CANADA, FAIR-WEATHER FRIEND: Canada has a lot going for it, mostly because of its proximity to the US. Unfortunately for them, their French roots are showing and its starting to have a negative effect -- from the National Post:
"There is no security threat to Canada that the United States would not be ready, willing and able to help with," Mr. Cellucci [the US ambassador to Canada] said in a speech to the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto. "There would be no debate. There would be no hesitation. We would be there for Canada, part of our family. And that is why so many in the United States are disappointed and upset that Canada is not fully supporting us now."
Well, what does the esteemed Mr. Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada, think of this?
"Of course [Mr. Cellucci] is disappointed. We are all disappointed somewhat that we could not agree," Mr. Chrétien said. "They have the right to make their own decision, as I said, and we have the right as an independent country to make our own decision .... Being independent and sovereign nations, we can disagree and remain good friends."
However, his diplospeak either deliberately or inadvertantly misses the point. We are not disappointed that we couldn't agree on what flavor of ice cream to get. We are pissed off that when we could have really used their help, they balked. The problem isn't one of mere words, as a "failure to agree" would seem to imply. The problem is one of action.
He is certainly correct that Canada is free and sovereign and can oppose the United States, but he is incorrect in thinking that such opposition will have no effect on our relationship. We aren't friends with Canada because we like to hang out and watch Buffy together. The truth of the matter is that Chrétien knows all this, and he's playing to his electorate. I hope that they aren't as ignorant as he believes they are.
Perhaps they are not.