The conclusion of an excellent piece by Norman Spector:
Harper the pragmatist
The non-ideological prime minister we saw recently on CNN has been with us all along — but it took a serious American journalist to make us recognize it
For Fareed Zakaria, neither the economy nor Afghanistan [more here] is a game of domestic politics or of gotcha journalism: Both issues concern U.S. national interests. As a significant player in the Washington policy process, Zakaria was not interested in tripping up the prime minister or in creating a controversy or a headline.
Rather, he invited Harper onto his program because he wanted Americans to hear views that he in large measure shares. And the prime minister did not disappoint him.
The CNN interview, March 1:
I will go easy here on New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, even as he makes yet another “I told you so” attempt, as brazen as last time, to find his way back into the company of grown-ups in the matter of Canada’s role in the global commitment to rebuilding Afghanistan and defeating the enemies of the Afghan people. I will go easy on him because he is at least, in his way, trying.
I will go easy on him, as I’ve done before, because it is certainly not solely his fault that by September, 2006, Canada’s NDP – on the matter of Afghanistan and what that poor country’s friends should be doing to help its people – had gotten things so badly and so wrong that it had become the laughing stock of every serious political party in the entire developed world. So even the hint of a departure from that state of affairs is a relief.
I realize it doesn’t help that ever since September, 2006, it’s been all “NATO troops out, UN peacekeepers in,” and Support The Troops, Bring Them Home, and then after our soldiers are gone we’ll send Canadians back, only this time armed with Blackberries, to engage the Taliban in peace talks. It’s also true that for nearly three years, the NDP has had no place in the critically important debates about what our soldiers should be doing in Afghanistan, anyway, because the NDP’s official party policy has been that our soldiers shouldn’t even be there at all…
“We’ve come a long way,” Layton begins his National Post essay. I should say so.
Layton starts out this way and then proceeds by dissembling to leave the impression that somehow the whole world, Barack Obama and Stephen Harper included, has at last come around to his way of thinking. Nevermind that, now that George Bush is gone, the opposite is much closer to the truth, because Obama himself has gone to pains to insist that as far as talking to the Taliban is concerned, the White House policy remains unchanged from the Bush days…
I’m not sure I ever want Mr Glavin to “go easy” on me. Mr Layton’s piece was Norman Spector’s TODAY’S DISHONESTY–he also judged Mr Glavin’s post “A rather devastating critique of Layton’s piece”.
While south of the border, a column in the Wall St. Journal:
Afghanistan and the Left
It was probably inevitable that the American left would turn sharply against the war in Afghanistan the moment it was politically opportune. Still, the speed with which it has done so has been breathtaking…