With Friends Like Obama…

November 14th, 2011 at 3:00 pm David Frum | 132 Comments |

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As Chris Sands writes at Huffington Post Canada about the Obama administration’s hostile action on the Keystone pipeline, with friends like President Obama, who needs enemies?

[Canadian Prime Minister Stephen] Harper has been a great friend to Obama: supportive of the U.S. global warming approach at Copenhagen and Cancun, ponying up billions to support the auto bailouts, supporting the U.S.-led NATO mission in Afghanistan, and offering to sell renewable hydroelectric power as well as oil and gas to energize an American economic recovery. This from a Conservative whose political friends in the United States can’t stand Obama.

But as many have discovered, it doesn’t pay to be Obama’s friend. Just ask Britain’s Gordon Brown, Spain’s José Luis Zapatero, Australia’s Kevin Rudd, Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu or Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.

Why stop with foreigners? Here in the United States, the list of disappointed friends includes the labour unions (no card check legislation, and three free trade deals passed last month), Hispanics (no effort on immigration reform and deportations are up), African Americans (hardest hit by the recession), the peace movement (drone killings multiply and Guantanamo remains open), Wall Street (bailed out and then scapegoated), Occupy protestors, and environmentalists (no cap and trade, no carbon tax).

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132 Comments so far ↓

  • sparse

    obama has an obligation to do what is best for the united states. the things canada did, like the auto bailout and selling us energy, were good for canada. why does frum keep trying to insist that america owes it to canada and israel to put their interests ahead of ours?

    the keystone pipeline review process may have been contaminated by a conflict of interest. that needs to be set right before any decisions get made. not that complicated. delayed until after the election keeps it from becoming a political football. also not that complicated.

    • balconesfault

      offering to sell renewable hydroelectric power as well as oil and gas to energize an American economic recovery

      This cracks me up.

      I should be grateful to ExxonMobil today because they sold me the gas that I used to drive to work …

    • paul_gs

      Bailing out the auto industry directly benefitted the US. If we hadn’t have ponied up billions, GM and Chrysler would have had billions of dollars worth of auto plants stranded in Canada which would have been auctioned off to pay some of their debts.

      We even topped up union pension plans with taxpayers’ money, something that has never been done in Canada before.

  • Fart Carbuncle

    “…why does frum keep trying to insist that america owes it to canada and israel to put their interests ahead of ours?”

    You do know that Frum is Canadian and Jewish, don’t you? Naturally, there are interests. Everyone has them–nothing wrong with that.

    • ottovbvs

      “nothing wrong with that.”

      Except the president of the US isn’t required to pay much deference to them.

      • paul_gs

        Goes both ways otto. If the Middle East erupts in the future and you find yourself short of secure energy supplies, your friends may not be able to help you out.

        • dennis

          paul_gs, that is the most cynical attitude to take when you consider how much the U.S. does around the globe. What you’re implying is that our “friends” — allies — won’t be there if we needed them. I wholeheartedly disagree with that, and history has borne that out.

          Now, to this “With friends like Obama . . .” meme DF is purporting. That, too, is cynical. When has anyone accused a past president of not being a friend to U.S. allies simply because that president considered U.S. interests above those of anyone else? To me, it’s the same ol’ story: Blacks are incompetent and can’t really get by without affirmative action and other such programs. Before you start in on your “race card” cries, just think of how many times you’ve heard this among your friends, family and peers over the years.

          I’ve experienced it myself: no matter how well or superior a job I do, I get the obligatory pat on the back; but, the promotion goes to the White guy. How do I know this mindset operates? When I hear, “How come all Blacks aren’t like you?” and “You’re a credit to your people.” I already know from where those comments come. You know deep down, White people think Blacks are inferior. And that is why Obama can’t get credit for anything.

          I’m ready for the flaming.

  • Southern Populist

    LOL. Cry me a river, Canada!

    Sorry we don’t want the land-based equivalent of a Deep Water Horizon platform running down our heartland so that your multi-nationals can make money while delivering no benefits to Americans.

    • nuser

      You might want to consider , if Canada desires this pipeline. They don’t!

    • paul_gs

      SP, quite drinking the green zealots’ KoolAid on this issue. You can’t have a Deepwater Horizon type of disaster. It isn’t possible. And the oil is for US domestic use.

      Why are you so ready to believe the lies of the environmental zealots?

      • Southern Populist


        That guy armstp — who I have crossed swords with here and there — clobbered you in the other thread with a mountain of evidence that you never rebutted.

