I have written before, over a year ago, about China’s use of soft power. Then, almost six months ago I complained that Prime Minister Trudeau was criss-crossing Canada, trying to repair the damage that his own, personal, lack of ethical standards has caused for his party and government when he should have been in Davos where Xi Jinping was pushing China as the new, best “partner” for many of the nations of the world.
David Parkins, drawing in the Globe and Mail, sums up the current geo-political “state of play” in the wake of US President Trumps attacks on his NATO allies, global free(er) trade and the climate change consensus:
I’m not suggesting that China is winning, but, for the moment, America is, indeed, seen ~ by allies, competitors and enemies alike, to be “lowering its colours” in many, many fields where, before, even if reluctantly, it was a trusted leader and a foundation stone of the global, liberal, socio-economic “order.”
- First: soft power works ~ China has been, quire successfully, “copycatting” America’s (sometimes accidental0 soft power offensive of the 20th century; and
- Second: President Trump is sui generis ~ neither the world nor America has seen his like since, perhaps, Andrew Jackson in the 1830s.
Canada seems, publicly, to me at least, to be rather like a deer in the headlights on both issues. Perhaps Team Trudeau does have a coordinated, coherent plan to:
- Save what’s best in NAFTA;
- Negotiate a free(er) trade deal with China; and
- Expand our global trade links to offset our dependence on the USA; but
it’s not clear to me what those plans might be or that they are some part of a coherent “whole” that is focused on Canada’s national vital interests.