The current visit of Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, is an event of great historical significance. Before his visit, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, came to China. China’s improving relations with Europe and Canada will change the global balance of power. These relations will have the net effect of America relatively losing power, and China gaining power. These visits are very significant, particularly because in the election year, the Republican candidates have made China the whipping boy and xenophobia the biggest issues in this election. Stephen Harper’s and Angela Merkel’s visits show that Canada and Europe are unlikely to follow America and its anti-China and anti-third world crusade.
Stephen Harper started out as an ardent follower of Bush. He even surpassed Bush on his anti-China stand. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he did not go to the Olympics even when his ideal, Bush, went to see the Olympics. However, in 2009, Stephen Harper realized his mistake and went to China. He conceded that China was too important to be ignored, and Canada needed China more than China needed Canada. Many trade agreements were signed. As a result of those, the trade between the two countries grew to 50 billion dollars last year. China has already become the second largest trading partner of Canada. The trade is expected to rise to 60 billion dollars in the year 2015. One day, China will become the largest trading partner of Canada, just as it happened to Brazil.
Germany has the largest economy in Europe. It has realized that Europe needs China to come out of the crisis. China is the only country which has 3 trillion dollars surplus money, while America has a 15 trillion dollar debt. How can America help Europe to come out of the crisis? America seems to be pushing its crisis onto Europe. Europe is much more dependent on the Middle Eastern oil than America is. Therefore, by deliberately aggravating the crisis in the Middle East, America is making Europe weaker. Germany and some other European countries do not like the American policies in the Middle East. Germany did not support America’s intervention in Libya. Similarly, Germany does not like the American rhetoric against China as Germany sees China as the only hope for coming out of the present crisis.
Canada has the world’s third largest oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. China needs oil for its growing economy and is trying to diversify its oil supplies. Canada needs China to keep its economy going. Therefore, the relationship is based upon mutual dependence and benefit. America refused to have an oil pipeline from Alberta to Texas. America is trying to do the same thing with China as it did in Cuba’s case. However, Canada refused to follow the American lead in Cuba and developed very good trade relations with Cuba. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Canada became the largest trading partner of Cuba. Now, China may become the largest trading partner of Canada.
Generally, Canada’s policies have been more sympathetic to the third world countries and Canada has tried to follow an independent foreign policy. It is great that Stephen Harper has finally realized that Canada needs to revive its traditional policies.
Dr. Sawraj Singh, MD F.I.C.S. is the Chairman of the Washington State Network for Human Rights and Chairman of the Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice. He can be reached at [email protected].