Tuesday, June 12, 2018

An Unreliable Partner

Margaret MacMillan -- one of our finest minds -- writes in today's Guardian that Canadians are bewildered: "Bewilderment. Fear. Anger. Hurt. Canadians today are struggling to understand what Donald Trump has just done to us."

Canadians and Americans, MacMillan writes, are cousins:

Canadians see the Americans as cousins. We love the same sports: Canadians are crazy about baseball and basketball, and our beloved game of hockey is played all over the US. For generations, Canadians have moved south in search of jobs, education and fame. A large part of Canada heads for Florida, California and Hawaii in the winter to get away from the snow. When the US endures disasters we sympathize. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 Canadians opened their airfields and homes to the thousands of American planes and travellers who were stranded here. (In what seems to have been a vain attempt to win over the Trumps, Justin Trudeau took Ivanka and Jared to a cheery, feelgood musical about what happened when a plane bound for New York found itself in a remote Newfoundland village.)

But none of that matters to Donald Trump:

In the past few months increasingly testy growls have been emanating from the White House. Canada has a huge trade surplus with the US. (No matter that it doesn’t.) Canada cheats. Canada is a security threat which is why the US has to put tariffs in Canadian steel and aluminium. The Canadian government has politely disagreed. And Trudeau, in his now notorious press conference as Air Force One was heading to Singapore, repeated what he had already said: it is insulting to impose what are probably illegal tariffs on specious grounds.
It is Trump’s reaction that should have us all extremely worried – Americans included. Their country is very powerful but power does not last for ever and the US is facing challenges, from China in particular. The US needs friends and partners. So when Trump calls the chief minister of one of his country’s most reliable friends “very dishonest and weak” he is clearly not putting the interests of the United States first. His sorry advisers have piled in, so eager to please the boss that they don’t care what further damage they do. Peter Navarro, the self-proclaimed expert on China who doesn’t speak much Chinese, talks about a stab in the back. (Where have we heard that one before?) Larry Kudlow – the economist with the record of wrong predictions and the one who used to oppose Trump’s tariffs – exclaims that disagreeing with Trump on the eve of the summit with Kim Jong-un is undermining. “Kim must not see American weakness.” So that is now the role of American allies – to shower praise on the Great Leader just as his cabinet did in that shameful televised meeting last June.

Kudlow -- who is so dense about so much -- let the cat out of the bag. To score points with Kim, Trump plans to make an example of Canada, even if that example is contrary to the facts. Canadians have been schooled. Like all the contractors and workers Trump stiffed over the years, they've learned that Trump and his country are unreliable partners. There are other places to sell our wares; and there are other countries to buy from. And the next time the Americans need Canadian airports to land their planes, they can call on Vladimir Putin to help them out.

Image: Trump's Reliability


the salamander said...

.. just curious
Were vaunted 'advisors' Ivanka or Jarod
or the Secretary of State, in Quebec or Singapore ?

Oh ! Guy with the white moustache, Bolton.. saw him
Its such musical chairs to discord.. not disco.. music
its hard to catch the dosey do .. swing your partner

De-nuclearise North Korea ? Oh sure..
Trump got gamed.. no surprise
and needed a whipping boy (Trudeau)

Forget The Ugly American..
They have The Ugly American A-Hole

Owen Gray said...

He's a rolling disaster, sal. And the Republicans have rolled over.

Toby said...

This would be a good opportunity to reassess Canada's foreign and military policies.

Owen Gray said...

Absolutely, Toby. We've taken our relationship with the United States for granted. We can no longer do that.

Lorne said...

I see Larry Kudlow has suffered a heart attack, Owen. Being a complete sell-out has apparently exacted quite a toll on his body.

Owen Gray said...

As the Mound has noted, Lorne, Karma Has Klaimed Kudlow.

The Mound of Sound said...

I agree with Lorne. I too wondered if the Quebec summit and the Sunday morning talk shows were too hard on Kudlow. He's a strong opponent of tariffs and trade wars but now he's on Team Trump he has to toe a tough line that runs against his beliefs. Then he was sent on the TV shows to make stupid remarks about Trudeau. Did he have a heart attack or was it feigned?

Apropos of Toby's comment, I penned an essay today to get people thinking about the worsening decline of democracy in the US, how America could tip into a fascist state and what that would mean for Canada and the Canadian people. Henry Giroux contends that America has already tipped. Trump has compromised Congress and is well on his way to corrupting the Supreme Court. Once he's subdued those two co-equal branches of government, the Rule of Law is enfeebled clearing the say for strongman rule.

If Trump does manage to capture all branches of the American government, neutralizing the vaunted system of checks and balances, how are we to defend liberal democracy in Canada and deal with despotism in the only country with which we share a border?

Perhaps we should become Latter Day Picts and compel Trump to wall off the 49th parallel.

The Mound of Sound said...

BTW, Owen, I took down the Kudlow post because I felt it unseemly to use a guy's heart attack as a vehicle for mockery. Jesus, how Canadian is that?

Owen Gray said...

Typically Canadian, Mound. You refuse to hit a guy when he's down. Kudlow's fate, though, illustrates what happens to those who work for Trump. There's a black hole at the man's centre. And, if you get too close, you get sucked inside. What he can do to people, he can also do to liberal democracy.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Margaret and her clique are bewildered or fearful, but contrary to what the American controlled "Canadian" media outlets would have her believe, the majority of Canadians recognize POTUS45 for exactly what he is: the latest incarnation of GOP Meat Puppet.

Reagan and the Bushes were polite enough to read the speeches they were told to read - they had some idea that the bogus popularity contest that is the U.S. Presidential Election wasn't an actual reflection on their competence.

But the GOP's brain trust has followed the rest of its head up the nether regions of the American Right Wing's backside and now it will have to wear the residue for many years to come.

Just because the majority of the U.S. electorate is numerically illiterate doesn't mean Canadians have to follow suit. If Canada is so worried about free trade it need only drop it's inter-provincial trade barriers to replace any lost trade to the U.S.

Let NAFTA lapse - open up our east-west trade. Instead of whining on about dying pipelines we can pump a fraction of the money into diverting a few rivers and soon enough the Americans will wish they had those headwaters agreements.


Owen Gray said...

I think Canadians have understood that Trump offers them no salvation, KT. They may be bewildered; but that doesn't mean they don't understood what has happened to their cousins. They will seek new solutions. Relatives only have so much toleerance for each other.