Canada is now the unofficial leader of the free world, with President Barack Obama continuing to adopt a posture of “leading from behind” that neither impresses allies nor appeases rivals. The latest evidence comes from the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, where Obama deferred to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the question of the Falkland Islands, according to the Globe and Mail:
At the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, this month, Latin American leaders pushed hard for a resolution supporting Argentina’s claim to the Falkland Islands. Stephen Harper pushed back.
In a private session with leaders, according to people who know, the Prime Minister fiercely supported the right of the islanders to determine their fate, and they had chosen to remain British. For Canada, this was a matter of deep principle, Mr. Harper insisted.
The United States has always been neutral on the Falklands, but when Canada took the lead, President Barack Obama made it clear he backed Mr. Harper. The resolution failed.
[Argentinian president] Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was furious. “This is pointless. Why did I even come here?” the Argentinean president was overheard saying as she stormed out of the conference.
Kirchner’s outrage is understandable, given that the Obama administration had been giving every signal that it would be prepared to back Argentinian claims–much to the irritation of the United Kingdom. Instead, President Obama merely stepped back and let Harper deliver the bad news–which also happened to be the right policy.
If only Obama would listen to Harper more often–and be less reluctant to assert American leadership in the cause of freedom.
Photo credit: UPI Photo/Anatoli Zhdanov