        Let’s see some evidence you are right and everyone else is wrong. You can start by proving the oil is for US domestic use.

        • paul_gs

          armstp peddled up the some crap from the DeSmogBlog website. Enough said.

        • Southern Populist

          At least armstp backed up his claims with *something*. So far you have provided *nothing.*

          Again, let’s see some evidence the oil is for US domestic use.

        • paul_gs

          No SP, lies aren’t “something”, they are simply lies. I don’t do basic research for other posters here especially if they are only interested in spreading falsehoods. I am not going to break a sweat providing evidence they are not interested in anyways.

          You can’t use facts with zealots.

        • medinnus

          “You can’t use facts with zealots.”

          The irony. The painful irony.

        • chephren

          Who would use this oil, if not Americans? You seem to be suggesting the silly scenario that those sneaky, nefarious oil majors would pipe Canadian oil to the Gulf of Mexico for trans-shipment to China.

          Gee, that makes a whole LOT of sense.

        • ram6968

          the oil was to be refined in texas……you can’t get gasoline from oil sands, just diesel and lubes, primarily for countries with high diesel consumption

        • paul_gs

          ……you can’t get gasoline from oil sands. – ram

          That will be news to Albertans who have been producing gasoline from tar/oilsands for over 45 years now.

  • PracticalGirl

    What is the point of the Keystone Pipeline? As a smart poster (Watusie) remarked on another thread, it appears to be government use of eminent domain laws to spread a Canadian pipeline through 8 States in the US to create jobs for Texans to create profits for the Canadian oil companies that will then take the refined products, ship them out and onto the world market.

    In additional, US lawmakers have asked real questions regarding Canadian companies and collusive agreements to build pipeline, bypass Midwest oil Refineries and drive up prices that consumers will feel at the pipes.


    Canadian profits, US consumer issues and a pipeline laid over the shallow, yet vast Ogallala aquifer that provides 82% of drinking water to Us citizens within its boundary and 30% of the US’s irrigation groundwater.

    Seriously, David? President Obama should consider Canadian interests first, Texas jobs second, US consumer economics third and the rest be damned?

    • paul_gs

      You forgot the part that the oil is for US domestic use. You forgot the part that it would create 20,000 shovel-ready jobs. You forgot the part that the Nebraska route is the safest route. You forgot the part that the oil lessens dependence on Middle Eastern sources. You forgot the part that it provides thousands of permanent US jobs. You forgot the part that it provides billions of dollars in tax revenue.

      But go ahead . . . continue on with the false talking points.

      • PracticalGirl

        HAHAHAHAH…From Mr. Unsubtantiated Bloviator of Talking Points himself, that’s pretty rich.

        Do provide all the fun evidence of all your claims. Not from the silly right wing boards you pull your info from, but real evidence. You have an interesting trend on this board, where you let the conversation happen until you think everybody’s tuckered out and then swoop in with your propaganda.

        As Southern Populist said above, defend your postitions, or get swatted away like the Kool-aid drinking hack you appear to be. Is there a price guarantee to the US, or is this at world market per barrel prices? Do you think nothing of US lawmakers serious concerns about collusive efforts by Canadian oil companies that will be felt directly at the pumps? Is this no longer a concern? Of course, what do you know or care, as a Canadian?

  • TerryF98

    Canada First!

  • ottovbvs

    Oh dear me, Obama is putting US interests and the common good of Americans above those of other countries and sectional interests in the US. This will never do.

    • Graychin

      No, that won’t do at all.

      The burning question: How will this “hostile action” on the Keystone pipeline affect Israel?

    • paul_gs

      Obama put the lies of the radical greens ahead of the interests of American citizens. But that’s politics and it is only a delay.

  • Oldskool

    With so many enemies and with such a bad economy, he should be polling in Shrub territory. But he’s not. He’s doing better than Reagan at this point.

    That should probably rate a mention.

  • shediac

    First off 60% of Canadians hate Harper, only slightly less than 40% of voters voted conservative. As for the points well…
    The majority of Canadians are against Harper’s non-existent global warming policies.
    The Canadian part of auto bailout was to save Canadian jobs.
    Canadians in Afghanistan, that came in the previous Canadian and American administration.
    Offering to sell energy to the USA? Where the heck else do we sell energy?
    Keystone Pipeline, majority of Canadians do not want it.

    As for Chris Sands, Hudson Institute, can you get farther right wing than that?

