American and Canada, allies?


America and Canada, allies?


I think far too many Americans are getting a little too upset about what certain Canadian politicians and journalists are saying about the United States.  It seems that Internet has opened up the US to some person to person feedback and some Americans are dismayed at what people are saying. 

I’d say that most Canadians consider the US a valuable ally.  A very strong friend that we agree with on a lot of stuff.  We also think that our friend can always be counted on to think about themselves first. 

Many Americans see each military action as the US bailing out the world from its problems.  Most other citizens see the Americans acting in their own best interests.  Sometimes the world’s bests interests are America’s best interests.  The world, including Canada,  will sit by and watch the US take the bulk of the load.  I’ll admit that this is unfair and spineless, but let us not kid ourselves that the US is this selfless altruistic force in the world.  If Kuwait had no oil there would have been no response by the US.  Kuwait has oil, the US did respond, and the world watched as the US paid the bill. 

American foreign policy is guided more by economic and political interests and less by freedom, democracy or fundamental human rights.  The US has supported some of the nastiest repressive regimes in the last 50 years and counted them as allies.  Iraq under Saddam Hussein was one of them.  The current regime in Saudi Arabia is another.  We see this, the world sees this, so we are naturally skeptical of the rhetoric about “freedom” that comes out of Washington.  It wasn’t that long ago when “Freedom” was cited as one of the reasons America invaded Canada. 

For many years Canada’s foreign policy just followed the US.  We were in a sense weak and spineless because we had too much invested in our relationship with the US to actually blatantly disagree.  Concerning Iraq we did blatantly disagree.  We concluded that the threat from terrorists in Afghanistan was real so we sent troops.  With Iraq we did not see the same threat.  It would have been easy for us to join the coalition of the willing, but Canada actually found some courage to decline.  Something that surprised many of us.  I’m proud of our nation for standing by its values. 

Americans, like the citizens of any other nation, live in their own bubble.  Their angle on the world is often unique and distinct from that of Canadians.  We, like other societies have an advantage in that we can compare our perspective to the American one.  Now that things like the Internet have bridged the gap, and Americans are now being introduced to alternative perspectives some are getting upset.  They have suddenly realized that people in western democracies like Australia and Canada hate them. 

There have been people in Canada that have hated the US for as long as I can remember.  Especially the 20% of Canadians that make up the strong “left”.  They refuse to give the US any credit for anything, and see everything the US does from military action to global trade is negative, imperialistic and often evil.  These people make it in to government and they write in newspapers.  They do not speak for all of Canada.

There is a greater group of Canadians which are willing to give the US some credit.  There are probably about 30%  of the Canadian population that make up the strong  “right” that would fully agree that Canada is bunch of pansies, we should make hefty increases to our military spending so we can actually contribute in a relevant military way.  Many of the people in this group would have had us in Iraq.  They agreed that Saddam should be ousted and we are friends with the US and buddies always have each other’s back.  I’d say that most Canadians are somewhere in the middle.

We believe in the founding principles of western civilization.  We believe in the inalienable human rights of all people. Naturally we are a little dismayed when our strongest ally decides that some people have less rights than others, and decide to go against treaties that they have signed.  From our perspective we see American military actions as being inconsistent with what we know to be American values.  I believe a little less than half the US population agrees with us. 

Canada and the rest of the world will consistently call the US on what we see as blatant inconsistencies and lies.  Some people will be ridiculous when they do it.  Get over it and get over yourselves.  America is far from perfect, but that doesn’t mean America isn’t a great nation. 

  1. #1 by Bene Diction on November 25, 2004 - 1:09 pm

    Americans haven’t had to look outward LT.

    I think I disagree that x number of Canadians hate or dislike Americans, I think X number of Canadians dislike US policy.

    And because we get so many US first time tourists that think Canada is a 51st state, I can understand disgrundlement.

    I’ve found that criticizing the US government is often the same as criticising an American in their view.

