Thursday, February 19, 2009

Opportunities Soon to Be Missed

The new Fearless Leader has crossed the border in his offical capacity, and I can think of a few good things that could happen:

Short trip, long agenda: Obama travels to Canada


OTTAWA (AP) — President Barack Obama huddled with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday for talks on the slumping economy, trade and the war in Afghanistan as the new U.S. leader traveled outside his country's borders for the first time.

Obama touched down late morning in Ottawa, heading into a day of meetings on touchy topics. He came bearing a pro-trade message to assuage Canadian concerns over protectionism; a promise of a new strategy in Afghanistan as Canada moves to pull out all its troops there; and talk of clean-energy cooperation as controversy hangs over Canada's oil-rich sands.
Okay, "pro-trade message:" that sounds promising. "New strategy in Afghanistan as Canada moves to pull out all its troops there:" how about race you to the border, Stephen! "Clean-energy cooperation:" one could imagine a voluntary arrangement in which those who have oil sell it to those who want it, at a mutually-agreeable price. Pessimist that I am, though, I doubt that's what the substance of the meetings will be.
Canada is planning to pull its 2,500 combat troops out of Afghanistan's volatile south in 2011, following the loss of more than 100 troops killed in the country since 2001. Obama is headed the other direction, dispatching 17,000 more U.S. troops to the war zone.

Both the U.S. and Canada have urged other NATO countries to contribute more to stabilize Afghanistan, where insurgents have gained new strength and the top U.S commander is warning of a "tough year." But Canada's people say they have shouldered their burden enough.

Obama plans to tell Harper that the U.S. is overhauling its strategy in Afghanistan, with more effort on diplomacy.
Perhaps a little Canadian common sense will be transferred to President Rainbow Brite, but the possibility seems awfully remote. It's hard to reconcile "more effort on diplomacy" with "17,000 more U.S. troops," unless "diplomacy" is formally redefined as do what we say or we'll kill you. Maybe that's some of the coercive diplomacy that The Hillary seems to get so excited about. Sounds to me as if President Rainbow Brite plans to go on channeling Lyndon Baines Johnson. Great.
On the economy, Obama comes with a reassuring pro-trade message.

There is no strident talk from the White House about renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement — or even pulling out as a tool of leverage. Obama raised that idea as a candidate for president with an eye toward strengthening labor and environmental standards. But reopening a lucrative trade pact among Canada, Mexico and the U.S. is not a mess Obama wants to get into now.
Mexico aside, that doesn't sound bad. One cheer for the new guy.
Environmental groups want Obama to get tough with Canada about its massive oil sands operation. Alberta's tar sands present a deep supply of potential oil, but the extraction process produces a high amount of the greenhouse gases blamed for climate change.
"Get tough with Canada." And the Imperial beat goes on. It's a good thing for the whole world that we're broke. Soon we won't be able to borrow the money to pay our storm troopers any more. And I'm guessing they'll decline to kill for free. It's an ill wind that blows no one any good.


Mimi said...

Can you imagine being the parent of a Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan? You can't even say, "He died for his country," spurious as that cliche is. What a special horror it must be to know your child was lost in support of American imperialism.

Jim Wetzel said...

Yep, Mimi ... worse even than being the parent of an American to whom that happens.

Mr. Zank: feel free to drop back in and leave a civil comment any old time. Feel equally free not to leave the other sort.

tim zank said...

Sorry, I'll make it a point not to comment on your blog unless I agree with you.

Jim Wetzel said...

And the above is a fully-civil comment -- no problem. Disagree all you want. Just try to avoid the ALL-CAPS SCREAMING and the scatology with the cutesy one-letter-substituted business, please. Cuss if you must ... I've certainly succumbed to the temptation in this space before, and probably will again. But let's be grownups about it, OK?