    • paul_gs

      75% of Canadians hate the Liberals.
      80% of Canadians hate the Dippers.
      90% of Canadians hate the Greens.

      Majority of Canadians support the Conservatives climate strategy, that’s why the Conservatives hold a majority.

      And the majority of Canadians, like the majority of Americans, support Keystone XL.

      • PracticalGirl

        More unsubstantiated garbage. I couldn’t care two whits about what Canadians think, but “The majority of Americans” support this? Do help me with your vast knowledge of what Americans want. As a Canadian, it carries great weight.

        Officially consider you a troll now. No more care and feeding of you required.

        • paul_gs

          The majority of Americans would rather rely on Canadian oil then Middle Eastern oil, that is a fact.

      • shediac

        Majority of Canadians support the Conservatives climate strategy, that’s why the Conservatives hold a majority. What? The neo-cons hold a majority because of Canada’s crazy electoral system, 60% of Canadians that voted voted against Harper even though the vast majority of the main stream corporate media was on Harper’s side. Sun Media, Post Media, Globe and Mail, between them control 90% of the newspaper circulation and they, as good corporate citizens that know where advertising money comes from, were for Harper. Check the vote count Harper has a majority of seats in parliament but not a majority of Canadians on his side.

  • Ray_Harwick

    Why doesn’t Canada build a refinery? Are they concerned about the environmental impact on the Hudson Bay? They could probably do that cheaper than putting a trench through 2,000 miles of the middle of the Great Plains.

    • Rubicon

      If the tar sands product was refined in Alberta the price of the refined product would be significantly higher. There are American interests…Exxon, Chevron, and other companies that would rather have raw product.

      • Southern Populist

        Exxon and Chevron are globalist multinationals who represent the interests of their shareholders only. Exxon and Chevron do not represent American interests if by that you mean the interests of ordinary Americans.

        • Rubicon

          Right, and many ordinary Americans work for Exxon and Chevron.

        • paul_gs

          Exxon and Chevron do not represent American interests if by that you mean the interests of ordinary Americans.

          Of course Exxon and Chevron rep the interest of ordinary Americans. Profitable private corporations provide a public good: energy, tax revenues, high paying jobs.

          Many retirees own oil company stock and so do many pension funds because they are good, profitable well-run companies providing a needed product.

        • Southern Populist

          The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989, when the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, California, struck Prince William Sound’s Bligh Reef and spilled 260,000 to 750,000 barrels (41,000 to 119,000 m3) of crude oil. It is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters.

    • paul_gs

      We have a labour shortage in Alberta. Wages to workers have gone through the roof and constructing an upgrader would be prohibitive at present.

      Texas though, already has upgraders capable of handling tarsands oil because they already process tarsands oil from Venezuela, but with imports dropping off from there, oil from Alberta would replace to supply more oil for US domestic use.

      • Watusie

        Unfortunately for you there are a lot of people who live in between Alberta and Houston who need to hear what is in it for them – and they’ve already figured out that you are lying when you say 20,000 jobs and energy independence.

        • paul_gs

          Tell it to the American unions what happened to the 20,000 construction jobs they were planning on.

          Of course, one pipeline would not provide energy independence. But it would help lessen reliance on conflict-oil from the Middle East.

        • shediac

          Hey sport report the facts it’s 6,500 jobs for a couple of years!

        • ram6968

          and more than twice that came out to protest the pipieline…..the biggest problem is the hundreds of miles landgrab from landowners that would take place….nebraska was getting ready state laws to prevent the land grab and preparing paperwork to go all the way to the supreme court to prevent the land grab….so it would be YEARS before the issue was resloved…..easy decision for obama

      • TerryF98

        Then the free market is not working. If there is a labor shortage in Alberta why are thee not people queuing up to get all these jobs?

        • paul_gs

          Oh there are Terry, there are.

          You can apply for a job in the morning here and have a job by the afternoon. But you have to go north to get the ridiculously high paying jobs.

          I know many people hate the tarsands, but they should fly up there and take a look at them themselves. Visiting in the spring, summer or fall is the best time as you can see the tailing ponds better and much more of the industrial operations.

          Form your own opinions free from the green agitprop. If you still hate the tarsands after visiting them, fine, but at least you will have made an informed decision based on first hand knowledge.

        • ram6968

          yeah, run up there and watch them strip away the ecology and leave the land a barren waste……no thanks

        • nuser

          Well Charlie, you see Charlie.? In what way Charlie? …..9 times no less. Does this guy remind you of anyone?

