Keeping calm in chaos.

Not being a big fan of Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland, I must admit that she is very good at handling the news media. Being a former journalist certainly helps. And you have to admit that she is under a great deal of pressure from the media to tell it like it is about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations.

For her not to admit that some of the chaos created by president Trump has to be impacting the negotiations is just not credible. It is like when you are in the eye of a hurricane, it might feel calm but you can see the surrounding mayhem of the storm.

Nor can Freeland and her team not feel the tensions of the people on the other side of the table. Their work is compromised daily by the irresponsible carrying-on of their commander-in-chief. Nobody is capable of negotiating in good faith in such an atmosphere.

In the same way, it is impossible for prime minister Trudeau’s team to give in on any of the key issues that Trump is demanding. Boiling it down to supply management of dairy products, fair dispute resolution and protection of Canadian culture makes resolution even harder as there is really nothing left with which to negotiate.

It is almost as though the U.S. negotiators are complicit with Freeland in the role of Ulysses’ wife, Penelope, unraveling her daily stint of weaving the shroud for Ulysses father. That is great but it makes us all wonder about the end game when the Canadians flip Trump the bird. (That is also known as the Canadian salute.)

It is hardly possible that they could be hoping it would cause the American president to have a stroke. That child-man has been practicing tantrums for 70 years and it is just a daily exercise for him. If anything would cause him a stroke, it would be finding out who on his staff wrote the recent anonymous opinion piece for the New York Times. America’s better media are bent on destroying Trump and lately have been showing some muscle.

But Freeland’s problems are in the here and now. She needs to understand that she might have to fall on her sword and take the blame if the entire negotiation fails. It is what the good soldier does.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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