Is the US Friend or Foe to Canada?
On February 23, 2021 Biden declared that "human beings are not bargainng chips" and vowed to work with Canada to gain release of two Canadians that are imprisoned in China in retaliation for Canada holding the Huawei executive that Trump wanted extradited. The allegation is that she breached tthe sanction Trump imposed on Iran.
Trump had promised to talk to President Xi but I never saw evidence of that. The two Cnaadians are undergoing a trial without presence of the consullate or journalists because China is claiming it is a national security issue as they were charged with espionage.
I have not seen or heard American coverage of this issue. I did not see any significant coverage in American nerwspapers. One might conclude that this is because most Americans simply do not care.
Half of my relatives are American. Growing up on the border between Windsor and Detroit we frequently went stateside to visit family, shop and for entertainment. As young kids we walked across the bridge to attend Tiger baseball games, went shopping, went to Hudson's to see all the decorated windows and to see Santa Claus. We even celebrate the Freedom Festival together for Canada Day and Independence Day
In 1961 John F. Kennedy made the following statement in the Canadian Parliament about the relationship between Canada and the USA: “Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies. Those whom God has so joined together, let no man put asunder.” Then Donald J. Trump became president and put us asunder.
I never would have imagined that in March of 2020 the President of the United States would be announcing that he had troops along the border of Canada. Ottawa was unaware of these plans and conveyed that an attempt to deploy military would be a mistake and pushed back that doing so "would damage our relationship." Trump was trying to justify this measure by referencing cheap steel from China coming in through Canada. Well the US did not move ahead with their plan to militarize the border but, it was under serious consideration.
On April 3rd, 2020 Prime Minister Trudeau responded to a report that 3M received a request from President Trump to stop exporting n95 and respirators to Canada and Latin America.
3M explained that limitations on exports could lead to a decrease of masks and respirators available in the US as a result of possible retaliation.
Trudeau made the argument that essential supplies and medical professionals move in both directions across the border and it would be a mistake to block exports to Canada. He also pointed out that thousands of health professionals from Windsor provide much needed medical services in Michigan. In fact, one third of the April 2020 Coronavirus cases in Windsor are Canadian medical staff who work in Detroit .
During the NAFTA Trade talks, Trump boasted that he deliberately misled Trudeau by stating on several occasions that the US had a trade deficit with Canada. Trump later claimed that Canada was a national security risk to justify trade tariffs on steel and aluminum. This negatively impacted one third of Canadian exporters and even though the tariffs have been lifted, there is uncertainty and lack of trust.
In December 2018 the United States requested the extradition of Meng Wanzhou, the Chief Financial Officer for Huawei alleging Huawei conducted thousands of dollars worth of financial transactions in violation of the American international sanctions against Iran.
The United States alleges that in violation of the international sanctions against Iran, Huawei process thousands of dollars worth of financial transactions.
The trial began on Monday March 30th 2020 and Manning has been in custody since December 2018.
Shortly after her arrest two Canadians were detained by China for suspected espionage and this has been regarded as retaliation. Another Canadian who had asked for their sentence to be revisited for drug smuggling, received a death sentence instead.
Since Canada does not have sanctions against Iran can Meng be extradited?
If the Canadian courts do not uphold the extradition to the United States, what if any retaliation will trump exert.
The most egregious sentiment was when Trump threatened not to honour NATO's Article 5 which states that an attack on one ally is considered as an attack against all allies.
What makes this so offensive is that the only time NATO has invoked Article 5 was on “Sept. 12, 2001,after the terrorist attacks in the United States the day before”.
Contrary to his assertions that NATO countries only started to increase their contribution was because of his intervention, in 2014 all NATO countries had agreed to increase NATO funding to 2% of their respective GDP by 2024. That agreement was 2 years prior to Trump becoming president and the countries had already started increasing their contribution.
Contrary to the understanding of many Americans, the money is not retroactive nor is it owing to NATO or the USA. It is the amount of money each country targets to spend on their own military.
The USA has only had 17 years of peace since July 4, 1776 which means the country has been at war 93% of its existence. While Canada has been a staunch ally in many of the conflicts, Viet Nam and Iraq were two memorable exceptions. In fact in the latter, Canada was about as popular as the Dixie Chicks.
The USA has tried to invade Canada four times.
Let’s face it, if the USA decided to invade Canada no matter how robust a military we had for our the size of our country would it be mighty enough to fend off the largest military in the world.
More importantly, what has Canada failed to do with respect deployment to NATO and the United States as a result of the level of funding for Canada’s military?
And less we forget, Tom Brokaw produced a video which explains Canada to the USA. In it he highlights a few contributions from Canada.
These are just a few examples. I could not find any examples where the USA has rescued Canada from an international security situation, though there could be one. The point is Canada has been a good neighbour to the USA.
As I watched the news in amazement, I could not believe how American politicians were making decisions that were putting Americans at risk or how Americans were exhibiting behaviour that was self-destructive. Then it dawned on me, they are not against Canada or Canadians. We are simply collateral damage. They don’t know how to take care of one another, and they do not understand, we are in this together. They live in a world of America first, America alone. Me first, me alone.
The motive does not matter because the outcome is the same, Canadians are paying consequences for America’s need to deflect blame and responsibility for their own decisions. We cannot count on the USA to be a trusted ally. It is not just Trump. Even if another administration takes over in November 2020, we will still know that a large number of Americans, almost double our population, would be willing to sacrifice us to support their narrative, even if it is untrue.
So what happens to the two Michaels? The two Canadians being held by China. What about the Canadian sentenced to death allegedly for drug smuggling. At least three Canadians and their families are paying a very heavy price for Trump’s whims to strike out at Iran and their government and the people do not seem to be objecting.
Pamela Hines is a retired CEO of a community mental health and primary care organization and author of The Trumping of America: A Wake Up Call to the Free World