Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I understand political expediency


As the Canadian election process gets underway, the American ambassador, David Wilkins, issued this little threat warning fatwa bit of helpful advice, directed especially at Prime Minister Paul Martin: “It may be smart election politics to thump your chest and constantly criticize your friend and your Number One trading partner. But it’s a slippery slope and all of us should hope it doesn’t have a long-term impact on our relationship.” “I understand political expediency,” Wilkins, the former speaker of the South Carolina House of Reps added. Diplomacy, however, he’s a little fuzzier about. Canada is so pleased to be treated to the same ham-handed electoral intervention as Nicaragua or Venezuela receive. The Toronto Star compares Wilkins to Archie Bunker telling Edith to stifle. Before he was named ambassador earlier this year, Wilkins had only been to Canada once, decades ago.

Speaking of get-out-the-vote campaigns, the decision on whether to grant the UN’s request for the United States to contribute 10 helicopters to assist in the Haitian elections will be made by... Donald Rumsfeld. The secretary of defense gets to decide the value to the US of elections in Haiti.

Condi Rice, in a speech at the Heritage Foundation, said “When America leads with principle in the world, freedom’s cause grows stronger. We saw this when Ronald Reagan spurned friendly dictators and supported freedom’s cause in Latin America.” Spurned... friendly dictators... head... hurt. She also accused unnamed countries of “boycotting” the trial of Saddam Hussein, saying participation (whatever that means) is a special obligation for those who support human rights. Asked to clarify her remarks, a State Dept official “pointed out that many nations had opposed the fact that Hussein, if found guilty, faced the death penalty”. Oh, those human rights.

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