Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow

Long before the Christians claimed credit for enunciating the Golden Rule, it was the ancient Greeks who started it off. By all reports, Jesus of Nazareth gave the Rule its positive spin – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The Greek spin was negative – don’t do to others if you don’t want them to retaliate.    

The Jewish versions of the Rule are a bit guarded. That’s  because they distinguish between neighbours and brothers on the one hand; to them the Golden Rule applies. But enemies on the other hand – they get whatever is coming.

That’s also the Ukrainian version of the Rule. This explains why Chrystia Freeland, Ukrainian by blood, homeowner in Kiev,  and Foreign Minister of Canada (lead image, centre), thinks the Golden Rule in its Christian version applies between Canada and the United States, but not between Canada and Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, Syria, Libya, and when she thinks circumstances call for it, Japan and other members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) —  Australia, Brunei, Chile,  Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Last weekend Freeland’s boss Justin Trudeau, the current Prime Minister of Canada, got what the US Government thinks he had coming. That was  because the Americans say he was duplicitous and deceitful in negotiations. They say Trudeau agreed with President Donald Trump in private, but then when Trump’s back was turned, Trudeau announced to his Canadian electors that he won’t allow Trump to push him around. For details, read this.

The US Government attack was a coordinated move by the White House spokesmen for both the president and for the principal US cabinet departments.

One of Trump’s aides, trade advisor Peter Navarro, subsequently apologized for his words, not for his meaning. He said he meant to send Trudeau a “signal of strength”, but “the problem was that in conveying that message, I used language that was inappropriate. I own that. That was my mistake, those were my words. If you make a mistake, you should admit it, learn from it, don’t repeat it.”


Left: US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Right: Peter Navarro, White House advisor on trade.

Freeland hasn’t defended Trudeau. At first, in a Québec City press conference on Sunday, she attempted in halting French to tell reporters the US attack on Canadian steel, aluminium and automobiles is “illegal” and “absurd”.  Two days later she repeated the claims after a closed-door meeting in Washington with a group of US senators. They are  trying to pass new legislation to curb presidential national security powers;  Freeland told the senators she is placing Canada on their side in the fierce constitutional battle still to be fought.

According to a Canadian source who advises the Liberal Party on foreign policy and security strategy, “Freeland has been exceptionally effective in challenging the statements, performance, and persons of the US political NAFTA team, starting with [US Trade Representative Robert] Lighthizer, who is a condescending [expletive deleted] and who set himself up to be whacked by her on facts and on style.  It especially [expletive deleted] the US administration that Canada is lobbying effectively across the board in the US, state capitals, business associations, Congress, and doing very well.”

Freeland, US political analysts observe, is not against the application of US national security legislation to economic warfare campaigns against states Freeland believes are national security enemies of Canada. These include 25% penalty tariffs and outright bans on trade against enemy steel, aluminium, automobiles, and in the Russian case against production of oil and gas, as well as the entire Russian banking system.

Canadian political observers note Trudeau is refusing to defend himself from the American attacks. “On [Trump’s] comments, “ Trudeau told the press on Tuesday, “I’m going to stay focused on defending jobs for Canadians and supporting Canadian interest.”

“We will continue to conduct our diplomacy the Canadian way,”, announced Francois-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s trade minister, on Tuesday. “That is, being positive and constructive and firm in defending the interests of our industries … in diplomacy it doesn’t really matter about personal feelings and personal comments.”


Left to right: Champagne, Freeland and Trudeau negotiate with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his delegation in Toronto, September 22, 2017. The official photograph reveals that Trudeau’s staff had placed the Ukrainian flag on the side of the table occupied by Freeland.  

Last November Champagne and Freeland defended Trudeau for doing in trade negotiations with Canada’s Pacific region allies exactly what Trump has just attacked Trudeau of doing to the US. During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit negotiations in Vietnam,  Trudeau agreed to sign the “in-principle” version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership  (TPP) agreement, but then refused to show up for the official signing.


“There were a lot of unhappy leaders left sitting there,”said an [Australian Government] official who was in the meeting. “Everyone was screwed,”  he said

Trudeau’s double-talking at the APEC summit was coordinated with President Trump, who also refused to sign.  Champagne later announced:   “Canada has always said that we would only agree to a deal that is in Canada’s best interests.”

For Freeland and her supporters in the Liberal Party to believe it is wise for Canada to side against the Trump Administration on the trade powers issue pits that policy against US polls revealing  the attack on Canada was designed to boost Trump’s job approval ratings with American voters – and did.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S APPROVAL RATINGS


Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/

In Moscow and Beijing Freeland’s continuing attacks on Russia, China and other enemies have been dismissed as flatly contradicting the “the rules-based international trading system…open, transparent, inclusive and WTO-consistent”, which the G7 communique endorsed (but which Trump refused to sign).

In Qingdao, following a summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), President Vladimir Putin was dismissive.


The SCO meeting of June 9-10 included India (left) and Pakistan (right) at the summit level for the first time. Iran and Mongolia also participated at the head of state level. For details of the SCO as a regional strategy alternative to the TPP and G7, read this

  “I do not actually think it is part of my job,” Putin said, “to comment on everything that happens at the G7. As for those destabilising actions, just as with regard to some other events, everyone has shown solidarity with London over the Salisbury events, but yet again nothing specific was said…. As for Russia’s return to the G7, or G8 – we have never withdrawn from it. Our colleagues refused to come to Russia at some point for well-known reasons. We would be happy to see everyone in Moscow, they are welcome. That is first the first thing. Second. As for the efficiency and volume of the economy, indeed, the purchasing power parity (this is IMF data) of the countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is already higher than in the G7 countries. Yes, it is, the PPP is higher. True, the seven are still richer in per capita income, as they say, but the SCO economies are larger, and their population is much larger, too – half the world’s population.”

For details of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) and Russian economic performance, click to start and then read this

Whether the question is put in the language of the White House officials after the G7 summit, or in Putin’s words after the SCO summit, the question is the same – are Trudeau and Freeland fit to negotiate for Canada’s interest? For a discussion with Chris Cook, listen to today’s interview on Gorilla Radio from Victoria, British Columbia:  

Gorilla Radio is broadcast every Thursday by Chris Cook on CFUV 101.9 FM from the University of Victoria.  The radio station can be heard here.  The Gorilla Radio transcripts are also published by the Pacific Free Press.    For Chris Cook’s broadcast archive, click to open.     

Leave a Reply