Isn't it wonderful to be in a position where you can constantly criticize, second guess and never have to make a decision(sort of like blogging). Here we are, election hangover still upon us, and already Stephen Harper is learning some hard lessons. One of the few positives about a Harper led government, may well be watching with enjoyment as Harper struggles with his new reality.
Harper had been unrelenting in his criticisms of the Liberal Party for its fractured relationship with the Americans. Pure political posturing and factually ignorant, Harper tells Canadians that he understands diplomacy and will rebuild our relationship with the Americans. Purely from a ideological view, it is natural to see some affinity between Bush and Harper. However, Harper has just learned his most important lessons when it comes to the Bush administration- they don't play well with others.
The struggles to find common ground with the American administration is not unique to Canada. The list of countries and organizations that can attest to a stubborn, uncompromising and decidedly arrogant American administration is endless. You could argue that this administration will most be remembered for the speed at which it alienated the entire world community, minus a very few exceptions. Harper has ignored this reality, instead preferring political opportunism to present a flawed case that Canada is at fault.
Today, we learn that the Americans reject our claims on the Arctic, outright and unambiguous. No diplomatic nuance or declining for future reference. Nope, the response to Canada is basically don't even bother going there. Harper now has his first taste of working with a government that approaches diplomacy much like a bully in a playground. You can't have a substantive relationship with this administration, unless you puppet their policies and act subservient.
The Liberal's legacy is uneven, but their resolve in the face of American pressure is admirable. Chretien's finest hour may well be his decision to boldy reject the Iraq War, despite Canada's precarious position. Some of Martin's best moments are his impassioned pleas for the Americans to re-engage the world community. Harper sat in opposition and criticized, but opposition is easy- it is now your turn to deal with this administration. If today is any indication, Harper is quickly learning the diplomatic dynamics of dealing people who are compromise challenged, with no regard for opposing views. Good luck, and enjoy the realities of government.