A more apt headline for Stephen Kinzer’s “The rise and fall of North America” (Ideas, June 21) would have been ”Decline of the American Empire.” Pushing blame north ignores America’s behavior that has caused allies to go it alone.
Canada is a well-governed country. Health care and education are considered rights for everyone. Justin Trudeau has led Canada through the pandemic, addressing Canadians daily, following science to save lives and the economy, and modeling the behavior expected of everyone.
Trudeau has been forced to strategically maneuver around President Trump to protect Canadian interests. Look no further than revelations from John Bolton, who recounts in his book that after leaving the 2018 G-7 summit in Quebec, Trump ordered surrogates to attack Trudeau. The next day, White House aide Peter Navarro went on TV saying there was a “special place in hell” for Trudeau. Is this how America treats its closest ally?
Trudeau’s 20-second pause before answering a question about President Trump’s handling of protests gripping the United States is very telling. Despite his body language, he refrained from any criticism of the president. Canada’s own record with respect to racism and treatment of First Nations peoples is not acceptable, but Trudeau is not hiding from it, nor making excuses.
During North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations, Trump repeatedly imposed sanctions that negatively affected the daily life of Canadians and Mexicans. Again, the Trudeau government held back, favoring diplomatic restraint.
The current brand of American foreign policy has left Canada and others to implement the politics of restraint when dealing with the United States. If we are facing the fall of North America, blame falls squarely on Washington, not Ottawa.
The writer is a dual American and Canadian citizen.