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Mid-term 2014: annus horribilus?

By: Alan Murdock

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jul 02, 2014 06:00 am

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Summer has finally arrived and we are halfway through a year in which, with the best efforts of just about everyone, failures in political judgment and action are epidemic.

Canada has a largely absentee prime minister. He has been hiding offshore making trade deals that may or may not work. He has also been busy trying to save Ukraine – offering sage advice to world leaders who don’t care what he thinks.

His foreign policy stance in the Middle East leaves him with no standing with anyone except Israel. And that state listens selectively only to the U.S.

His trade deals in the Pacific Rim have struck another nail in the coffin of automobile manufacturing in Ontario. China has responded to our trade negotiations by signing a major oil and gas purchase deal with Russia. We still don’t really know what he did in Europe. I wonder what his travel budget is?

At home, our parliamentary system of government affairs is being directed by a group of young Conservatives located in the Prime Minister’s Office. We need to separate the political control of the Senate from the prime minister. With Harper as PM – forget it.

President Barack Obama has tried vainly to shift the American Empire’s focus from the Middle East to the Pacific Rim. The U.S. has led the affairs of the world for a century by its predominance in controlling money markets and by force of military might.

To keep the engine running, ownership or directional control of energy sources has been essential. That is why Britain, France, Russia and the U.S. have been so deeply engaged in the Middle East. The U.S. has had a recent upturn in its fortunes with the development of new technology, which unlocks vast pools of oil. The Yanks will be a net energy exporter for the next couple of decades. So the Middle East is of less short-term importance for maintaining world predominance – so long as China doesn’t take over the oil and gas resources in the Pacific.

Unhappily, Obama’s strategy of disengaging from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan isn’t working. Too many American lives have been lost. Too many American oil companies have money tied up in Arab countries. Israeli security and Russian/Iranian imperialistic actions have made a folly of a quick exit. Unfortunately, the president and his secretary of state are being viewed as stumbling incompetents in trying to move away – and rightly so.

Europe is not in good shape. Just about every country is in debt. Now here comes Ukraine. If Germany fails, the region collapses. Anyone remember the Second World War?

The Scots will vote to separate from Britain in September. Visions of Quebec.

Ontario has just re-elected a government that shut down construction on two power plants at a cost of billions of dollars because proceeding would have threatened the loss of two seats in the legislature.

The Supreme Court’s ruling on First Nations land claims will tie up oil exports from Alberta for years.

Canada’s most interesting politician is about to resume his post as mayor of Toronto – as soon as they change the locks on his office door.

I think I’ll watch the World Cup, in which biting one’s opponent carries a penalty.

Alan Murdock is a local pediatrician.


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