  • Carney

    Canada really needs to expand its economy beyond being a basically primitive resource extraction based one. Subtract oil, mining, and timber, and what do you have?

    • nuser

      Cleaner than American air and soil!

    • paul_gs

      Let’s see . . . what do we have in Canada? A low unemployment rate? A rock-solid banking system? Low government debt? Low crime rates? Low tax rates? Vast areas of pristine wilderness? Health care for everyone? Wonderful opportunities for the future? A friendly superpower for our next door neighbour?

      We have it great in Canada. I thank the Great Bearded Guy every day that I am so fortunate to live in such a fantastic country and with such a fantastic neighbour (radical progressives excluded ;) ).

      • icarusr

        And a lot of it thanks to precisely those policies that you constantly deride in the US.

        • paul_gs

          I like the policies of the US. Free trade, competition, multinational cooperation. Sadly, those are exactly what the radical greens want to stop.

        • icarusr

          Paul – you sound deranged, buddy.

          [blockquote]what do we have in Canada? A low unemployment rate? A rock-solid banking system? Low government debt? Low crime rates? Low tax rates? Vast areas of pristine wilderness? Health care for everyone? Wonderful opportunities for the future? A friendly superpower for our next door neighbour?

          We have it great in Canada.[/blockquote]

          You like our rock solid banking system? Canada’s banking system is as far from the US system as it is possible to get without actually changing the rules of the free market. Low crime rates? Result of heavy investment in social policy programs. Health care for everyone? The only exclusively state-run health care system outside of a communist country. Vast areas of pristine wilderness? Are you for fracking kidding me? Of course – all because of the same radical greens you hate so much. Low government debt? Two reasons: the GST and, in fact, HIGH taxes (have you forgotten the tax surcharges of the 1990s).

          You talk so much out of your behind – in one post contradicting yourself right left and centre … please, just stop and go away.

        • paul_gs

          We have vast areas of pristine areas in Canada because our population is so small for the size of our land mass and because Conservatives and Liberals have always been proactive at adding to our national parks system. It has almost nothing to do with the hysterical greens.

  • Watusie

    Cheer up, Canada! The death of the Keystone pipeline is your opportunity to turn Vancouver into your very own version of Houston. Plus all those eminent domain cases will create lots of work for Canadian lawyers in the west. Enjoy!

    • nuser

      Frum is all over the networks and his rantings can be construed as Obama bashing. I suspect
      there is little concern whether Keystone is a go or not. The smears on Obama are endless and while a Republican congress blocks Obama’s job proposals , they now claim he is denying Americans thousands of jobs . Anyone who thinks Frum is a liberal , think again!

    • paul_gs

      Death of Keystone? LOL.

  • dittbub

    I thought delaying the pipeline was for Obama’s friend “the environmentalists”. Of course everything Obama does is good for one friend, bad for another. Lots and lots of friends. Such a bad thing?

  • dugfromthearth

    I am eternally grateful that Obama puts the American people first and not his cronies. I just wish this article were titled “Obama does not engage in Crony Politics”, but I suppose in politics helping your constituents instead of your friends is considered bad.

  • think4yourself

    So Obama has done things that those on the Right and the Left haven’t liked. Sounds like the definition of a moderate and a pragmatist.

    As for disappointing those on the Left. Can you imagine any Democratic president doing more for the Left given the House in GOP hands and the Senate stymied by needing 60 votes on everything?

  • Rubicon

    I agree with some of the comments that refineries should be built in Alberta not the United States. That way, the retail price for American consumers, is ultimately much higher because refined not raw product is being transported. [Say hello to higher prices at the gas pump and higher stock prices...]

    • ram6968

      you don’t get gas from tar sands…thank you so much for displaying your lack of competence

  • sublime33

    So Canada doesn’t want to build a refinery on their soil with their own money? Wouldn’t be cheaper to build one near the source of the oil and not pipe the oil over one thousand miles? Something does not add up.

    This sounds like NFL teams not wanting to build a stadium with their own money. They would rather have someone else, namely the taxpayers, holding the bag if things go badly and they want to quickly pull up stakes and walk away. It seems as if the Canadian oil companies want an easy exit strategy as well.

    • Rubicon

      Money isn’t an issue for building refineries in Alberta. There are other parties involved that want unrefined product.

    • nuser

      Ask yourself this: Who wanted the tar sands developed in the first place?

