Happy Birthday Anna Gillibrand
At various times, people have asked me why I write so much about the United States: about the foreign and domestic politics of the US, about official American stances on issues from torture to climate change. The answer, of course, is that the American position on these matters is of crucial importance. Indeed, I would assert that the decisions being made in Washington are more important for Canadians than the ones being made in Ottawa. We’re a rich, sovereign nation, of course, but we are forever bound to a nation that seems likely to forever surpass us in wealth, power, and global prominence. Canadians cling to what shreds of national determination we have – socialized health care (a very fine idea), peacekeeping (likewise), and the like – and yet, our ability to control our own destinies has everything to do with our great neighbour to the south remaining on the path of sanity. To my infinite dismay, the adherence of that state to that path has not been as good as might be hoped.
As such, we are probably better off spending our time talking to open-minded Americans before their elections than we are in voting in our own elections.
Of course, we can and must do both. Even so, you simply cannot be a small country, in every important sense, beside a big country and not become critically vulnerable to those whims. As Canadians, we need to understand those whims, and direct them along a path that is productive rather than destructive. One that will give us the chance to live good and decent lives in a world rife with threats and stupidity.