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"Double, double, toil and trouble,” Shakespeare’s three witches chant in the opening of Macbeth. Although Shakespeare didn’t intend his lines to describe modern economics, they seem appropriate.
For the last year, Canadian news reports have included regular updates on trade negotiations between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. Donald Trump repeatedly threatened to cancel the existing North American Free Trade Agreement. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Christia Freeland repeated her mantra – negotiations are proceeding in good faith.
Fires burned. Cauldrons bubbled. Delegations met. Endlessly.
And then, at the last minute, just before a U.S.-imposed deadline – where did NAFTA grant the U.S. the privilege of imposing unilateral deadlines? – someone threw in “eye of newt” and someone else withdrew a “lizard’s leg,” and just like that, we had a new trade and tariff agreement – USMCA, a.k.a. the U.S., Mexico, and Canada Agreement.
Poof! The ugly toad turns into a charming prince.
That was on Monday.
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: NAFTA, pipelines, USMCA, trade, economics, Kinder-Morgan, LNG, Kitimat
A friend required surgery recently for a lump in her breast. She got into the operating room within a week. Someone else got bumped. The surgeon shrugged: “In these circumstances, a facelift doesn’t take priority.”
My friend benefitted from a process called “triage.” Basically, it’s a system for making difficult choices. And it applies to many situations beyond medical. Even to the future of the United Nations.
In its original battlefield context, triage meant dividing injured victims into three groups:
· Those likely to recover, regardless of medical attention
· Those for whom immediate care will make a positive difference
· Those unlikely to live, regardless of what doctors can do; devoting energy to them might mean denying care to someone else who could benefit more.
Tags: Trump, triage, United Nations, NAFTA, eye for an eye