Saturday, August 20, 2005

Albertan Appeasement

No one talks more tediously about Munich, and appeasement, and Neville Chamberlain, than the Canadian anglo-right. The Pithlord remembers the spring of 2003 fondly, and it was hard to avoid the Asper-funded keyboard jockeys making silly historical analogies between Middle Eastern politics today and European politics in the 1930s.

It was enough to put the Pithlord off such analogies permanently. They may be pithy or substantive, but they are very rarely both.

Today, though, we really do face a real issue of national interest, in which they key is to have courage in our own power. As everyone knows, the US government refuses to reimburse Canada for illegally-collected duties on softwood lumber, and will not touch the notorious Byrd amendment, which subsidizes the US forest industry with such illegally-collected duties.

There is no point in doing a deal with people who don't respect deals. There are all kinds of objections to using the experience of the 1930s to illustrate this point in trade contexts, so I won't. But the point remains.

So what do our heroes of the anglo-Right tell us? They are outraged, of course, but we must not use our energy resources as a bargaining chip. That would make the Americans angry! Best to "negotiate" (ignoring, as always, that you cannot negotiate the "pacta sunt servana" principle, since this is the principle that gives negotiation meaning).

There isn't much point in having Dick Cheney up here if we don't tell him, "We are the Saudi Arabia of the twenty first century. Disrespect us, and you will see gas prices so high Republicans won't be able to win election for chief dogcatcher in rural Utah."

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