(Update) Wars, Leadership and Our Friends in Canada
5:51 PM, May 1, 2006 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
(From the Toronto Star: "Stephen Harper's government has quietly committed Canada to 'indefinite' participation in NORAD and agreed to give the military alliance new responsibilities to watch for a terror attack by sea. Fresh off his softwood lumber truce, Harper's government yesterday gave another boost to Canada-U.S. relations when it signed off on the renewal of the landmark North American Aerospace Defence Command treaty.")
Posted on March 17, 2006:
Leadership matters. Tuesday's Globe and Mail has some interesting poll results on the Canadian troop deployment to Afghanistan.
The poll results "suggest that a concerted public campaign in defence of the mission by senior military officers, as well as political figures from both the Conservative government and Liberal Opposition, has had an impact."
This change in public attitude doesn't surprise me. A while back, the German Marshall Fund released a poll that found increased European disapproval of President Bush's foreign policy but with an interesting twist. One exception was in Britain (I should note that Poland's approval numbers mirrored those in the U.S.), "where there was a slight upturn in approval." I doubt it was a coincidence that this "upturn" occurred in a nation where the national government most vigorously made the case for getting rid of Saddam and for promoting democracy in the region. Bush's lowest ratings were in countries, namely France and Germany, whose leaders adamantly and very publicly opposed Bush's policies. Even so, Germany's Gerhard SchrÃ¶der ran on an explicitly anti-American platform and lost to an opponent who forcefully countered his demagoguery. Canada's Stephen Harper did the same against the anti-U.S. rhetoric of Paul Martin. And, of course, Australia's John Howard won a fourth term, while Tony Blair was elected to an unprecedented third. Is there a message here?