The View From the North

Barack Obama, President of the United States o...

Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, with Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s important, I think, to occasionally take a look at how we look from the outside, especially how our friends, especially the really good ones see us. And who would be better friends that the Canadians? What are they seeing, particularly since so many of us admire PM Harper so much. So let’s have a look. The first article is from Colin Robertson of The Globe and Mail it’s entitled

Why Canada wants to feel more love from the U.S.

Living beside the United States, remarked Pierre Trudeau, is like sleeping with an elephant: “No matter how friendly or temperate the beast, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.” The twitching is getting to the Harper government and it has responded with a series of pokes.

A trio of senior ministers – John Baird, Joe Oliver, Greg Rickford – travelled to New York this month to voice what Stephen Harper calls our “profound disappointment” over the delayed Keystone XL KXL pipeline. Said Mr. Oliver: “This isn’t right, this isn’t fair.”

In Winnipeg, Agriculture Minister Gary Ritz accused the United States of behaving like a “schoolyard bully” over country-of-origin labelling.

Last week in Washington, Ambassador Gary Doer and MP Rob Merrifield delivered an invitation from House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer to Republican House Speaker John Boehner to visit Canada for discussions on KXL and other issues.

If the Obama administration wants further evidence that Canada deserves some attention it should watch the recent exchange between former ambassador Frank McKenna and U.S. Ambassador Bruce Heyman. “It’s like a marriage. It might be really good for you but I’ve got some problems,” said Mr. McKenna of Canadian frustration over KXL and financing the Windsor-Detroit customs plaza.

Canada-U.S. relations operate on three levels: international, intermestic and people-to-people.

Ours is a complex relationship that goes beyond the traditional diplomatic conventions. Supported by the hidden wiring of connections between provinces and states, business and civil society, it is usually a model for neighbourly relations.

In international summitry, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Harper are aligned on the big-ticket issues of peace and security, banking and finance, even if they differ on approaches to climate change.

The people-to-people relationship is solid. Americans like us more than we like them. We share much in common, at work and at play, although beating Team USA at hockey is now our main Olympic goal.

It’s on the transactional level of trade and commerce that we have problems, with KXL top of the list. For Canada, KXL is i>the problem with the partner. For the United States, KXL is a problem with a partner.

via CDFAI – New From Colin Robertson.

If I’m honest (and I always try to be) I think he’s pretty much right on all counts

Daryl Copeland give us a Canadian view of the world. While I don’t completely agree with everything he says here, his view is certainly at least as valid as mine, and I think we should at least consider what he says.

Blowback: Iraq and the law of unintended consequences

Under relentless pressure from the jihadist movement Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the political collapse and territorial disintegration of Iraq in recent weeks has been striking. If this process is not reversed, the emergence of a radical Islamist enclave is likely to cause serious security problems for decades, both in the Middle East and beyond.

That has been the focus of most reporting to date. The big-picture implications are even more profound.

To be sure, the roots of the current crisis are complex and tangled. They can be traced back at least to the unravelling of the Ottoman Empire following the First World War, and the subsequent division of the territorial spoils by Britain and France according to the terms of the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

That said, and notwithstanding Tony Blair’s apparent amnesia, much of the current disaster appears directly attributable to the ill-fated decision on the part of the United States and its coalition allies to intervene militarily in Iraq 2003-11. As it happened, much of the “shock and awe” was reserved for the invaders. That colossal strategic error cost some $1.7 trillion, resulted in the deaths of over 150,000 Iraqis and 4,800 coalition soldiers and, together with the Great Recession, spelled the end of unipolarity — American international dominance.

While those costs are extraordinary, the longer term damage may prove even greater. The ISIS gains in Syria and Iraq may be only the beginning, and could give rise to further developments inimical to peace, progress and prosperity, both in the region and further afield. The obvious hazards are related to Islamic extremism, sectarian strife, civil war and ethnic partition.

Of even greater concern, however, is the continued militarization of international policy.

via CDFAI – In the Media

I think one of the key points here is that the world is seeing that the unipolar power structure that has held since 1990 is unraveling. It is doing so because America is letting it, nothing has really changed, except for the will of our government. If that is what the American people want (which I doubt, very strongly) then so be it. If it isn’t we need to start thinking about what we are going to do after Obama. We haven’t been thinking long-term we have been fighting a reactive (not pro active) battle against the administration, and that is why we’re losing. What are we for. Americans are an optimistic forward-looking people, we’re not known for being against things but for better things. We should be doing politics the same way.

What are we for; and will we fight for it?

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About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

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