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05/31/2003 Archived Entry: "Global politics based on grudges"

As the G-8 summit in Evian, France -- and the leadership meetings that surround it -- spin out over this week, it appears that global politics and US foreign policy will be based on "grudges" -- a proclivity against which Bush Sr. felt it necessary to warn Bush Jr.

Canada, toward whom the word "disappointment" is hurled repeatedly, will be caught in the fray. According to reports, Canadian P.M. Chretien and Bush have not spoken for over three months; "the last time was by phone Feb. 27 when Canada decided to stay out of the war because it had not been authorized by the United Nations." For his part, Chretien continue to "tug the tail of the tiger" by publicly citicizing Bush, even as he prepared for the G-8 Summit. In a "free-wheeling" session with Canadian reporters, "Mr. Chretien pointed out several personal philosophical differences between himself and the president such as: 'I am a Catholic and for abortion and he is not,” and “(He) is for capital punishment and I am not.' But the prime minister’s hardest tail-pull came when he compared the performance of the Canadian and American economies. Contrasting Canada’s surplus with the growing U.S. deficit, Mr. Chretien attributed the difference to the 'right-wing,' 'tax-cutting' agenda of Mr. Bush and his Republican administration. He also took a swipe at the threat to economic stability posed by large American deficits." BTW, the US national debt topped $6 trillion, 564 billion yesterday, up by $13 billion from the day before.

Chretien's remarks drew a strong rebuttal from the White House. But dys-diplomacy is only one of the contentious issues between Canada and the US who share the world's largest trade partnership, worth more than $1 billion a day. We also share the world's longest contiguous and virtually undefended border. That's why the de facto and pending legalization of marijuana possession has American knickers in a twist. [Possession of up to 15g -- about 20 cigarettes -- would be an offense punishable by a fine of up to C$180 for youths and C$290 for adults.] The US is already talking about anincrease in the frisking, brusque treatment and delays that Canadians receive at the border. And, then, in the next moment, US officials worry that tourism is down. Don't they listen to themselves speak?

On the personal front...the blog has suffered from my need to focus upon landscaping and repairing the farmhouse, which is a long, muscle-wearying process. In the last few days, I've planted seven shrubs to line a walkway, transplanted slabs of wildflowers from the forest into tubs and corners around the house, I've started to scrape the deck, bought supplies to repair and paint same, purchased another flat of assorted annuals to add the particularly bright colors they embody... Brad was away from home last night, attending a huge ham radio (and computer) swap meet, where he hopes to find (among other things) a special antenna. He'll be hitting the vendors again today in search of bargains and of the few last pieces he needs to complete *this* project and *that* one...then...home again. I'll have to fight off Sam to give him a hug, however. Brad's dog becomes a 100+ lbs of manic joy whenever he returns from a trip -- even a brief one.

Best to all,

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