    • paul_gs

      It’s cost prohibitive to build refineries in Albera at present because labour costs are so high and unemployment is so low.

      • sublime33

        And laying over a thousand miles of pipeline and securing property rights along every foot is inexpensive?

        • Watusie

          It is if you are relying on the government’s powers of eminent domain to get the land for you at the lowest possible price, and if you are outsourcing all the risk of environmental catastrophe to the government as well. I’d love to have a look at the actual ownership of the pipeline. Who would bet against it being a triple-ring-fenced stand-alone corporate entity that could go bankrupt in an instant and totally disappear as soon as bitumen starts leaking into the Ogallala Aquifer?

        • paul_gs

          Has oil ever leaked into the acquifier? Besides, that is the route the State Department recommended after considering all other routes.

        • ram6968

          the state department does not do enviromental studies

      • Watusie

        Well then, rather than move toxic corrosive sludge across 7 states and the nation’s largest and more fragile aquifer, why not build some well-insulated houses and move unemployed people to Alberta?

        • paul_gs

          Tarsands oil is hardly toxic and transporting it in pipelines is hardly rocket science.

        • Traveler

          Rubicon posits that it is more expensive to transport refined product. Not. There is less of it, and refined products are much less viscous, meaning more can fit in the same sized pipe. So that whole argument drops out. I cannot believe how little engineering knowledge has been applied to this discussion. Keystone is already looking at different alignments, some many hundreds of miles longer. Which brings me back to my original query three threads ago, why can’t they add a pipe next to the original? Or build a refinery at the head end to improve transport efficiency?

          If no refinery, we get our “staggering” 20,000 jobs, more flexibility to address future needs and no big controversy. If refinery, then its our mutual problem if we ship up St. Lawrence and a tanker goes down. A lot in this equation for simple perspectives.

        • Kevin B

          Why not build high speed rail to get the workers from Texas and all those square states up to Canada?

      • nuser

        you make no sense whatsoever .Good Bye.

        • Rubicon

          In response to Traveler…so purchasing and transporting unrefined bitumen to the U.S. is more expensive than purchasing and transporting refined product from the tar sands to the U.S.? Are the costs of building new refineries in Alberta less expensive than using existing refineries in the U.S.? What is the current feedstock supply for U.S. refiners?

          Do you have any amazing leads on where I can get a good deal on jet fuel? I’m interested.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    if this pipeline is such a great deal, then why doesn’t Canada just run one to Vancouver and another to Nova Scotia and build and refine all of the oil there? But no, Canada should be under no obligation to do that, they should strong arm the US to get what they want and be called an enemy if we don’t.
    There is, at present, sufficient pipeline capacity for all of the oil that comes to the states now, the oil sands are the last bit of major reserves left in North America, how about we slow down on the exploitation of that and save some for the future. But I forget, Republicans don’t believe in the future…they are eternal 3 year olds.

    And I know it was pointed out above but I still can’t resist:
    supportive of the U.S. global warming approach at Copenhagen and Cancun,
    (what, you mean Canada is not part of the planet?)
    ponying up billions to support the auto bailouts, (of which there is a significant Canadian presence) supporting the U.S.-led NATO mission in Afghanistan, (um…it is called NATO for a reason, how many trillions has the US spent on active defense of Canada? What, so Canada should never fulfill their role in the alliance, just take and take and take?) and offering to sell renewable hydroelectric power as well as oil and gas to energize an American economic recovery. (wow, how generous of them to make a big profit off of us, and I guess Microsoft and Google and Coca Cola, etc. have all be so kind to sell to Canadians considering we know that most live in Igloos and eat Seal meat 3 times a day)

    • icarusr

      Frump: it’s only the entitled Albertan and self-loathing America-lovers who think the US owes us anything other than what it has agreed to in its agreements with us. Pay no need.

      And for the record, the blood of 158 Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan is too precious – far too precious – to be used to guilt the US into building a pipeline. Shame on those who even dare make a connection.

  • Watusie

    Does anyone else think that paul_gs is actually Conrad Black, who has a lot of time on his hands these days and is trying to pay back Frum for all the manlove he has sent his way over the years?

  • icarusr

    “hostile action on the Keystone pipeline”

    Oy … Frum frothing … this is getting tedious.

