George, I'm not going to whine again but... after yesterday's underhanded illegal move by the americans on the whole soft wood lumber thang. I dunno, free trade ain't free when canadian tariffs go straight to lining the pockets of our competetion, but hey, it's all right if canada pays and loses - we've got a huge trade deficit, we should be happy as pigs in sh*t!
I'll confess that I don't know have a balanced view of the details of the soft lumber issue.
I do know something about the concerns of our government. We are losing our forests to fire and parasite infestation at an unprecedented rate. This is the result of a thoroughly unnatural accumulation of densely packed small trees and underbrush resulting from prolonged fire prevention (however contradictory that may seem0 and the prohibition of selective logging enforced by misguided environmentalists. The remedy is increased, but controlled, logging done on a systematic basis. Our government is trying to accomplish this and this issue may be one of several influences affecting their actions.
Secondly, like all governments ours is also looking for ways to more closely balance imports and exports - to the extent permitted by trade conventions - with our principal trading partners, notably Canada, which enjoys a huge trade surplus with us.
I don't know anything about Canada's case or view of the matter, but am readily willing to stipulate that Canada is motivated by issues at least as meritorious as ours, perhaps even more so.
The fact is that feelings and emotions on both sides of our border are rather aroused right now. There may be as much American resentment and reaction to perceived Canadian slights as good old Yankee greed and selfishness involved in this matter. I tried earlier to illustrate this point without appearing to offer threats - which I do not intend. I don't think I succeeded. However it is an unhappy fact that our two countries don't feel particularly neighborly towards one another, and haven't felt so for a rather long time. I believe that Americans feel this way perhaps to a greater extent than many Canadians perceive. (even a decade ago in the Navy we were bothered by Canadian failures to live up to NATO committments, and criticisms of our international policies.) We do get enough public comment from recent Canadian governments to get a pretty good general impression of feelings there.
Even here on A2K there is a good deal more criticism of America by Canadians than of Canada by Americans. We do notice this - even those of us (not me) who don't mention it. I have no doubt that we are often hard to take with our characteristic self-centeredness and other overbearing qualities. However we react to more or less the same things that you do - and perhaps in similar ways. I happen to think that my country is - all things considered - a pretty good place. Moreover I believe we are doing a somewhat better job in our moment in the historical sun than did many of our European predecessors in this position. It often feels like we are being judged unfairly by people who do not consider the situations we face. I find it rather odd to be regarded by former allies as a threat to global stability so soon after the fall of a far more dreadful common foe. Moreover I simply don't buy that whole argument. I am not alone in my feelings in this regard, and I believe our recent elections confirm this as well.
This too may be a part of what is going on. Perhaps the question is not so much who is at greatest fault in the last or most recent iteration, but rather how to break a pattern that may be spiraling downward to the benefit of no one..