DECJANFEB
25
201320142015
1 capture
25 Jan 2014
About this capture
OPINIONS
Trending Topics
Charles Krauthammer
Opinion Writer
Stop jerking Canada around
By Charles Krauthammer, E-mail the writer
Fixated as we Americans are on Canada’s three most attention-getting exports — polar vortexes, Alberta clippers and the antics of Toronto’s addled mayor — we’ve somewhat overlooked a major feature of Canada’s current relations with the United States: extreme annoyance.
Last week, speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Canada’s foreign minister calmly but pointedly complained that the United States owes Canada a response on the Keystone XL pipeline. “We can’t continue in this state of limbo,” he sort of complained, in what for a placid, imperturbable Canadian passes for an explosion of volcanic rage.
Charles Krauthammer
Krauthammer writes a politics column that runs on Fridays.
Archive
@krauthammer
Facebook
RSS
Gallery
The Right’s 25 most influential, from Townhall.com: The conservative Web site’s latest listing of the most prominent voices on the right, with a few names you may not know.
You may also like...
Michael Gerson
Our complex president
George F. Will
Political exhibitionism
Canadians may be preternaturally measured and polite, but they simply can’t believe how they’ve been treated by President Obama — left hanging humiliatingly on an issue whose merits were settled years ago.
Canada, the Saudi Arabia of oil sands, is committed to developing this priceless resource. Its natural export partner is the United States. But crossing the border requires State Department approval, which means the president decides yes or no.
After three years of review, the State Department found no significant environmental risk to Keystone. Nonetheless, the original route was changed to assuage concerns regarding the Ogallala Aquifer. Obama withheld approval through the 2012 election. To this day he has issued no decision.
The Canadians are beside themselves. After five years of manufactured delay, they need a decision one way or the other because if denied a pipeline south, they could build a pipeline west to the Pacific. China would buy their oil in a New York minute.
Yet Secretary of State John Kerry fumblingly says he is awaiting yet another environmental report. He offered no decision date.
If Obama wants to cave to his environmental left, fine. But why keep Canada in limbo? It’s a show of supreme and undeserved disrespect for yet another ally. It seems not enough to have given the back of the hand to Britain, Israel, Poland and the Czech Republic, and to have so enraged the Saudis that they actually rejected a U.N. Security Council seat — disgusted as they were with this administration’s remarkable combination of fecklessness and highhandedness. Must we crown this run of diplomatic malpractice with gratuitous injury to Canada, our most reliable, most congenial friend in the world?
And for what? This is not a close call. The Keystone case is almost absurdly open and shut.
Even if you swallow everything the environmentalists tell you about oil sands, the idea that blocking Keystone would prevent their development by Canada is ridiculous. Canada sees its oil sands as a natural bounty and key strategic asset. Canada will not leave it in the ground.
Where’s the environmental gain in blocking Keystone? The oil will be produced and the oil will be burned. If it goes to China, the Pacific pipeline will carry the same environmental risks as a U.S. pipeline.
And Alberta oil can still go to the United States, if not by pipeline then by rail, which requires no State Department approval. That would result in far more greenhouse gas emissions — exactly the opposite of what the environmentalists are seeking.
Moreover, rail can be exceedingly dangerous. Last year a tanker train derailed and exploded en route through Quebec. The fireball destroyed half of downtown Lac-Megantic​, killing 47, many incinerated beyond recognition.
This isn’t theoretical environmentalism. This is not a decrease in the snail darter population. This is 47 dead human beings. More recently, we’ve had two rail-oil accidents within the United States, one near Philadelphia and one in North Dakota.
Add to this the slam-dunk strategic case for Keystone: Canadian oil reduces our dependence on the volatile Middle East, shifting petroleum power from OPEC and the killing zones of the Middle East to North America. What more reliable source of oil could we possibly have than Canada?
Keystone has left Canada very upset, though characteristically relatively quiet. Canadians may have succeeded in sublimating every ounce of normal human hostility and unpleasantness by way of hockey fights, but that doesn’t mean we should take advantage of their good manners.
