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Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Grown-Ups Are Here

Division of the Americas into North, Central a...Image via Wikipedia

I'm a really old fashioned person.
  • I believe in having manners, no matter the circumstances.
  • I believe in civilized discussion, no matter the topic.
  • And I believe in the ability to find a common ground, even if that common ground can go no further than to respect differences

So, did anyone catch today's joint press conference between President Obama and President Harper? See here thanks to CSPAN

Now, let me declare bias here. Canada and Jamaica have a special relationship. We are really good friends. It's not a matter that we are members of the Commonwealth, although that is a fact. It is just the way it has always been - Canada and Jamaica are just close.

So, I was not at all surprised to hear Canada and US were civilized, respectful and cooperative. They are working closely on:
  • economic recovery, growth, protection of workers, lowering of taxes etc. (emphasizing people - yes, that is Canada's way)
  • environmental protection and energy security (yes, the environment is priority - that is Canada's way)
  • shared priorities for international peace and security (yes, people must live in civilization - that is Canada's way)
Then, did you listen to how the questions were handled?

Straightforward. Definitive. Absolutely clear on the need for coordination. Absolutely clear that their most pressing trade issues are common and external, not internal. No impression of protectionism whatsoever; lots of support for trade. Protection of sovereignty, respectful of each other without being hostile or domineering, but open to ideas and cooperation - see the answers on the future potential harmonization with regard to regulation?

Did you hear "listening and sharing ideas". Wow!

And did you hear all the explaining? Fantastic, we now have leaders who understand they need to have the patience to explain to people what they are doing and thinking.

Did you hear the understanding that the recovery of one country depends on recovery everywhere else? Sounds like progress to me.

Did you hear open border, integration while keeping security concerns? Amazing, middle ground is nice, eh?

"Threats to the US are threats to Canada". How much more of an ally do you need?

Hear the use of the word "friends"? Yes, that's Canada's way.

This is the kind of leadership the world needs.

Praises be to civilized grown-up behavior.

I expected nothing less of Canada, and I am delighted to see that President Obama has gone to Canada as his first overseas visit and been the world leader I had expected him to be. Great start.

If Canada and the US can start to form a critical mass of common understanding, then we are well on our way to recovery.

Since I live in Jamaica - part of the "Americas" - special thank you to President Obama for looking "forward to the Summit of the Americas. My Administration is fully committed to active and sustained engagement to advance the common security and prosperity of our hemisphere. We will work closely with Canada in advancing these goals and look forward to a meaningful dialogue in Trinidad." Your words. Music to my ears.

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Anonymous said...

Obama cannot afford to be seen to be going abroad in the crisis, so he goes for a quickie visit to Canada. The pair say a lot of nice words, but it all needs to be backed by substance. The reality is that US recovery policies may hurt other countries and Canada is lobbying for special treatment. Obama needs Canada to help Detroit and stand by Afghanistan. Might be a bridge too far.

Deika Morrison said...

@kapo: True to form, I can always expect you to challenge the view. Not disputing what you have written, but it's much bigger than that. The US needs strength in his "geographic backyard" - that's the Americas. Lots of things were said on the campaign trail that needed face to face clarification now that Obama is in office. In light of what is going on in the world, I do believe this more than your average courtesy call with lip service. Both men (Harper and Obama) and their countries have too much on the line.

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Reasoning The Reasons by Deika Morrison is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.