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Opinion: Bill Walton, A Rock and a Hard Place

Eagles to the left, dragons to the right – stuck in the middle again
20190504 dragon walton

What did we ever do to get ourselves into this tight spot?

We are the little country caught between two contesting giants, neither of whom seems to like us that much right now. Okay, throw in Russia and we are struggling with a third hard spot, although it’s more like a frozen ice place. All right, add in the Saudis who have expressed a distaste for us lately. At least sand has a little more give to it than rock.

To our next-door neighbour to the south, we have been described as a mouse sleeping next door to an elephant. We can’t do much about the geography even though we are larger than they. Our land mass is second only to the Bear sleeping over the North Pole. We are also a larger land mass than China but when it comes to population we are a long, long way down the list from them – at 38th place. So I guess that may have something to do with our being an easy target between the United States and China (not to be confused as by the PM with Japan who also gets caught in the middle).

How did we ever find ourselves, a small population spread out over a large area, mixing it up with superpowers? Are we just too feisty for our own good? I mean, we go around the world whacking people with our hockey sticks, throwing stones down the painted ice, smashing tennis balls at people, driving golf balls down fairways, rushing on slats down mountains, and sending those women rugby players out to vanquish lesser beings? Did we jump in too quickly in the old days sending Peacekeepers to UN hotspots? Do we respond too quickly to natural disasters around the world and open our bank accounts to help others without hesitation.

Okay, maybe our somewhat socialistic tendencies of looking after each other with health care, education, and the rule of law aggravates some, but is that any reason to beat us over the head with softwood lumber, aluminum and steel tariffs, and NAFTA talks? Or just because we made the silly mistake of not letting that Huawei executive get on the plane home, is that a reason to flog our farmers with trade barriers on grains and veggies, pigs and cows? Okay, send those unlikely spies and stupid drug dealers back to us and we’ll incarcerate them as required. Why can’t those two giants take out their grievances on each other without involving us? Oh yeah, Walmart.

Maybe it’s time the little Canuck started behaving in our proper place in the world order of things. No doubt we annoy some countries by having, for now, a pretty boy for Prime Minister who will expound on things at the drop of a hat. Tall, dark, and handsome, he stands out in photo ops but then he is only competing against Angela, Theresa, and the orange-haired Donald.

Maybe we shouldn’t jump into the pools of controversy quite as quickly – like condemning Venezuela for running a shoddy election, just because the US, who have squeaky-clean elections, led the way. Or why snarl at the Saudis for using our LAVs in Yemen? Do we really, really need a seat on the Security Council or could we be spending those millions here at home fixing some of our own problems?

When you stop to think about it, it is little wonder that we are having problems with world trade: we can’t even sort out our inter-provincial trade. Now there is poor Alberta, stuck between BC and Ottawa – a rock and a hard place. Just saying.