The latest Jennifer Lawrence movie, while fictional, reveals how international intrigue and nationalistic hubris can warp and exacerbate tensions between nations.
In her character, Lawrence, following many twists and turns, is given opportunities to reject her country's (Russia's) totalitarian and downright mean-spirited values--and embrace the freedoms of the West. The viewer is even convinced the latest/last movement toward expat-ism will stick--but it DOESN'T, despite a professed love for her U.S. state department rescuer.
Russia, as countries go, is no angel and in the real world has committed countless atrocities and will no doubt continue to do so. (Poisonings of political outliers is widespread, and recently prominent.) Ultimately President Putin and his minions would love to annex our warm-water shores--and it is not inconceivable that President Trump might even sell him a few sandy beach acres near Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort.
If Red Sparrow is even remotely accurate, Russia treats its citizens like serfs and scoundrels (and children) and as a country is pugilistic much in the vein of a North Korea and an Iran. Alas, the worldwide trend toward globalism/free trade, which is truly the most promising direction inherently antagonistic countries could/should embrace, has lately been Trump-jacked by our leader's ill-thought-out "America First" policies.
For example, former president Obama declared in a state dinner while visiting Canada in 2017 that the U.S. and that country were "like one big town." THAT bit of hyperbole ended up the subtitle of my book, "AmeriCanada? Cross Border Connections," published in early 2018.
But two years later neither country hardly feels a part of either's "one big town."
It's almost hard to imagine at this point but Harper Collins publishers, owned by the Wall Street Journal, actually encouraged this marriage by encouraging dual citizen Diane Francis' "Merger of the Century: How the United States and Canada Could Become One Country." In my book I critique her proposal as unlikely--but suggest a few possible mergers elsewhere. (But realistically few will ever happen unless via military force.)
As it stands now, Canada is at loggerheads with Trump's intention to revise Nafta--or even eliminate it, which is really the only substantive cross-border pact the two countries share. And while the president has backed down on stiff tariffs over aluminum and steel production--which would be devastating to both economies north and south of the 49th parallel--it is only a temporary reprieve.
Picking a fight with Canada (and Mexico), allies on the North American continent, seems uniquely misguided in a world where true enemies abound. (Putin would also no doubt love to get ahold of Canada's Northwest Territories--for oil, transit and military advantage. We should certainly bolster Canada's efforts to hinder him in attempting this.)
In all this Trump seems to be a rather typical American who knows little about Canadian/U.S. history that, granted, has had its high and low moments (the recent high one was when Nova Scotians harbored thousands of Americans during the 9/11 terrorist attack--planes couldn't land stateside). Several mutual invasions have been tendered--and tempered--though the one fanciful one Americans know the most about was depicted in the movie Canadian Bacon, starring Canadian John Candy, in which a war was promulgated by faux proxy Alan Alda for presumably better ratings. It was funny as hell, but an uncomfortable spoof.
But for now, Canadians have good reason to be threatened by the Behemoth to the South. And we'd better patch things up soon and begin to realize who our REAL enemies are--certainly not freedom-loving, civil Canucks or hard-working Mexicans who cross borders not to kill us--but to contribute to killer tossed green salads on our dining tables.
Amazingly, though, a poll revealed that an equal number of Americans would wall off not only Mexicans but Canadians on their/our borders, ensuring that no rifraff gets across. (WHO's the rifraff??)
I don't know if this is naivete or nincompoopism, but it scares the hell out of me.