange57110
Grant53330
Dearborn52828
Morgan50135
Henry46720
Clinton4624
Wayne41010
White38411
Montgomery36721
Harrison36524
Lawrence35927
Decatur35332
Putnam3318
Daviess29620
Scott28110
Miami2792
Jasper2662
Greene25934
Franklin25116
Gibson2464
DeKalb2444
Jennings23312
Ripley2218
Steuben2173
Carroll2135
Fayette2097
Perry18913
Orange18824
Posey1840
Starke1817
Wabash1805
Wells1802
Fulton1752
Jefferson1752
Knox1711
Sullivan1631
Whitley1626
Tipton15516
Washington1531
Clay1505
Spencer1403
Randolph1345
Huntington1303
Adams1242
Newton12110
Owen1131
Rush1004
Jay970
Pulaski841
Brown762
Fountain762
Pike670
Blackford662
Benton640
Ohio636
Vermillion620
Switzerland590
Parke581
Martin530
Crawford500
Union420
Warren251
Unassigned0207

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 106557

Reported Deaths: 3784
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin19287533
Cuyahoga14120523
Hamilton10001262
Lucas5609324
Montgomery4619101
Summit3749225
Butler310569
Marion295645
Mahoning2665259
Pickaway241142
Stark1947142
Warren191440
Lorain188477
Columbiana170461
Trumbull1598112
Fairfield147334
Delaware139219
Licking139053
Clark123516
Lake116343
Wood111558
Clermont100011
Medina98836
Miami89339
Allen84246
Tuscarawas80614
Portage78264
Greene76512
Mercer67613
Richland63512
Belmont62926
Erie62630
Madison58710
Ashtabula58246
Wayne58160
Geauga56445
Ross5285
Darke44230
Sandusky42117
Hancock4153
Huron4145
Ottawa40827
Athens3662
Lawrence3340
Holmes3326
Auglaize2888
Union2801
Muskingum2651
Scioto2651
Seneca2454
Jefferson2403
Shelby2344
Preble2302
Putnam22117
Knox2199
Washington21222
Coshocton1999
Champaign1922
Morrow1882
Hardin18312
Crawford1815
Clinton1806
Logan1742
Highland1712
Perry1693
Fulton1601
Ashland1593
Wyandot1589
Defiance1574
Brown1532
Williams1393
Fayette1270
Henry1252
Hocking1239
Guernsey1217
Carroll1155
Monroe9618
Gallia852
Pike810
Jackson790
Paulding740
Van Wert732
Adams682
Meigs660
Morgan320
Vinton322
Harrison261
Noble190
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 64°
Angola
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 63°
Huntington
Few Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 61°
Decatur
61° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 61°
Van Wert
61° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 61°
Weekend Storm Chances
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events