Seriously, who would want the job?

On his first foray into the complex, convoluted, confusing, confounding, chaotic world of international diplomacy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has walked into a veritable minefield of conflicting and strongly held opinion.

Under the headline, “Trudeau refuses to point finger at Russia over tensions with Turkey,” “thinkpol” reported on Thursday that,

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has broken ranks with United States President Barack Obama and other NATO allies by refusing to blame Russia over the incident in which a Turkish warplane downed a Russian Su-24 fighter near the Turkey-Syria border yesterday.

“I don’t think we’re entirely clear on everything that happened right now and I certainly don’t think that it’s helpful to start off by me choosing to point fingers to one side or another,” the Liberal leader told reporters. “I think it’s extremely important is that we call for calm that we work together that we stand by our NATO ally absolutely but do we ensure that this incident doesn’t escalate into more such incidents.”

Commenting today on Trudeau’s response to Russia’s involvement in Syria, Michael Petrou, senior writer at Macleans, reports that,Petrou

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, at a press conference yesterday in London, was asked whether Russia’s involvement in Syria is helping or hindering the situation there.

Russia’s involvement in Syria, for those who may not be up to speed on the situation—and here we must presume to include those tasked with informing Trudeau what’s going on in the world—consists largely of bombing anyone in the country fighting to rid the place of dictator Bashar al-Assad, whose regime is responsible for most of the more than 200,000 deaths in that country’s civil war, and whose crimes include using poison gas against children.

Trudeau began his response, as is sometimes his wont, with a faint and partially suppressed chuckle, as if what he’s about to reveal should be obvious to right-thinking people: “Well, I think one of the most important things that we need to do is establish a level of coherence and cohesiveness even amongst very different actors to ensure that we are moving toward what all of us want, which is greater peace and stability in the region.”

How anyone other than a first-year student at a second-rate university trying to disguise the fact that he hasn’t done the class’s required reading gets away with saying something so utterly vacuous is a mystery one suspects will deepen as Trudeau’s premiership progresses.

For Petrou, the proper Prime Ministerial response is abundantly clear and Trudeau missed it.

There should be no joy in the death of one of the downed Russians pilots, or of the Russian marine who perished in a brave rescue attempt. But the fact is Russia got what it deserved in Syria. Trudeau should have said as much.

Mr. Petrou’s point is clear. The NATO big guns should stick together and anyone who fails to fall in immediately with the accepted line of argument, should be chastised. This is certainly what happened in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq. No one stepped out of line then and we continue now to reap the chaotic results.

Is Prime Minister Trudeau irresponsibly breaking ranks with allies upon whose good will the future well-being of the world depends? Or is our new Prime Minister seeking a more moderate considered response than has sometimes been the case among world leaders? Is he demonstrating weakness and an inability to grasp the realities of the world situation, or is he waiting for all the facts to come in before making a pronouncement?

It is to be hoped Trudeau is demonstrating a moderation seldom seen on the world stage that signals the possibility of diplomacy that does not rush to saber-rattling and enemy-formation.

WalkerJoshua W. Walker, transatlantic fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, sounds as if he might side with Trudeau calling for a more temperate response to the Turkish/Russian crisis suggesting,

now there is an urgent need for de-escalation to salvage what little is left of peace and stability in the Middle East….Saving face for both leaders (Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan), who once considered each other friends, will be critical and best facilitated by calls of restraint from President Barack Obama and France’s leader, Francois Hollande…. A regional summit called by NATO to include Ankara and Moscow will allow both sides to put this week’s incident behind them, and help all involved focus on the common enemy.

It is not clear how hopes of “a regional summit” to “allow both sides to put this week’s incident behind them,” might be faciliyated by a rush to demonize either side in a complex conflict. If “de-escalation” requires stepping aside for a moment from the group-think of NATO, perhaps it is time for someone to have the courage to suggest a different route. It does not appear that the old strategies have worked all that well.