Friends vs. Comrades


On May 25, 2018, President of the United States “joked” to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada that the Canadians had burned down the White House in the War of 1812. It is true that the White House was burned during the war but not by the Canadians, as in fact at that time Canada did not yet exist, but by the British. What is today Canada was then colonies of the British Empire. Ironically, the War of 1812 was popular among many Americans because they believed the US would be able to acquire Canada. President Monroe was concerned that these people would be unhappy with the settlement achieved to end the war in the Treaty of Ghent, because the outcome of the war was to return to the status quo ante, with no territorial gains or losses. Luckily, news of Andrew Jackson’s victory at New Orleans, though it occurred after the treaty was signed, reached the East before the news of the treaty, giving Americans the impression Jackson had won the war. US forces did invade Canada, but the invasion was repulsed. It’s also interesting to note that the same British offensive failed to take Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor, the event that gave birt to the US national anthem.

The United States and Britain remained rivals into the twentieth century. The US and Britain came close to open hostilities over the Monroe Doctrine during the Venezuela Boundary Dispute of 1896, where Secretary of State Richard Olney declared, “Today the United States is practically sovereign on this continent and its fiat is law upon the subjects to which it confines its interposition….” essentially claiming godlike power over the Americas. The British had interests elsewhere and deferred to the American position, giving the US the green light to intercede in Latin America for decades to come.

But the US had no such rivalry with Canada. The first time US and Canadian forces served together was during World War I. Canada, still a part of the British Empire, had been engaged in hostilities since the beginning of the war. The US did not enter the war until 1917, but the introduction of American troops turned the tide in favor of the allies.

Canada was squarely on the side of the US during Word War II, where the foundation of the great Western Alliance were laid. At the end of the war Canada joined the US and other allies to oppose Soviet expansion in Europe. It seems Russia was a national security threat long before Canada,

Canadian troops answered the call when the United Nations, at the urging of the United States, declared a “police action” to turn back the aggression of the Soviet-backed North Koreans.

Canadian forces came to the aid of Americans in their quixotic effort to salvage something from its blunder in Vietnam. 20000 Canadians died in Vietnam. The forces opposed to the United States and Canada, the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong, were supported by China and… you guessed it: Russia.

The United States might not ever have been involved in the Persian Gulf War had not Iron Maggie convinced Wobbly George that Saddam’s adventure in Kuwait had to be answered. Once he was convinced, however Bush 41 built a solid coalition to retake Kuwait. Naturally, the Canadians were there alongside us.

Bush 43 and his neocons, some of whom are active in the Trump White House, cooked up a dilly of a story to convince a skeptical America and even more skeptical Britain to enforce preemptive justice by taking out Saddam Hussein and his imaginary weapons of mass destruction. The Canadians were right there beside us.

The War against Terror declared (unofficially) by George W led to involvement by the Western alliance in Afghanistan. Ironically, Afghanistan has proven to be America’s longest war, partially because most everybody got bored hearing about it. But Canadian force are there alongside Americans. And they are real allies.

By the time the United States entered World War I Russia had already been defeated. Russia and the Western allies were allies of necessity during World War II against the common threat posed by Hitler. But immediately following that war and to the present Russia has been a persistent foe. Over this entire period, Canada has been a steadfast ally. To claim that Canada poses a national security threat while turning a blind eye to the real damage done to the United States during the last election and up to now is absurd.