I read the Wikileaked cable 08OTTAWA136 -- SUBJECT: PRIMETIME IMAGES OF US-CANADA BORDER PAINT U.S. IN INCREASINGLY NEGATIVE LIGHT today; a description of a few Canadian television shows as anxiously viewed by an American bureaucrat with his "Love America Meter" firmly in hand, taking readings and measurements.
Specifically, the bureaucrat in question examined the level of "American stereotyping" and "anti-Americanism" on Canada's "State run" (actually, "Crown run"; same thing) television network the CBC.
Shows viewed were The Border, Intelligence and even Little Mosque on Prairie, each causing varying levels of concern because America, American police, border and intelligence agencies were not presented as the benevolent entities showering candy upon children, as the bureaucrat in question seems to believe they are.
The pervasive issue in this memo? Negative stereotypes of America and American officials.
My observation: When Americans learn how they are perceived by others they often don't like those perceptions and therefore accuse the obervers of "stereotyping".
But my question is this: Is Guantanamo Bay a stereotype?
Are extraordinary renditions just hurtful rumors?
How about the constitutional vandalism of the PATRIOT Acts I and II?
In reference to an episode of The Border, the US bureaucrat wrote: "In episode one a Syrian terrorist with a belt full of gel-based explosives is removed from a plane in Canada while the Canadian-Syrian man sitting next to him is rendered by the CIA/CSIS team to Syria -- a fairly transparent reference to QCIA/CSIS team to Syria -- a fairly transparent reference to the Maher Arar case."
Thing is, the Maher Arar case is real. It happened. It didn't have to happen, but American immigration/border authorities saw to it that it did happen. Canadian authorities -- like a bunch of Boy Scouts in short-pants -- happily aided and abetted the wrong-headed American officials, making this case a bi-national disgrace.
The suspension of habeus corpus in the United States isn't a stereotype.
Nor was George W. Bush's brazen and criminal authorization of waterboarding, among other torture techniques, a rumor or stereotype -- wrenching useless confessions from victims whom we'll never know were guilty or not of crimes, all making outlandish confesions that have been compared to those made by defendants during Stalin's show trials in the Soviet Union in the 1930s.
And Canadian skepticism of the CIA? Well, The Company was kind enough to share its MK/Ultra horror with Canada, performing some absolutely hideous experiments on Canadian citizens -- unbeknownst to them, of course -- while they were patients in a Montreal mental hospital:
From Wilkins' cable: "The series [CBC's "H20" mini-series] was first broadcast in 2005, when it featured an investigation into an American assassination of the Canadian prime minister and a very broad-based (and wildly implausible) U.S. scheme to steal Canadian water."
Wilkins, have you ever seen the documentary The Panama Deception? It shows how the US installed Manuel Noriega -- a CIA employee and drug runner for the agency -- and then used his ouster as a pretext for destroying the Panamanian military so that the US could take control of the Panama Canal.
Going into another country to steal some of its natural resources -- that doesn't ring any bells of familiarity, Wilkins? Really? Like "swear-on-the-bible" really?
. . .
I've never known of a country with a greater, more pronounced and problematic inferiority complex than the United States.
"Love us! Love us! We just want love!" America cries all the while perpetrating distinctly unlovable acts around the world.
Part of the bureaucrat's conclusion after all of this television viewing:
While there is no single answer to this trend, it does serve to demonstrate the importance of constant creative, and adequately-funded public-diplomacy engagement with Canadians, at all levels and in virtually all parts of the country. We need to do everything we can to make it more difficult for Canadians to fall into the trap of seeing all U.S. policies as the result of nefarious faceless U.S. bureaucrats anxious to squeeze their northern neighbor.Actually, America, you don't have to go to all that trouble.
Know what you can do instead?
Clean up your fucking act.