Rice's Ottawa Trip May Turn Into Fool's Errand

Posted on Friday, October 28 at 12:29 by Anonymous
So why is Rice here now and what does she want? Well, mostly she's here now because she didn't come after Paul Martin's government stopped waffling long enough to opt out of continental missile defence. What she wants is more interesting. Along with lower lumber rhetoric and fewer energy threats, Rice is looking for the diplomatic boost that would come with a more visible Canadian commitment to rebuilding Iraq. Almost as an aside Monday, Martin linked what Washington wants to what his government needs. Forecasting his meeting with Rice, the Prime Minister said, "We are going to be discussing several issues including softwood and Iraq." Whoops. Publicly linking a popular Canadian cause to an unpopular U.S. war isn't subtle diplomacy or good politics and it sent a shudder rippling across Official Ottawa. More is now at stake than lumber, oil or even the next federal election. Cohabitation with the colossus next door becomes more difficult for Canada with each new display of U.S. rogue behaviour. Martin certainly isn't hiding Canada's growing discomfort. With an approving electorate watching, his government is asking Rice, and ultimately Bush, for a clear sign that the U.S. will again accept the discipline of international institutions, agreements and law. Nurtured by narrow U.S. domestic political interests, a trade problem has foolishly been allowed to grow into a full-blown, cross-border test of will. Softwood is no longer just about lumber; it's about the fair resolution of differences and, most of all, it's about trust. http://www.embassymag.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2005/october/26/travers/

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