At the Canadian-American conference in Washington a year ago, former ambassadors from each side considered the prospect of better trade relations.
The name of Peter Navarro, who is Donald Trump’s trade advisor, appeared. That will help a lot, said Gordon Giffin, who served as the Ottawa ambassador under Bill Clinton, if Mr. Navarro “was sent to Peru.”
“Not very far,” interrupted the envoy Gary Doer, U.S. under Stephen Harper. Him and Mr. Giffin and other diplomats saw too much of Mr Navarro’s approach of throwing bombs, antediluvian to trade with allies.
This temperamental and temperamental 70-year-old economist is characterized by Canadian players on the bilateral front as a very protectionist job. But instead their wishes were realized seeing him banished, Mr. Navarro has gained status and influence.
Along with his main trade responsibilities, he is the driving force behind Trump’s First American policy, and he was recently appointed as policy coordinator for the Defense Production Act. When Mr. Trump reopens his country, which is likely to be faster than Justin Trudeau, protectionist Navarro will have his ears at a time when an interdependent world economy is unable to go towards your beggars.
With the re-opening of the Canada-US border, former ambassador David MacNaughton, who was at odds with Mr. Navarro through most of his term, said there was an opportunity to build a new NAFTA. “WE, protectionism vis-à-vis Canada will be a mistake for them. Not that they won’t do it.”
Not with Navarro who is fierce in general. His reputation as a public enemy No. 1 Canadian on the Trump team is well-earned. His last hostile act was to use his new defense authority to try to prevent 3M from exporting protective masks to Canada for his fight against COVID-19. The problem was resolved Monday after a bitter complaint from the Canadian side.
But there will be another eruption. Mr Navarro recently drafted an executive order which unpleasantly allowed him to use national security reasons to limit imports of foreign drugs, raw materials and vaccines.
This reminds me of the move that made Ottawa angry several years ago when he used the same security reasons to justify Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs by Canada. This after he sided with Trump in advocating a total withdrawal by the US from NAFTA. Like this President, he doesn’t really care about his special historic relationship with Canada.
It’s been a Chinese eagle, Mr. Navarro is now involved in the coronavirus controversy. The New York Times reported Tuesday that he was be warned Trump in a memorandum on January 29 that COVID-19 can destroy the country. In response, Mr. Trump limited travel from China two days later. But he later played down the threat of the virus and said recently that no one could estimate its adverse effects. No one except, apparently, his best friend Navarro.
In expanding their territory to COVID-19, Bpk. Navarro got into a fight with Dr. Anthony Fauci, insisted to the President’s expert on infectious diseases that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine is a good way to treat coronavirus. He was strongly criticized in the media for trying to appear as a medical expert.
Mr. The same Navarro was behind the planned deployment of troops near the Canadian border, an idea which has since been discarded. He was the one who followed Fox News after the 2018 G7 Summit in Quebec to say about Justin Trudeau that “there is a special place in hell for any foreign leader involved in diplomacy in bad faith with President Donald J. Trump.”
I met Mr. Navarro was far away when we were at the Kennedy School at Harvard. He was an angry person at that time. He is grumpy now. But like Stephen Miller, an immigration adviser who provokes races, he wins Mr. Trump by kneeling at every word.
His demands for steel and aluminum tariffs led to the resignation of moderate Gary Cohn, Trump’s main economic adviser, who worked well with Canada. In Bob Woodward’s book Afraid, Mr. Cohn described Mr. Navarro as an evil actor, said “He is the source of all the chaos in this building.”
Not all, maybe. But with Canada and other allies, it has been disastrous. Having not been exiled to Peru or further destinations, as the former ambassador had hoped, the same can now be anticipated.
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