    As a Canadian, I can assure you all that expect perhaps in certain pockets in Ottawa and Calgary, the pages of the National Joke and the usual gang of Canadian self-loathers (Carney, Paul-gs, etc.), not many people are seeing this as a – jeez, this is embarrassing – “hostile action”. You and your President and your Congress are perfectly entitled to protect or rape your environment as you see fit, within the bounds of international law, as are we.

    The point is not whether you buy your oil from us or from Saudi Arabia – oil is a commodity – but rather that dependence on this resource is not healthy for the environment or for international peace and security. And if there is a general reduction in oil consumption in the world, we have other sources of energy and wealth we can exploit.

    “hostile action”. This makes about as much sense as “axis of hatred”. Fluff for idiots, ideologues and demogogues.

    • nuser

      Just maybe, maybe , a very few of us understands. You do not need a degree to know ; if
      closing the garage door and turning on the ……will not end well

  • armstp

    What a whining hit piece… a garbage post.

    This guy throws everything and the kitchen sink in with all these groups of supposively disappointed “friends”.

    Amateur hour…

  • armstp

    All moot as most think the pipeline was going to be delayed anyways as Nebraska was going to tie it up in the courts…

  • dittbub

    The pipeline goes to a refinery in the US. The debate here in Canada now: why don’t we refine here at home? Creates jobs here in Canada. Helps labour. Obama is a friend to Canadian labour!

  • sunroof

    The Financial Post (for which David writes) has a different view out this afternoon of the Obama decision – that a careful reading suggests an effective approval of the entire pipeline save for that small portion through the Nebraska that is being contested by the state (as opposed to the entire project which environmentalists want to stop).


    And the US apparently asked Canada to join the Trans-Pacific Trade talks from which it had been excluded. Supposedly this happened at Obama’s urging.


    The one issue David did not mention is the decision to levy new US passenger taxes on flights between Canada and the US. That’s on Obama.

    But Keystone also faced Republican obstacles in Nebraska, and it was a Republican-led state legislature committee in Michigan which has put the kibosh on a $4 billion, shovel ready (toll-financed) project to build a new international bridge at Detroit. The committee even ignored the Republican governor’s support for the project because it was more important to placate a major party donor who happens to own the existing Detroit bridge.

    So Republicans are pretty as unhelpful as Obama for Canada-US relations.

    The problem to me doesn’t seem so much partisan as it does that the US has become the “can’t do” country where special interests tie up all kinds of worthy endeavors.

  • Southern Populist

    But a careful reading of the decision shows it is much narrower than either supporters or opponents claim. A cynical observer might conclude the administration has approved the rest of the route, while requiring more study on a single minor section across Nebraska’s Sand Hills region. The postponement will keep environmental groups onside through next year’s reelection campaign, while extending an implicit promise to pipeline operator TransCanada and the oil industry that the line will eventually be approved with only relatively minor modifications once the election is safely out of the way.

    RE: sunroof @ Nov 14, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    So the view in the Canadian business press is, in effect, “relax, TransCanada; Obama’s Keystone decision is an election year ploy.”

    I can’t say I’m surprised.

    I have been telling people for months now that even though Barack Obama does something right every now and then, he is, fundamentally, a corporate crony when the chips are down.

    If he sells out the environmentalists next year, maybe it will open a few eyes.

  • LauraNo

    Harper being supportive of the ‘global warming approach’ is because Harper doesn’t want to do anything about it, either. He helped with the auto bailouts because CANADA MAKES GM and FORD D CARS, TOO. Offering to sell the US energy is hardly a ‘friendly’ thing to do. And how will it ‘energize’ the economic recovery? So we are down to Afghanistan. I don’t claim to know why Harper supported it but I’m sure it has more to do with his being a family values conservative than with his offering some kind of support for Obama’s policies which were…oh wait, that was BUSH, and Harper was helping his conservative buddy, wasn’t he? Or do you mean he is offering Obama’s Afghan policy support by withdrawing his troops? I live in Canada and I am aware, in a way noone reading all your pouting about the Keystone pipeline posts would know, has plenty of opposition right here. Are you doing as Harper, disregarding opinions that are not your own? Lastly, I have to say, you seem to believe world leaders should stand by their ‘friends’ rather than pursue their country’s interests, much as you do with Israel.

    • icarusr

      Afghanistan: Chrétien, a Liberal Prime Minister, ordered the involvement following the invocation by the United States of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty: attack on one Member is an attack on all. There was no debate at the time, as it was a basic defence treaty obligation.

