My article in The Tyee this morning: The World Changes Today: Canada Better Change Too. Excerpt:
In computers, a workaround is a technique, often improvised, to achieve a goal when the normal method isn’t working for some reason.
Canada and most of the rest of the world now need to figure out a workaround as the United States indulges in the political version of a nervous breakdown, and Donald Trump is sworn in as president today.
Love them or hate them, the Americans have held things together for the rest of the world ever since Japan attacked Pearl Harbor 75 years ago. Joni Mitchell once observed that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, but as we watch America sink into the swamp we can make some pretty educated predictions.
No more NATO. It lost its real reason to exist when the Soviet Union collapsed. Its later pretexts, including military roles in Iraq and Afghanistan, did not impress. Still, with Trump calling it obsolete, and threatening to withhold U.S. support for NATO members under attack unless they cough up more money, it does not look like a serious deterrent to aggression against members. When Vladimir Putin’s Russia is carrying out an online coup of his old nemesis, this does not bode well.
No more United Nations. When he called NATO obsolete, Trump also called the UN a “political game.” For all its many flaws, the United Nations has kept us from a nuclear world war and saved hundreds of millions of lives over the past 70 years, and Canada did its part. We need to support the United Nations more than ever. The Tyee is supported by readers like you Join us and grow independent media in Canada
No more free trade. I’m not a big free trade fan, but we’re screwed if we can’t sell our stuff into the U.S. without ruinous tariffs: cars, softwood lumber, and even Alberta oil and gas. (U.S. fracking is going strong — why allow our fossil fuels into their market?) So we’d better look for markets elsewhere.
Many, many more refugees. Never mind the wall along the Mexican border. The next wave of refugees will arrive on Air Canada, flying first class, from eastern Europe, Latin America and China — plutocrats escaping post-Trump political turmoil in their own countries. They’ll bring plenty of money with them, but they won’t increase the demand for housing much. They’ll just move into the condos and mansions they bought last year. That will just make life tougher for the surge of Americans belatedly looking for a haven.
A global health crisis. If Trump cuts funding to the UN, the World Health Organization gets cut too. WHO has serious underfunding problems already, but it’s dealt with Ebola and Zika, not to mention containing ongoing horrors like malaria and HIV/AIDS. That will be just a wistful memory while we await the next pandemic once WHO is starved of funds by Trump.
And if Trump hands control of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control over to some medical crank or anti-vaccine charlatan, even measles could become the scourge it was a century ago.