During what we call the “C” segment on our MSNBC daily show, Bill Press and I were debating Canada’s decision to issue a travel warning to all Canadians
thinking of visiting the United States.
Seems a Syrian-born Canadian citizen, flying home via JFK, was interrogated by U.S. officials, finger-printed, photographed—and sent back to Damascus. This was in line with a new U.S. policy that singles out travelers from five nations — Syria, Libya, Sudan, Iran, Iraq — that have a history of harboring terrorists.
Press took Canada’s side, accusing the Bushites of ethnic profiling. I replied that the insult came from a country that freeloads off U.S. defense and is itself a haven for terrorists. Final bon mot: We Americans don’t “need lectures from Soviet Canuckistan.”
That set the cat down among the pigeons. Before the show ended, correspondents for Canadian press and TV were in the lobby. Some of my interviewers agreed with me. Others bristled with controlled rage. Yet, the Canuckistan crack aside, is it not time our whining and carping allies heard what some of us think of them?
Was I wrong about Canada? Here is Diane Francis, columnist for the National Post: “Canada’s immigration, refugee and legal system facilitates the entry into the continent of … terrorists.” Here is U.S. anti-terrorism expert Buck Revell: “Unless and until Canada can tighten its controls on immigration and refugees, these controls will have to be imposed at the [U.S.] border…”
As for Canada’s military, The American Enterprise, the magazine of AEI, writes: “Canadian military spending stands at $265 per capita — the worst among the NATO members.” Her defense effort is not half the NATO average and but a fourth of the U.S. effort. Canada is exactly what I said it was: a free rider on the U.S. defense budget.
With only 34 ships in a navy that boasted 300 in World War II (only 12 are up to U.S. standards), Canada has “stopped air and sea patrols around its coastline, the world’s longest … . Smugglers already run rampant, and terrorists can’t be stopped,” writes TAE.
“We have sovereignty over the Arctic areas only by the grace of other nations,” says Canadian defense critic Rob Anders.
And though we let Canada devalue its dollar and run up $50 billion trade surpluses at the expense of our timber men and farmers, we still hear the endless belly-aching from up north.
TAE’s December issue debates a parallel deepening divide between the U.S. and Europe. Writes editor Karl Zinsmeister: “The simple reality needs to be faced squarely by Americans: In a great variety of ways — Americans and Europeans are growing apart.”
The three “critical structural breaks” in Zinsmeister’s view: The U.S. is dynamic, Europe is dying, and Europeans have lost the stomach for military action. When FDR called welfare a “narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit,” it applied to nations as well as men. Ike was right: We should have pulled our troops out in 1961. Europe might today be standing on her own feet with her own robust continental defense, not mooching off America and behaving with the sneering resentment of a 40-year-old still living under his old man’s roof.
While the writers in Zinsmeister’s symposium are, almost all of them, neoconservatives, they sound like Sam Francis and Charley Reese.
“Old and in the Way” is Zinsmeister’s own title. “Irrational Anti-Americanism Takes Root Across the Atlantic,” “Goodbye Europe,” “A One-Sided Alliance,” “Irritating and Irrelevant,” “The Real Problem is European Elites,” are the titles of the other essays. Only pro-American Brit John O’Sullivan offers relief from the remorseless Euro-bashing.
Yet, when one reads on the eve of an Armistice Day that recalls the Doughboys who died rescuing Europe in World War I, that 500,000 marched through Florence in a parade that featured “communist hymns, red flags and portraits of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara,” perhaps we can now all agree: It is time we came home.
Whatever one may think of war with Iraq, George Bush is not Hitler, and America is not the Third Reich. We don’t need this. We don’t need these people. Now that the Cold War is over, let us graciously cede NATO to the Europeans, bring our boys home, let Europeans provide for their own defense, and go our separate way in the world. If they don’t like us, fine. Our forefathers didn’t much like them either.
Rising anti-Americanism in Canada and Europe testifies anew to the wisdom of our founding fathers. “It is our true policy to steer clear of any permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world,” said George Washington. Echoed Jefferson: Our policy should be “peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”
Amen. Even the neocons seem to be getting the message.