  • rbottoms

    Obama isn’t the president of Israel, Canada, England, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Iraq, or Germany. He’s president of the United States of America and the interests of every one of those countries is a distant second to ours.

    Sacrificing Nebraska’s aquifer to move eco-destroying oil to enrich the wealthy isn’t a priority. How about Canada builds a refinery up there? You can have all the oil to sell and pollution that goes with extracting it and refining it.

  • chephren

    This post is nonsense.

    Since when does the US owe Canada approval of a cross-border pipeline?

    How does support for the auto bailouts, US policy in Afghanistan, energy exports – or any other of a range of issues – translate into an obligation on the part of the Obama administration to permit the construction of Keystone XL? Here’s how: not in any way.

    A dozen or pipelines, mostly gas lines, have been built across the US/Canada border over the past 55 years. Did Canada “buy” these ventures with good behavior as an ally? Of course not. They made economic sense – period. They weren’t political footballs going into an election year due in part to environmental concerns. Keystone XL carries this baggage – hence Obama’s caution on this issue.

    Keystone will probably be built. It will take a little longer than the original plan. In 5 or 10 years’ time, will it matter?

  • icarusr

    As one Canadian – and only one, speaking for no one other than for myself – I say this: the President of the United States does not have personal friends, and the United States does not have permanent friends. Or enemies, for that matter. He does what he does to protect the interests of the United States, and we do what we do to protect our own interests. We have a web of commercial and noncommercial treaties, and because we are both law abiding countries, for the most part, we expect one another to respect them – and it is better for both of us that we do. It is in the interests of the United States to have a friend right on top of it, as it is for Canada to have a close friend right below us.

    So there it is. Anyone expecting Obama, or any US president for that matter, to somehow place personal friendships or loyalties or whatever ahead of the national interests of the United States is either a lunatic or a liar, or both. Bush, had it been in the interests of the US or of his presidency, would have done the same. And so would his daddy, and Reagan and Carter and whoever …

    So -those who are in favour of the pipeline, please defend it on its own merits, rather than drag Canada into it. And those who are against it, please stop slagging Canada for the pipeline and get off your high horses. We do what we do because it is in our interests, including selling oil to the Chinese. If you want the pipeline, fine; if not, other means will be found – not the end of the world. (I am not Albertan and don’t particularly like the tar sands, but that’s a different discussion.)

    • paul_gs

      The pipeline has already defended itself on its merits. Unfortunately, the green zealots are better liars and have managed to dupe portions of the public, at least temporarily.

      Anyone who has followed or researched the issue for any length of time knows that this pipeline offers many benefits to the US with no downside.

      • jakester

        Obviously a major oil spill and the contamination of the water table is not a problem in Paul’s realistic little world

        • paul_gs

          A major oil spill in the acquifier is not possible. That’s why it is the State Department’s preferred route. But we can go around it if you like, it’s not a big deal.

      • icarusr

        Anyone who has followed or researched the issue for any length of time knows that this pipeline offers many benefits to the US with no downside.

        Anyone with half a brain who knows anything at all about anything related to natural resources knows that you never, ever, under any circumstances, suggest that there is “no downside” to a thousands-mile long oil pipeline. If you had said, “risks are manageable”, we could agree to disagree on the risks or the risk management options; to say there is no downside is plain ignorant and quite possibly stupid.

        • armstp

          I think the problem is oil sands in general. We are pumping billions into the oil sands when the resources could be used better elsewhere on alternative fuels, developing more fuel efficient, electric cars, improving the electrical grid, etc. All those wasted resources and distractions for a fuel who’s days are likely numbered. The wrong technology.

          The issue is not getting off hostile foreign oil, but getting off fossil fuels period.

          I am short the oil sands. To much high cost spending which assumes too high an oil price when demand in North America is actually falling.

          We are a few years away from a 400 mile electric car battery. When that happens all cars will go electrical. The demand for oil will drop dramatically.

        • paul_gs

          We are a few years away from a 400 mile electric car battery. When that happens all cars will go electrical.

          Be sure to e-mail me when that happens armstp. I’m still waiting for the e-mail about hydrogen cars and the hydrogen economy which we were both supposed to be realities by now.

        • salvatore

          @paul_gs tell that to Israel.

        • paul_gs

          There is no downside icarusr since it lessens the environmental risk on oil already being imported from the Middle East. But zealots are unreasonable creatures and any risk is intolerable for them.

