Sunday, January 01, 2006

Key allies for the US in 2006

Five countries, according to Richard Halloran in The Honolulu Advertiser, will be key to US foreign policy in the coming year.

The five are Canada, the UK, Mexico, Australia & Japan.

On Canada, Halloran writes:

All is not well, however, with the two allies closest to home. Canada, the leading trade partner of the United States, has long been ambivalent about the dominating culture of the colossus to the south. Today, says the Economist magazine, Canadians have become "grumpily anti-American," due largely to a distaste for President Bush and the war in Iraq.

A spat between the U.S. ambassador to Ottawa, David Wilkins, and Prime Minister Paul Martin has aggravated the ill feelings. Martin has been critical of U.S. trade and environmental policies as he campaigned in an election scheduled for Jan. 23.

Ambassador Wilkins responded: "Just think about this," he was quoted in the New York Times, "What if one of your best friends criticized you directly and indirectly almost relentlessly? What if that friend's agenda was to highlight your perceived flaws while avoiding mentioning your successes?"
The blame for a lot of the grumpy anti-Americanism that is seen can be laid at the feet of Paul Martin and the Liberal Party, who see fostering disputes with our southern neighbour as a vote winner. Should the Liberals win another minority government, this will only continue and grow worse, something that Canadians should consider soberly and objectively before voting on January 23rd.

For more on how this hurts Canada, read this Washington Times column by Patrick Basham.

On Britain, Australia and Japan:

America's alliance with each seems strong but may be rooted more in personal relations between President Bush and prime ministers Junichiro Koizumi of Japan, John Howard of Australia and Tony Blair of Britain rather than in deep-seated national interests.
Each has generated political opposition at home for being pro-American. Koizumi has said he will step down next fall. Howard has taken much heat from Australians who want assurances they will not be dragged into a war between China and the United States. Blair's popularity has plummeted, and his days in office may be numbered.
These island nations are essential to U.S. security, as they sit off the Eurasian continent that is home for three quarters of the human race and most of the world's industry and wealth. In Eurasia are the only military powers — China, Russia, North Korea — that could threaten the United States.
I think foreign journalists often underestimate Tony Blair, who is a master-politician, and overestimate Gordon Brown, who isn't. When Brown becomes leader of Labour, I fully expect them to shift markedly to the left, or serious fractures to appear in the Party as the more leftist elements try to control Brown, who sympathises more with their position than Blair does. This will increase the chances of a Conservative victory in the next election.


At 5:55 PM, Blogger Mitch said...

Gordon Brown, Paul Martin, Ernie Eves, John Turner, John Major - where do I start with the similarities... all popular finance ministers who were seen as messiahs for their parties, then moved to the center (save Turner) and got shellacked at the ballot box.


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