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John Chuckman


“Courageous Canada Targets Russia: Washington Says Jump, Ottawa Asks How High”

I’m afraid there is a lot of truth in that harsh summary.

It’s ironic, the current prime minister’s father, Pierre Trudeau, was an extremely tough and independent-minded leader.

He did many things that upset Washington interests because he thought they were the right things for Canada to do, as, for example, travelling to Cuba and befriending Castro at a time when American pressures against Cuba were immense. Canadians freely travelled to Cuba during America’s harsh ban on travel.

Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister in the late 1960s and into the 1970s, and he was no friend of the Vietnam War. He, at one point, directed border officials to admit any Americans avoiding the war regardless of their status.

Justin, the current Prime Minister, is in most things very liberal-minded, but I sense a pattern of avoiding any conflict with the United States. In his appointment of the current Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, for example, he did an unpleasant job of catering to American interests. Her husband is even a writer for the New York Times, which is to say, he is connected to the American security establishment.

But the observed differences between father and son, may not be owing only to personality differences between father and son. They reflect also differences in the America with which each of them had to deal, and the differences are considerable.

American was a brutal society in the 1960s for sure, but I think now it has become something even more ruthless. It is making war in more than half a dozen places, and its security services are interfering in the internal affairs of many other countries at the same.

It’s almost as though, America is now literally at war with the world, only excepting those portions of it completely deferring to its primacy, and these are the nations of NATO and some nations in Asia. NATO today also has no leaders who in any challenge America, the kind of leaders it did once have.

My view is that this new level of ruthlessness relates both to the American establishment’s sense of its imminent relative decline in a world where a number of other nations – once flattened after WWII – now advance strongly and compete. It is trying to make its position for the future as indisputable as possible, building bunkers on the beach, as it were, against an invasion. It is a very short-sighted approach which flies in the face of emerging economic realities.

The ruthlessness reflects also a new set of pressures and priorities for its Mideast colony, priorities driven by what has become over decades likely the world’s most powerful political lobby, that for Israel in the United States. America is now trying not only to secure that colony’s future as a country – something never really in doubt, as I see it – but its future as a power dominating its own entire region. This attempt does not happen without great brutality and ruthlessness. It also is a short-sighted approach, ignoring many realities.

The two major goals are mutually reinforcing because advocates for Israel’s regional dominance see a United States which is highly aggressive in all of its world affairs as their best guarantee.

In this massive pursuit, there is little room for smaller, more independent-minded nations such as Canada was under Pierre Trudeau. There is also little room for international organizations, the kinds of places where countries like Canada once had conspicuous influence and support. We’ve seen a perceptible decline in respect for institutions such as the United Nations. Its budgets are attacked, its subsidiary organizations, such as UNESCO, are reviled, America’s UN ambassador speaks almost like a gangster at times and goes unchallenged, and the leadership of the United Nations is quieter and more ineffectual than I can ever remember it.

The violent efforts behind America’s desperate, and ultimately unrealistic, pursuits render the United States likely more dangerous than it has been in our lifetime.

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