        • icarusr

          Paul: elementary principles of risk management provide that you assess pros and cons, and make a judgement on that basis. That the risks of Middle East oil imports are higher than the risks of a 1700 mile oil pipeline – if that were the case – does not mean that there is no “downside”. It is either ignorant or disingenuous to say so. It just means that the downsides of one are less compelling than the downsides of the other.

          As it happens – if you had bothered at all to read the news of the Alberta premier’s visit to DC, you would have noted that the pipeline has nothing to do with exporting oil to the US, as many have said. So even on a risk management/balancing basis, your point is, well, false.

          So you are wrong on facts and wrong on analytical methodology. Stop digging.

        • paul_gs

          Sorry, there is no downside because it reduces the level of risk from oil already being imported. It is environmentally safer, provides more jobs and more tax revenue.

          As for risk free? Absolutely nothing in life is risk free, that goes without saying.

    • salvatore

      “And those who are against it, please stop slagging Canada for the pipeline and get off your high horses.”

      Sucks when your whole country gets denigrated for the views of your head of government, huh.

  • joseelar

    Who cares about the US…. there will be plenty in line for oil sands…. this is our resource and if the US doesn’t want it, someone else will pay for it.

  • baw1064

    I note the following from the laundry list of the second and third paragraphs:

    Brown, Zapatero, and Rudd are all socialists/labour.

    All of the interest groups in the third paragraph are left wing, with the exception of Wall Street (who have deservedly become everybody’s favorite scapegoat–see Tea Party, the).

    Isn’t the most logical conclusion that Obama is a center-right president?

    Netanyahu has NEVER been Obama’s friend.

    • laingirl

      Does Netanyahu have any friends? If I recall correctly, Frum even said recently Netanyahu is not very popular in Israel. He is certainly less popular in the USA than he ever was. Many citizens here, who were ambivalent before with respect to Israel, become pro Palestine every time Bibi opens his mouth when he visits or approves another settlement.

  • John Frodo

    Comparing Harper to Mubarak, well done sir. Who thinks Obama does not relish putting Harper in his place for meddling in the Democratic Primary on Hillirys side. Harper has dropped every file, and you think the USA likes being threatened?

  • baw1064

    So the latest news is that TransCanada is working with the state of Nebraska on revising the pipeline route to address the environmental concerns. It appears that common sense has broken out after all.

    Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?

    • LFC

      You obviously don’t realize that one must be a freedom hating librul if you don’t bend over and spread your cheeks for every gas/oil company that wants to do something. That’s why the EPA is so awful. They actually want to ensure that projects are safe for the people and spaces around them. You know, disgusting left-wing stuff.

    • paul_gs

      Transcanada simply followed Obama’s State Department recommendations who themselves were the ones who said the acquifer route was the safest.

      • baw1064

        First, how does the State Department know where the best place to build an oil pipeline would be? They got put in charge of it because it’s an international project, but the ecology of the Sand Hills is pretty clearly outside their field of expertise.

        Secondly, the usual conservative talking point is that we need to get the big bad Federal Government out of our business and let things be decided at the state level. Since the pipeline affects interstate commerce and international trade, it falls under the domain of Federal authority. But the administration did the responsible thing and asked the State of Nebraska to weigh in before approving the project. The Feds giving the government of a very red state a say in what happens would normally be an idea conservatives could get behind, but EVERYTHING OBAMA DOES IS A RADICAL SOCIALIST GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER.

  • salvatore

    With friends like Alberta, who needs enemies? Despite Canada’s constant griping about national sovereignty vis a vis the US, it is a Canadian company that is using US eminent domain laws to grab US farmers’ land and endanger US drinking water supplies. Not to mention that they started paving the way for their pipeline before it was even approved by the US State Dept.

    “supportive of the U.S. global warming approach at Copenhagen and Cancun”

    But unable to meet his own country’s Kyoto Protocol targets, and opposes renewing it on the grounds that the US never signed on in the first place.

    If Harper wants to sell his country’s oil to China instead, he should stop yapping and get to work on Northern Gateway and throwing out that pesky moratorium on tankers off the BC coast.

  • ram6968

    nebraska is preparing to take eminent domain all the way to the supreme court, it could be years before a spade of dirt is turned over

  • shediac

    Has Frum given up his Canadian citizenship? Shouldn’t David be writing about how Harper is abdicating his responsibility to Canadians by not building a pipeline to the west coast. Isn’t Harper selling out Canadians to US interest.

  • dubmod

    Netanyahu??? Obama owes Netanyahu? Are you completely nuts?