US Ambassador Knows his Script
Date: Saturday, January 28 2006
Well, US Ambassador David Wilkins has just handed the new Conservative govt the obligatory public "tiff", orchestrated to make it look to the Cdn people as if Harper is really standing up for Canada's sovereignty.
He did the same for the Liberals early in the campaign - by picking a little fight and letting Paul Martin defend himself with anti-American-sounding bravado, it made it appear to the public that Martin was a good guy, and concealed the Liberals' numerous secret activities toward deep integration.
The US does this when they want to help their actual friends to build political support among their home populations.
Richard Sanders puts it this way: "When Pres. George W. Bush visited Canada in Dec. 2004 he used 3 public forums to urge Canada to join America's expansive weapons development programme. This had the effect of driving home the illusion that Canada was not already on board. It also gave Martin the welcome opportunity to please voters by pretending to stand up to the Americans.
"This is an age-old game. The American administration knows all too well, that their allies sometimes have to feign opposition to US policies in order to gain or retain domestic political support. Such oppositional play-acting does not, therefore, undermine US goals. On the contrary, because duplicitous trickery of this variety can strengthen the domestic standing of one's closest friends, such fakery is tolerated and even encouraged."
In this light, we should see this week's little row about the northwest passage as a mark of American APPROVAL of the new government.
P.S. Richard Sanders is a seasoned scholar of Canadian defense policy and the arms trade, and heads the Ottawa group Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT). GET his magazine: Press for Conversion! It was Sanders who also brought us the news that the Canada Pension Plan is investing in war industies.
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on January 29, 2006]