When Stéphane Dion was so unceremoniously dumped from foreign affairs by Prime Minister Trudeau, all most people could say was they hoped it worked. How would you feel if you were the new foreign affairs minister and the PM kept casting about for the advice needed to handle the situation in Washington? And how does anyone keep tabs on that fast-changing scene?
And it hardly matters a damn if our new Minister Chrystia Freeland knows all about Washington. If she does not understand Donald Trump, she is just going to be one more example of road-kill on the Beltway. Nor does it help if she has the keys to Foggy Bottom. (Foggy Bottom is an older area of the District of Columbia where the Department of State is located.) The bad news is that anyone of any importance at State Freeland might have known is gone. They were not fired. The department leadership listened to Trump, studied Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State and quit en masse.
And there is little hope for Freeland’s second line of defense, her media contacts. Those of her contacts still in the profession are busy digging their foxholes around the White House as Trump and his alternative facts people check their Ouija boards for the news facts of the day.
Frankly there is more reason for concern about our day to day relations in Washington with Trudeau appointee David MacNaughton heading up our embassy. After the pitiful performance MacNaughton turned in during the 2015 election campaign, his political pay-off should have been a poorly located shoe-shine stand on Sparks Street in Ottawa.
And if Trudeau is waiting anxiously for an invitation to meet Trump, frankly he should be busy that day. Trump has already shown his hand. With the Mexican president already having told Trump to get stuffed, Trump wants to make allies of those nice Canadians. What he also expects is a quid pro quo for approving the damn Keystone XL pipeline. Obviously, we need to convince the fool that it is more to his benefit than ours. He probably moved on it prematurely because he wants to keep Trudeau and Mexican President Peña Nieto from ganging up on him. He has probably been told by now that renegotiation of NAFTA would take from two to three years and would probably not benefit the U.S.
And Freeland could never pull a stunt with Trump such as she pulled in the deal with the European Union. She would be playing right into his hands. If she walked out on him, she would find herself declared persona non grata.
Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry
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