Alongside our allegedly land-hungry and bellicose empire, the Maple Leaf Republic has flourished for more than two centuries --- vast, under-populated, resource rich and virtually defenseless. Unlike our Mexican neighbors to the south, the Canadians presented no substantial cultural or linguistic differences to sour the prospect of swallowing the Great White North. On three different occasions, Americans attempted or considered a push to absorb all or part of Canada: in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and during the complicated Venezuela Boundary Crisis with Great Britain in 1895. Nevertheless, the Yankee imperialists stopped well short of conquest and in the 21st Century era of unchallenged US hegemony, Canada has gone its own quirky way more notably than ever before, reveling in its separate destiny and distinctive institutions.The history of U.S. respect for Canada’s continued sovereignty hardly comports with the prevailing anti-American clichés that suggest Americans long to impose on all the world the same “genocidal” approach we deployed against the Indians.
In one altogether typical fulmination, the British playwright Harold Pinter (author of joyless, often inscrutable dramas and screenplays of singular pomposity) used the occasion of his Nobel Prize for Literature to denounce the United States and all its works. In his “Pearl Harbor Day” Nobel Lecture of December 7, 2005, Pinter launched his own sneak attack on his American cousins. “The crimes of the United States,” he declared, “have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis. I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman, it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love.”