Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Cost of Anti-Americanism

Patrick Basham of the CATO institute had a piece recently in the Washington Times that examines the politics of anti-Americanism in Canada.

Speaking of the Liberal Party, Basham writes:

“The party's only hope is to cast itself as Mother Canada, protecting her vulnerable and insecure children huddled for warmth along the American border. Which makes one wonder what ever happened to Liberal Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier's 1904 forecast that, `The 20th century shall be the century of Canada.’ Laurier must be turning over in his grave. A century later, his countrymen remain so culturally insecure and politically adolescent that they may once again fall prey to such crass politicking. Canadians need to grow up. And they need to do so quickly.”

Basham’s point is essentially that anti-Americanism actually undermines Canada’s own national self-interest.

“Canadians need to get over themselves. They need to accept the asymmetry of the U.S.-Canada relationship, one deeply beneficial to both countries. Rewarding their political leaders' anti-American prejudices is an immature response. A mature electorate, with the worldliness and self-confidence that Laurier foresaw, would appreciate that anti-Americanism is really anti-Canadian, for it hurts Canada most of all.”

It’s unlikely of course, Basham’s words will change many minds.

Anti-Americanism is the last accepted prejudice in this country.


Miles Lunn said...

I think many on the right seem to have a warped view of anti-Americanism. Opposing US foreign policy or the Bush administration is not anti-Americanism. The values that the Bush administration and much of the United States stands for are at odds with Canadian values. I believe the Liberals have the duty to point out any party that wishes to make Canada more like the United States. I respect the right for Americans to be who they are, but I for one don't want to go down that path.

Anonymous said...

Miles, no one is arguing that criticism of American foreign policy is necessarily anti-American. The argument is, instead, that our political leaders are exploiting genuine anti-American sentiment for political gain, and in doing so, are harming Canada's interests. You can have a different agenda than the Americans whilst not descending to the type of immature rhetoric that we've seen recently.

Miles Lunn said...

I agree Carolyn Parrish's statements were going a little too far, but I don't believe Martin's tough talk with the Americans on softwood lumber was over the top. What the Americans did in the Softwood dispute was completely wrong and we have every right to be angry and to make it known that were are angry about their actions.

Ed Hardison said...

Baloney state that the values that much of the United States are at odds with Canadian values ... this is anti Americanism.
I do not know what values you hold .
I live on the Niagara frontier and treasure our fine relationship with the American tourists who love to come here . I find American to be great neighbours and we hold most of the same values including believing in less government , patriotism , family , God , citizen's responsibilities and freedom.
Canada would be just another dictatorship if we did not have the USA as a neighbour ...protecting our freedoms and demonstrating what free people can accomplish .
Are the Americans always right ? Of course not .
But I prefer them as neighbours than say , China . Is that the path you would choose ?
Not me .

drvsvs said...

Saying yes to a friend doesn't make you an american lapdog, as some liberals beleive and saying no does not make you anti-american as some conservatives beleive. I think that its more anti-Bush because if Clinton had invaded Iraq, the protesters would probably have been cheering. Funny where were these people when Saddam was gassing towns and villages? But to say there is no anti-americanism in the Liberal party is naive as all the evidence points to the contrary.