March 31, 2010

IS CANADA KICKING SAND IN OUR FACE?

I don’t blame any American diplomat for seizing the opportunity to criticize Canada for its lack of sensitivity and inclusiveness; they do it to us all the time and I don’t see why the Canadians should have all the fun. Let’s criticize them for riding roughshod over the rights of small countries and native peoples now and then just to let them know how pointless and infuriating that kind of self-righteous and empty posturing can be. Even so, lecturing one day and begging in vain on the morrow isn’t the most dignified diplomatic posture an American secretary of state can assume. And the pattern of poor relations with close allies is disturbing. Currently embroiled in a quarrel with Israel over Jewish housing construction in East Jerusalem, the administration recently angered the EU by refusing to attend a summit in Madrid, embarrassed Britain by seeming to side with Argentina over negotiations over the Falklands Islands, canceled an invitation to Afghanistan’s President Karzai, and cheesed off Brazil when President Obama made his last minute, ill-fated dash to Copenhagen to snatch the 2016 Olympics from Rio. And where the administration hasn’t figured out a way to insult an old ally, Congress steps in — this time by passing another version of the Armenian genocide resolution through a key House committee.

Where’s that “smart diplomacy” we were promised? Plus, this advice: “Beating up on our few remaining friends isn’t going to fix things. What the President really needs is a victory over an adversary.”