March 10, 2005
IF YOU ACT LIKE AN ENEMY...:
Rick Anderson laments Canadian left's neuroses about our neighbour (Toronto Star, 3/06/05)
Here's a novel suggestion: Instead of continuing to worsen Canada-U.S. relations, how about improving them? Paul Martin didn't start the bungling of U.S. relations — he's merely following in his predecessor's unhappy footsteps. And it's time for Canada to knock it off; we have genuine interests at stake.
First, we need to grow up about the U.S., to get over the phobias, insecurities and neuroses that plague Canadians, especially the left.
Michael Ignatieff said it well, speaking at the Liberal convention: "We face a geopolitical reality unlike any other country: The greatest threat to our sovereignty comes not from our enemies, but from our oldest, closest and dearest friend." And then he added the part the Canadian left doesn't like to hear: "Our independence depends on our being a credible partner in the struggle to keep North America safe." He described anti-Americanism as an "electoral ghetto" in which "we should leave the NDP to rot."
Second, Canadians must decide what's really important to us in U.S. relations. Such as: Open and fair trade, where disputes are more quickly and fairly resolved; a healthy partnership in North American security (the continental approach that outgoing U.S. ambassador Paul Cellucci advocated, only to be cold-shouldered by Jean Chrétien); collaborative forays in selected areas of international affairs, such as spreading freedom and democracy, peacekeeping; modernizing multilateral institutions (the U.N., NATO, G7, G20); countering terror; fighting HIV-AIDS and helping Africa develop.
Implicit in focussing on the important is de-focussing on the less important. Ballistic missile defence should not have become a serious irritant in the relationship. This is a weapons system whose strategic relevance is vague, might well be technologically unworkable, may never get deployed and almost certainly will never get used.
Consider, too, the nonsensical talk in Ottawa about requiring the Americans to call us for permission to fire such missiles. Let's assume North Korea, for example, launches a missile at the U.S. and a ballistic system has been successfully developed that can shoot it down. One supposes it is equally plausible — or not — to imagine the Yanks calling us for permission to shoot it down. What colour is the sky on that planet?
One nice thing is we can shoot missiles down over thir territory without having to care too much about the fallout. Posted by Orrin Judd at March 10, 2005 12:00 AM