It's like seeing two people in a donkey costume, front and back, trying to walk in different directions: that's the current dynamic between Canada and the United States.
On December 1, Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies and the daughter of the founder of Chinese tech giant Ren Zhengfei. The arrest was carried out at the request of the United States, whose government alleges that Meng committed fraud and violated the prohibitions of sanctions for doing business with Iran.
The arrest in Canada was carried out in accordance with the rule of law and the country's international obligations. On Tuesday, Meng received a bail in Vancouver, under difficult conditions, including $ 10 million (CAD) in bail subscribed by five guarantors, the delivery of his passports, the agreement to remain at home between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., and 24-hour surveillance (some of which you are paying).
The Canadian end of the donkey is walking on the side of the line that respects due process and the rule of law, national and international. The other extreme, the end of President Trump, let's call it the back, is receding back to the years of previous centuries when royalty and other notables were captured and held by rescue by kingdoms and other political organizations.
This week, Kelly Craft, the US ambassador to Canada, assured us that Meng's arrest was not political. It's not about trade or retribution, he said. Hours later, Trump undermined Craft by suggesting he could intervene in the case. To guarantee respect for the rule of law? To ensure that Canada does not face reprisals for doing the right thing, which may have already begun with the arrest in China of former diplomat and current non-governmental organization employee Michael Kovrig?
Of course not. Trump stepped in to say he would use Meng as a currency as the United States and China resolve their trade and national security relations. In an interview with Reuters, Trump politicized the Meng issue in a few sentences: "If I think it's good for what will undoubtedly be the biggest trade agreement ever made, which is something very important, which is good for national security. , certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary. "
Trump's recklessness puts Canada in an awkward position. While the government of Justin Trudeau tries to act in good faith in an effort to play this high profile and politically sensitive case according to the books, the American president is a wild card: a threat to legal proceedings and the delicate geopolitical balance that must be maintained not Whether the Meng issue becomes a crisis.
Decades, in fact, centuries of legal, political and social evolution have been necessary to establish national and international laws, protocols and institutions. They have been years of careful construction, of moving away from the renegade, of an ad hoc power politics of fantasy and caprice. With Meng's arrest, Canada has demonstrated its commitment to maintain that delicate order. Some in the Trump administration have also done so. Unfortunately, the head of that administration has not done so.
Unfortunately, in this case, the president has the power to ruin the Meng case and undermine national and international processes. It is not a bad work day for him. Meanwhile, Canada, which is reviewing Huawei technology against its own national security concerns, is caught between China and the United States while the two play hard with baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire.
The case against Meng could take years to develop, and his extradition to the United States will not happen overnight. Today, a year is a long time. Lots of things can happen. As Canada, the United States and China face their own political uncertainties, this issue is likely to remain a hot potato that threatens to burn anyone who touches it, including Canadian officials who are only trying to handle it with care.
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