Biden visit makes it official: Canada is a US vassal state
US President Joe Biden’s recent visit to Canada consolidated an increasingly obvious reality: Canada has fully enlisted as an obedient soldier in the United States’ cold war against China.
Over the past several months, Canadian cabinet ministers have given speeches ramping up attacks on China. Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy (CIPS), released at the end of November, is driven by confrontation with China.
At present, Canadian politics is dominated by claims that China interfered in the past two federal elections. Canada’s relationship with China is the worst it has been since the Korean War.
While Biden said relatively little about China while in Canada – except for a gaffe where he referred to Canada as China – the competition with China was at the foundation of the bilateral meeting.
The US wants a common North American front against China, and Canada has fallen eagerly into line.
Geography is destiny and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is terrified of being cut out of the American economy as the US doubles down on protectionism, and pushes ahead in its efforts to “re-shore” various high-tech industries.
Biden’s speech to Parliament presented Canada as being fully incorporated into the American efforts to build and rejuvenate its green energy, technological and even aerospace sectors. The US wants Canada as its reliable source of natural resources as it introduces an industrial policy designed to dominate the world. Canadians ate all of this up.
The possibly harmful implications of these policies for other American allies was not a concern, nor was Canadian sovereignty. The price of this compliance is Canada having an independent foreign policy with respect to China.
There have been years of tension between Canada and China, much of it driven by the US. In 2018, Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou of Huawei, acting on an American extradition request. China’s retaliatory arrest of the “two Michaels” poisoned Canada-China relations.
The US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) free-trade agreement gave the US veto power over Canada’s future FTA negotiations with “non-market economies” – ironic, given where the US economy is headed.
Faced with a Biden administration that has doubled down on US efforts to “contain” China and an American political culture that sees China as an “existential threat,” the Canadian government has capitulated to American interests. But does this serve Canada’s interests?
Canada is one of the most diverse, successful multicultural societies in the world. The majority of its immigration is from Asia and has been for decades. Yet the country’s ruling elites remain largely Eurocentric in their political/security orientation. How the growing conflict with China will affect Canada’s domestic ethnic harmony remains unclear.
The present situation of intense suspicion directed against Chinese Canadian political and academic figures, however, has raised the specter of a latter-day “yellow peril.”
Canada’s foreign policy advances a distorted and misleading portrayal of China’s role in the world – but it is a portrayal that mirrors American talking points. CIPS charges China with being “an increasingly disruptive global power.” It promises to align “Canada’s approach with those of our partners in the region and around the world.”
CIPS asserts that “China’s rise [was] enabled by the same international norms and rules that it now increasingly disregards … it has ambitions to become the leading power in the region.” CIPS doesn’t explain why the biggest economy in Asia should not be the leading regional power.
China is “looking to shape the international order into a more permissive environment for interests and values that increasingly depart from ours.” CIPS notes China’s resistance to UN rulings on the South China Sea, its militarization of that sea, coercive diplomacy, non-market trade practices, and forced labor.
CIPS condemns China’s resistance to UN investigation of alleged abuses of Uighurs and China’s “divergent national values.” Nonetheless, CIPS acknowledges Canada’s need to work with China on “existential” issues, such as climate change.
Canada is perpetuating the myth that the West protects and respects the “rules-based international order” (RBIO) and that China is a threat to that order. Within the narrow confines of the Indo-Pacific region, it is true that China has been an antagonist in the South and East China Seas. There is no doubt that China’s aggression has provided fodder to its enemies.
However, the faction in world politics that violates the RBIO most often and consequentially is the West, led by the US. Compared with the US, China’s conduct in the South China Sea barely registers on the scale of internationally disruptive conduct.
China has no equivalent to the United States’ illegal invasion of Iraq and that war’s catastrophic consequences. US drone warfare has killed tens of thousands of innocent bystanders across the Muslim world. The list of American violations of international law and norms far exceeds that of China.
Outside the Indo-Pacific region, China is a much more benign presence than the US in the non-Western world. China is approaching the world with the promise of building infrastructure and developing economic ties.
China is widely respected in Africa. It has extensive economic relations with Latin America. As the recent Iran-Saudi Arabia truce indicates, China is playing a more important diplomatic role in the Middle East. China’s ability to function as a genuine honest broker in global conflicts is much greater than that of the US.
Ottawa’s hostility to Beijing is limiting Canadian diplomatic options at a time of great global change. It puts Canada in concert with US interests but it may well alienate Canada from many other parts of the world. The non-Western world is completely aware of Western hypocrisy on issues like the RBIO and it is not willing to sacrifice its own interests to placate the West.
There are too many variables at play to know how the new Cold War will develop. American efforts to cripple China may make Beijing more aggressive as it seeks to protect itself. The US has surrounded China with military bases even as it ramps up its aggression. A war over Taiwan is possible, as the US provokes greater tensions about its policies toward that island and draws closer to China’s “red lines.”
In the past, it was possible to imagine Canada playing an intermediary role in the Pacific region, drawing on its ethnic and cultural diversity and its history as a strong supporter of multilateral diplomacy to bridge growing gaps and shore up ASEAN’s efforts at encouraging peaceful regional interaction.
Instead, Canada is exacerbating regional conflict and intensifying misunderstanding and suspicion through a deliberate use of misleading propaganda.
Source: Asia Times
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