Hav­ing the guts to stand up to Canada

The Record (Troy, NY) - - FRONT PAGE -

O Canada: You had it com­ing, eh.

They in­flicted Nick­el­back on us. We did noth­ing.

They sent us Justin Bieber. We turned the other cheek.

They were re­spon­si­ble for one abom­i­na­tion af­ter the other: Pou­tine. Diph­thong vow­els. Hawai­ian pizza. In­stant mashed pota­toes. Ted Cruz.

Still, we did not re­tal­i­ate -- un­til now.

Fi­nally, the United States has a pres­i­dent with the brains and the guts to stand up to the men­ace of the north. This week­end Pres­i­dent Trump called Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau “meek,” “very dis­hon­est & weak” for protest­ing U.S. tar­iffs. Trump’s trade ad­viser said “there’s a spe­cial place in hell” for Trudeau, and Trump’s eco­nomic ad­viser said Trudeau “stabbed us in the back” and is guilty of “be­trayal” and “dou­ble-cross­ing.”

How do you feel now, Canada? Or, to put it in a lan­guage you un­der­stand: How’s she bootin’er?

Trudeau earned his place in the un­der­world for some truly ap­palling rhetoric, say­ing “we’re po­lite, we’re rea­son­able, but we also will not be pushed around.” Of­fen­sive! He also found it “kind of in­sult­ing” that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion said it was im­pos­ing tar­iffs on Cana­dian goods “for a na­tional se­cu­rity rea­son” given that Cana­di­ans “stood shoul­der to shoul­der with Amer­i­can soldiers in far off lands in con­flicts from the First World War on­ward.”

Canada is not a na­tional se­cu­rity threat to the United States? Au con­traire, as they say in (very for­eign) Que­bec.

Trudeau con­ve­niently omits the in­va­sion of Detroit from Canada in 1812. And there was that ugly dis­pute in 1844 when soonto-be Pres­i­dent James K. Polk wanted the U.S. bor­der to ex­tend all the way north to Alaska at 54 de­grees, 40 min­utes lat­i­tude (slo­gan: “Fifty-four forty or fight!”) but was forced to ac­cept the 49th par­al­lel, a hu­mil­i­a­tion that de­nied us Vancouver and many great Chi­nese res­tau­rants.

And let’s not even get started about the soft­wood lum­ber dis­pute. Too painful.

Trump bravely pun­ished Canada by with­draw­ing the United States from the com­mu­nique of the week­end’s Group of Seven meet­ing, which was hosted by Trudeau. The com­mu­nique Trump re­jected is loaded with ob­jec­tion­able pro­vi­sions such as “a clean en­vi­ron­ment,” “a healthy, pros­per­ous, sus­tain­able and fair fu­ture for all,” “qual­ity work en­vi­ron­ments,” “a more peace­ful and se­cure world” and “ending vi­o­lence against girls and women.” In other words, it was like all the other bad, ter­ri­ble, crazily made, one-sided, mis­er­able deals that make us the laugh­ing­stock of the world -- such as the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment, the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship, NATO, the Paris cli­mate ac­cord and the Iran nuclear deal.

The com­mu­nique was par­tic­u­larly hos­tile to Trump in its call for “Rus­sia to cease its desta­bi­liz­ing be­hav­ior to un­der­mine demo­cratic sys­tems,” con­dem­na­tion of Rus­sia’s “il­le­gal an­nex­a­tion of Crimea” and com­mit­ment to “a strong stance against hu­man rights abuse.” Such lan­guage tar­gets the very coun­tries Trump has been court­ing. In a fur­ther in­sult, the other G-7 lead­ers had no en­thu­si­asm for Trump’s call for read­mit­ting Rus­sia, which was kicked out of the club for in­vad­ing Ukraine. The G-7 lead­ers in­stead scowled at Trump, called his ac­tions a “dis­ap­point­ment” and crit­i­cized his “fits of anger.”

In­ex­pli­ca­bly, these for­eign­ers are not putting Amer­ica First. That’s why Trump needs to quit the group and make his own G-8 -- the Great Eight -- with more sym­pa­thetic world lead­ers:

Ro­drigo Duterte of the Philip­pines, who en­joys “a great re­la­tion­ship” with Trump as he de­ploys ex­trale­gal killing squads.

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, who is “very open” and “very hon­or­able” in run­ning the most re­pres­sive regime on Earth.

Egyp­tian dictator Ab­del Fatah al-Sissi, who es­tab­lished him­self as a “fan­tas­tic guy” with his bloody crack­down on dis­si­dents.

The Saudi regime, which has been “tremen­dous” as it purges busi­ness lead­ers and crit­ics.

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan, who is “get­ting very high marks” as he jails op­po­nents.

China’s premier, Xi Jin­ping, who did some­thing “great” in mak­ing him­self pres­i­dent for life.

And, of course, Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, “get­ting an A” for his lead­er­ship and re­ceiv­ing a con­grat­u­la­tory call from Trump af­ter his “elec­tion.”

There is no room in this G-8 for Bri­tain, France, Ger­many, Italy or Ja­pan -- and cer­tainly not Canada. Cana­di­ans say “sorry” for ev­ery­thing. But Trudeau not only failed to apol­o­gize to Trump, he won praise from his po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents for de­fy­ing Trump. This is a clear and present dan­ger to the United States. Given Cana­di­ans’ well-known in­sta­bil­ity -their cur­rency is called the “loonie” -- there can be only one so­lu­tion: We are go­ing to build a wall from Maine to Alaska -- and Ottawa is go­ing to pay.

Fifty-four forty or fight! MAGA! Take off, hosers.

Fol­low Dana Milbank on Twit­ter, @Milbank.

Dana Milbank Columnist

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