The Nanos poll revealing growing divergence of views between Canadians and Americans should not surprise anyone. But Canada is not to blame for the fact that we are drifting apart on so many issues, as some allege. Partisan sniping, or the well-known proclivity of Canadians to blame themselves when things sour – our ingrained apologist streak – should not blind us to reality. Canadians must wake up to what many of America’s erstwhile allies learned much earlier: The Obama Administration is one of, if not the weakest U.S. administrations on record in terms of global leadership and constructive bilateralism. That, together with a polarized, dysfunctional Congress and, more generally, an America that is turning inwards are among the reasons why the neighbourhood ardor is waning. And it is not simply Canadians who feel that way. Our Mexican friends feel jilted on immigration and border security, two issues that matter greatly to them. So too do America’s allies across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans whose profound sense of frustration with an America in retreat is palpable.
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