The only rationale for denying the pipeline is political — to appease Obama’s more extreme environmentalists. For a president who claims not to be ideological, the irony is striking: Here is an easily available piece of infrastructure — privately built, costing government not a penny, creating thousands of jobs and, yes, shovel-ready — and yet the president, who’s been incessantly pushing new “infrastructure” as a fundamental economic necessity, can’t say yes.
Well then, Mr. President, say something. You owe Canada at least that. Up or down. Five years is long enough.
Read more from Charles Krauthammer’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.
Read more on this topic:
Tim Kaine: Obama should block the Keystone pipeline
Michael Levi: Five myths about the Keystone XL pipeline
The Post’s View: Keystone XL is coming back
The Post’s View: A better case for Keystone XL
Reprints
Top Opinions Stories
Most Popular Videos
The Post Most: Opinions
2
Apologize, then blame someone else
3
Stop jerking Canada around
4
Five myths about Chris Christie
Connect with PostOpinions
Facebook: Become a fan of Washington Post Opinions
Voice Your Opinions
Contact the reader representative
Have questions about Post content or practices?
Send a letter to the editor
Write a response to a piece in The Post.
Submit an op-ed
Make an argument about a topic in the news.
Today’s Opinions poll
Who do you think is the current front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016?
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
Submit
See Results | Disclaimer
Join a Discussion
Earlier Today
SUBSCRIBE
PostTV
Politics
Opinions
Local
Sports
National
World
Business
Tech
Lifestyle
Entertainment
Jobs
More ways to get us
Newsletter & Alerts
Washington Post Live
Reprints & Permissions
Post Store
e-Replica
Archive
Twitter
Contact Us
Help & Contact Info
Reader Representative
Digital Advertising
Newspaper Advertising
News Service & Syndicate
About Us
In the community
Careers
PostPoints
Newspaper in Education
Digital Publishing Guidelines
Partners
washingtonpost.com
© 1996- The Washington Post
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
Submissions and Discussion Policy
RSS Terms of Service
Ad Choices
<img src="https://web.archive.org/web/20140125034602im_/http://b.scorecardresearch.com/p?c1=2&amp;c2=3005617&amp;cv=2.0&amp;cj=1"/>
Real EstateRentalsCarsToday's PaperGoing Out GuideFind&SaveHome Services
HomePostTVIn PostTVPoliticsIn PoliticsCongressCourts & LawThe Fed PageHealth CarePollingWhite HouseGovBeatMd. PoliticsVa. PoliticsD.C. PoliticsBlogs & Columnsjaime_fullerRNC chairman calls for official to step down over anti-Muslim, anti-gay postsPost Politicschris_cillizzaWhy New Hampshire rocks, in 12 stepsThe Fix Chris Cillizzachristopher_federico‘Hand of Law’: The week in one songThe Monkey Cage Christopher Federicoreid_wilsonCities jockey for Republican conventionGovBeat Reid Wilsonjosh_hicksIs the National Weather Service sitting on a surplus during hiring freeze?The Federal Eye Josh HicksOpinionsIn OpinionsToles Cartoons Telnaes AnimationsThe Post's ViewLetters to the EditorLocal OpinionsColumnist IndexFeatured Blogsalexandra_petri‘Lean In,’ by Sheryl Sandberg, to become a movieComPost Alexandra Petrigreg_sargentHappy Hour RoundupThe Plum Line Greg Sargentrobert_j_samuelsonThe mobility muddlePostPartisan Robert J. Samuelsonjennifer_rubin ECI vs. DNC chairwomanRight Turn Jennifer RubinLocalIn LocalD.C. Maryland Virginia Crime Education Obituaries Transportation Weather Blogs & Columns Blogs & Columnsjason_samenowStill cold Saturday with snow shower risk; cold Sunday tooCapital Weather Gang Jason Samenowlavanya_ramanathanPhotos: East Side King pop-up at Toki UndergroundGoing Out Guide Lavanya Ramanathandana_hedgpethTwo lanes of Interstate 95 south in Dumfries shut down after fatal accidentDr. Gridlock Dana HedgpethSportsIn Sports Redskins/NFL Capitals/NHL Wizards/NBA Nationals/MLB D.C. United/Soccer Colleges AllMetSports Blogs & Columns Other SportsBlogs & Columnskatie_carreraOpen thread: Caps at DevilsCapitals Insider Katie Carrerasarah_kogodNats’ Williams talks Strasburg, HarperDC Sports Bog Sarah Kogodkeith_mcmillanWas Garcon a Pro Bowl snub?The Insider Keith McMillanjames_wagnerJulie Alexandria not returning to MASNNationals Journal James WagnerNationalIn NationalEnergy & EnvironmentHealth & Science Education National Security InvestigationsInnovations Know MoreReligion On Giving CorrectionsBlogs & Columnsmatt_mcfarlandHow Twitter accounts are the new food truckInnovationsnia_malika_hendersonBehind the scenes in SOTU prep: Women in powerShe The People Nia-Malika Hendersoneugene_volokhDoes your wife co-own your sperm? Does your husband co-own your eggs?Volokh Conspiracy Eugene VolokhWorldIn WorldAfrica The AmericasAsia & Pacific Europe Middle East National Security War Zones Special Reports Columns & BlogsBlogs & Columnsmax_fisherThe one map to understand Ukraine’s crisisWorldViews Max Fishermax_fisher23 photos of a single day in KievWorldViews Max Fishermax_fisherTerrorism analysts see al-Qaeda links in Bieber rampageWorldViews Max Fishercaitlin_deweyWhy some Ukrainian protesters are wearing kitchen colandersWorldViews Caitlin DeweyBusinessIn Business Economy IndustriesMarketsPolicy & RegulationKnow More World BusinessCapital BusinessOn Leadership On Small Business On I.T. Blogs & Columnsmichelle_singletaryMcDonnell charges can be a lesson to us allThe Color of Money Michelle Singletaryjia_lynn_yangThere’s a war over R&D tax credits. And companies keep winningWonkblog Jia Lynn Yangjena_mcgregorIBM’s Ginni Rometty says no to a bonusOn Leadership Jena McGregorTechIn TechnologyInnovation Green Technology The Switch Photo Galleries Blogs & Columnshayley_tsukayamaGmail briefly down for many users Friday afternoon Hayley Tsukayamabrian_fungHere’s what caused that massive Gmail outageThe Switch Brian Fungbrian_fungOnline attack cripples U.S. court systemThe Switch Brian Fungandrea_petersonRevenge-porn kingpin paid bargain basement prices for hacked nudes, court docs allegeThe Switch Andrea PetersonLifestyleIn LifestyleAdvice Carolyn Hax Food Express Home & Garden Style Travel Weddings Wellness Magazine KidsPost On Parenting Blogs & Columnscaitlin_deweyA programmer’s answer to Upworthy-style headlinesThe Style Blog Caitlin Deweyhelena_andrewsLocal singer Maysa makes it all the way to the GrammysThe Reliable Source Helena AndrewsEntertainmentIn EntertainmentBooksComics Going Out GuideHoroscopes MoviesMuseums Music Puzzles & Games Theater & DanceTV Blogs & Columnsmichael_cavnaMLK DAY: Check out these books on Dr. King, civil rightsComic Riffs Michael Cavnalavanya_ramanathanPhotos: East Side King pop-up at Toki UndergroundGoing Out Guide Lavanya RamanathanJobsIn JobsMoreClassifiedsCarsDealsReal EstateRentalsPhotosBlogsDiscussionsFind&SaveObituariesArchivesTopicsWP Wine ClubWP BrandConnect
Mike HuckabeeState of the UnionBob McDonnellUkraine
Congress quietly cuts aid for AfghanistanNuns exempt from birth-control rule for nowPHOTOS | Best news photos of the weekPHOTOS | Key moments in Apple’s history