Friday, June 7, 2019

My Log 738 June 7 2019: Chronicles from my Tenth Decade: 173; I step up to the plate as our new Foreign Minister; I outline my first action, which immediately solves to everyone’s satisfaction the Meng Wanzhou dilemma, and makes us matey with China again

I don’t know whether Canada needs a new Prime Minister, but we sure as hell do need a new Foreign Minister, our present one, a former financial reporter with the right-wing press, having apparently decided that schoolmarmish lecturing of major powers is a route to their heart.
Okay, fellas, I am now the Foreign Minister.
My first job is to settle this mess our government has created with China, the sort of mess that has our farmers in despair, for one thing, and which has transformed Canada from being, as it has been traditionally since 1949, a calm and reasoned voice capable of remaining friends not only with our Western allies, but also with some of the more rational communist entities, among which I would number China.
Our take-off point should be that the Chinese government, although not using methods we would use in Canada, is doing a good job for its people, and should be encouraged to keep on doing it.
I take the first plane to Beijing, where I am quickly seated with either the Big Poobah himself, Xi Jinping, or with the senior but somewhat lesser minister Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, a man who has not only  spent a year as a visiting scholar at Georgetown University  in the United States, but who has held his position for six years, uninterrupted since March 2013, and whose wife is the daughter of Qian Jiadon,  the secretary of Zhou Enlai, who, as everybody knows, was always the Chinese Communist leader most admired and trusted in the Western world.
There, I tell him, Listen, man, you and I both know that unfortunately the United States, though a cruel accident of history, has elected a crazy person to its presidency, and this crazy person, busy doing crazy things almost daily, is throwing a wrench into just about every multilateral international organization, but is also withdrawing from agreements that were hard won by skilled diplomats from all sides in  past years. Even from the super important matters covering armaments.
One of the crazy things he has done is to have withdrawn from the Joint Comprehensive  Plan of Action (JCPOA), regarding Iran's nuclear capacity, laboriously agreed upon by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council— the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China — plus Germany,  and the European Union.
It is in pursuance of this lunatic action that the United States --- for which, on this occasion one must read Trump ---  has imposed sanctions on Iran, in violation of which sanctions one of your citizens, the greatly respected Meng Wanzhou, the financial controller of your highly respected Chinese company Huawei, has been accused by the United States of various so-called criminal actions. In pursuance of these charges, the United States has activated the extradition treaty between our two countries, and it was more or less automatically that we effected the arrest of Ms. Meng on December 1 2018, when she was in transit through Vancouver.
These extradition proceedings are governed by a raft of principles which make the proceedings leading to any extradition long and extremely drawn out in nature. One of these principles is that Canada cannot extradite to any country a person charged with an offence against laws which do not have effect in Canada.
It is obvious, therefore, that this extradition cannot proceed, since these United States sanctions are not imposed by Canada, and have no effect within our legal system.
We regret we have been caught in this unfortunate position between your country, China, whose recent progress we have, along with the rest of the world, so much admired and so warmly welcomed, and our long-term and inevitably close ally, the United States.
It is true that the legal process towards extradition can be a slow and laborious process, but in the present circumstances, we believe it would be welcomed by our Canadian population were we to skip the legal formalities, on the double grounds that no sensible person would have regarded them as reasonable grounds for extradition, and that we cannot extradite anyone to face charges under laws that we do not have in our country. We could thus quite legally move directly to the ultimate decision-making in response to the extradition request.
Our Minister of Justice and Attorney-general under our extradition law, is the only person who can order an extradition.
Given the flimsy indeed, ludicrous, case being presented by the United States, we have decided to reject the request for extradition, and therefore we would be in a position to release Ms.Meng from custody, and we would hope that your reciprocal action would be to release the two Canadian persons you have held, businessman Michael Spavor, and former diplomat Michae Kovrig, without charge so far, I believe, and lessen the other charges against certain Canadian citizens on whom the death penalty has been imposed since the arrest of Ms. Meng.
I believe this course of action should be agreeable to you, and should result in the resumption of that close interest and friendship Canada has held ever since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, and especially since 1970 when yet closer ties were established between our two countries.
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Of course I recognize that this would provoke a hailstorm of tweeting from the White House and threats of retaliation, but I think we can assume that there would be sufficient understanding of our action in that great country to carry us through the tempest to a sunny and more productive future.
This course of action could be said to be in fulfilment 
of this author’s well-known mantra,
“Wot the hell, wot the hell, toujours gai, toujours gai!”

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