Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Time to start selling gold

I'm not quite sure which audience Condoleezza Rice's statement was targeted toward, but it certainly can't give much comfort to Canadians:
The United States' word is "as good as gold" when it comes to international agreements and the current Canada-U.S. dispute over softwood lumber — while important — needs to be kept in perspective, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday...

On Tuesday, Ms. Rice acknowledged the differences between the two countries on the issue — which the U.S. says it would like to resolve through negotiation — but insisted that those differences don't characterize overall trade relations.

"I know that the softwood lumber issue is extremely important to Canada and extremely important particularly to parts of Canada," she said.

"It is a small percentage of our overall trade, and most of the time, as a matter of fact, the great majority of the time, our trade simply goes on.

"When we have disputes we resolve them."

Unfortunately, given the U.S.' gleeful ignorance of existing dispute resolution procedures, the statement would have been more accurate if the last sentence had been left out. There's not much to take away from the rest of the statement except that the U.S. isn't interested in anything but business as usual...i.e. with no Canadian recourse against illegal U.S. actions. And in the U.S.' view, even at its most diplomatic, that still constitutes a difference of opinion rather than a problem worth solving through any means other than Canadian surrender.

(Edit: typo.)

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