    Because geography and regionalism plays a strong role in how Canadians see politics I think we are well served to make the distinction to our US friends.

    And I think it will take time for them to hear us. I’m not optimistic, history does not bode well.

    I don’t think American friends are remotely aware of the difficulties and rhetoric we receive from their politicans. When the US ambassador makes public comments on our internal policy we have enough sense to get cranky.

    Canada is not homogenous. Rather than get angry I hope we can learn to stand strong in the gap.

  2. #2 by lylem on November 27, 2004 - 2:34 am

    Carolyn Parrish does represents Canada no more then George W. Bush (Or John Kerry) represents the US. These are elected officials. They will say whatever it takes (Even full out lies) to get elected. Hate and fear are tactics that can be used to “Solidify your base”. I don’t like it, so I would rather ignore it then give it the time it deserves. And I wouldn’t get my panties in a knot about it. They did it to Reagan and they did it to Clinton. Showing the public that you are not afraid to stand up to the Bully, gets vote, even though it is hogwash… Right Mr. Bush?!!

    But… My wife and I were talking about his the other day. Economically, the US has to get their shit together. Their foriegn policy stinks. Sure, the US does not need anybody right now.. But if your disapproval rate in all other “Non-third world” countries is bad, overtime, it hurts. It can hurt at the government level (ie. Europe bans Microsoft, China stops importing American beef, etc etc)

    Or it can hurt at the “brand” level (ie. Walmart, Coke, Disney). There have been studies showing that this is happening right now.

    The worst part about it, is the us is shipping jobs overseas in hope that it creates more people to buy american products. But the foreign policy hurts the selling of these products…. Hmmm….

    Also, Canada has these relationships to uphold. Thus, Canadians need to be recognized, globally, as a seperate force from the US. They cannot afford to have their foreign affairs kill thier economy.

    Now for Canadians. I understand That Canadians are “elitists” and they like to turn their nose up at americans. I think it is for a couple reasons.

    1. “The Microsoft Syndrome” – It is tough when you are on top. Everyone attacks you. Thus everyone is after the US.

    2. Canadians are more aware of what is going on in the world. It is the education system and the Media that provides this. Thus Canadians are more worried about the global climate.

    BUT… Canadians have been riding on the coat-tails of Lester B. Pearson for a long time. Sure, we created the UN, and are world renown for our peacekeeping. But that is because of past accomplishments. We have a military that can’t keep afloat and we do not give the Humanitarian money (Per capita) that the European’s give. So we don’t have the impact we once had.

    So in conclusion…

    Canada. Get off your soapbox.

    US. Be careful what you ask for. You might get it. Don’t forget you are paying for the War with money your are borrowing from the Chinese and Europe.

    BTW, Did you know that Canada is the #1 oil supplier to the US? It also provides 38% of the oil it needs. Canada also provides 90% of the Natural Gas, a nice percentage of the electricity, and lumber.

  3. #3 by Leighton Tebay on November 27, 2004 - 1:44 pm

    Lyle:

    You are right about Canada riding Pearson’s coat tails. Foreign aid dropped 10 years ago when we we got our financial house in order, but we haven’t returned to previous levels. Given what I learned about Paul Martin I thought Africa in particular would be priority. We will have to wait and see. I’m not sure if there is anything wrong with being on a soapbox, as long as you have the integrity to practice what you preach. You are right, Canada has not been do that.

    In the global economy the US is going to lose some jobs. I think it is inherently unfair that the US goes along with free trade as long as it benefits them. As soon as they start losing in a fair fight they slap on the tariffs. As soon as someone else gets the benefits of free trade at their expense they want to pull back. If the developing world is going to catch up to the 1st world there is going to have to be some serious give and take. The western democracies are going to have lead by putting aside nationalistic strivings and become global citizens.

  4. #4 by Paul Johnston on November 28, 2004 - 7:13 am

    How do we reconcile the Darwinian nature of economic theories and practices with a life in Christ?

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