NAFTA: Our “dream team” strikes out
It’s wake-up time for Ottawa!
Canada’s NAFTA “dream team” is suffering shock and dismay as Washington is not playing fair. This should come as no surprise as they are dealing with the bully empire that destroys its invented enemies and exploits its allies with equal belligerence. This particular administration is declaring war on everybody and everything including Barack Obama’s legacy; most notably the Iranian nuclear agreement, that took two years to negotiate.
Our team’s problems began in 1994 when the NAFTA was signed into being. Canada made the huge mistake of giving too much away. Now the US is back for more. Nor did we consider the NAFTA was really about the US gaining control over the Canadian and Mexican economies, integration and consolidation all rolled in to one.
It was half a century ago US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles observed if you get control of a country’s economy you own it. This has always been the gold standard of US foreign policy – conquering the world by economic stealth or open warfare. No exceptions granted.
Successive Liberal and Conservative governments have not helped our cause as they are overly prone to kowtowing to Washington’s every wish. Little do they realize the more you comply the more compliance is expected. When Chrystia Freeland quips, “Canada is kind of like the girl next door. It’s easy to take us for granted.” More appropriately “the girl next door” makes it so easy to be taken for granted. It is of our own doing.
Global Affairs minister Freeland has been instrumental in making our foreign policy Washington’s own. Why shouldn’t they expect we would compliantly follow suit on trade policy?
It was less than two years ago, after a cursory review of the secretly negotiated TPP this government stood anxiously ready to sign on- for the PMO it couldn’t happen fast enough. For Freeland this deal was “gold-plated.” It was touted as another glorious free trade agreement. Unfortunately, so many Canadians saw it as the final resignation of our already enfeebled sovereignty. This government steadfastly refused to address the substance of it. It was just Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay from start to finish with Freeland out front waving the pom-poms. Canada was saved from its folly by Trump pulling out of the deal-only to see us turn around and go right back into secret talks with the remaining partners. It is now known as TPP-11 and is about to be finalized.
A telling footnote to the TPP negotiations came when a Japanese official assumed the US would be negotiating on Canada’s behalf. So much for our international reputation as a sovereign nation.
Ottawa has created a win-win situation for Trump and his avaricious cohorts. Canada is a willing victim they can bully at will and are taking full advantage of it. They can use these negotiations to deliver the coup de grâce for the annexation of our economy. Ottawa by its own ineptness has painted itself into a corner. To get out of that corner will be costly, politically and economically.
Under the terms of the NAFTA any party can withdraw from the agreement on six months notice.
If the US cannot bargain in fairness and good faith we should prepare to walk away from these talks.
Europe is just waking up to the fact it can no longer afford to be exploited by the US. There are rumblings of discontent and the push back is under way. America, by its over-the-top belligerence, is putting the world at risk and alienating its vassal states/allies in the process.
It’s wake-up time for Ottawa. It has to quit grumbling and start showing some hardball negotiating skills.