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Media Bites: Harper Ended His Relationship With Iran, and Yes, It's Complicated

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Longtime readers (i.e., those who've been with us since last Thursday) may recall that a couple weeks ago the writhing mass of Canadian punditocracy slithered its way into the Tampa Bay Republican National Convention, supposedly because this nation really needed to hear what Tim Harper thought of Mitt Romney after seeing his beautifully chiseled jaw in person (answer: still against), but probably because it's hard to say no to a free Florida vacay.

Well, this week the Democrats had a convention of their own in the considerably less glamorous locale of Charlotte, North Carolina (motto: "No, that's in Georgia") and to their credit, most Canuck journos were willing to make the two state hop and give the Dems a turn under the microscope. For Americans who love seeing their presidential elections analyzed from the exotic perspective of foreign nationals whose cultural norms and ideological traditions are virtually indistinguishable from their own, this is exciting stuff! For Canadians with CNN -- maybe not so much.

Fresh from his insightful work in Tampa, where he boldly concluded that the 2012 race was a competitive political contest which someone might win, the National Post's Andrew Coyne is pleased to discover in Charolette that there "are fundamental differences between the two parties" as well. When it comes to their positions on "taxes, on spending, on health care, on abortion and gay marriage and a half a dozen other issues," he observes, Republicans and Democrats disagree. It's not like Communist Albania at all!

In fairness to Andy, he does also offer a nitty-gritty analysis of the President's September 6 acceptance speech (it "made no specific policy proposals of any kind") and partisan platform ("designed not to sway the uncommitted"), which is certainly more than we can say of the Toronto Star editorial board, whose blandly generic endorsement of Barry O. exists for no readily-apparent reason. "Obama's former trademark theme of hope lives on," they say. He "is a leader worthy of America's aspirations." So be sure and vote for him this November, Torontonians!

Starite Haroon Siddiqui thinks he's a "good president" as well, though I will note that at least half of his Saturday piece proceeds to eviscerate Mr. Obama for his various crimes against liberalism, including being "shamefully silent on gun control" and displaying an only "tepid" interest in regulating Wall Street. I'll still take the Democrats over the angrily "ideological" GOP any day, though, he says.

Totally, agrees Andrew Cohen at the Ottawa Citizen (a man not to be confused with the aforementioned Andrew Coyne, though his Citizen mugshot does little to disprove the theories that the two are evil twins from alternate dimensions). While the Democrats are not perfect, they are "more proudly, unabashedly and undeniably liberal" than they've been in decades. This is why they're a party with a future, unlike the Republicans who have "shifted so far to the right" folks are fleeing in terror. Because remember: conservatism is like obesity while liberalism is like weight loss: too much of the former is gross and dangerous, while there are absolutely no negative consequences of going too far with the other.

Not all Canajuns are on the hopey-changey train, of course. Everyone's favourite Globe columnist Margaret Wente thinks both American parties "are in full flight from reality" since both push an incoherent spend-but-not-tax populist agenda, while over at the Toronto Sun, Simon Kent blasts the prez's "record of underachievement on just about everything." Unemployment's still high, he complains, growth is still stagnant, and America's leadership of the free world "has slowly drifted to a state of isolated indifference."

So in conclusion, the battle for Canada's electoral votes is still too close to call.

* * *

Speaking of isolated indifference, let's talk Canadian foreign policy!

As we know, Friday morning brought news that the Harper administration had officially unrecognized the Islamic Republic of Iran, a cowardly move signaling Canada's further devolution into a fawning puppet-state of the bloodthirsty Zionist regime.

Or at least that seems to the opinion of Toronto Star columnist (and former Al-Jazerra boss) Tony Burman, who wonders aloud in his Friday editorial whether Benjamin Netanyahu is literally directing the "outsourcing of Canada's Middle East policy to Jerusalem". There's "still no evidence that Iran actually wants nuclear weapons," he says, which makes a Bibi-led conspiracy to transform Canada into his private kibbutz the only plausible explanation.

I too am mystified, seconds Doug Sanders at the Globe. The fact that Prime Minister Harper "simply does not like Iran" is no reason to sever diplomatic ties -- "in fact, it would be a very good reason to maintain them" so we can talk the mullahs out of whatever warmongery thing they're currently plotting. Not that Doug's actually convinced they're warmongers in the first place, of course.

You're all idiots, shouts Ezra Levant. "The moment of reckoning is coming" and getting our Canadian diplomats out of Iran "isn't just symbolic, it's to physically protect them" from the war that Ezra (and some dude named "Tzachi") figures is likely to unfold in "the next 50 days."

So rest easy. Or Panic. Harper has either made one of the worst diplomatic blunders of our time or given us a head start in fleeing the terrors of World War III.

It all depends on what source you consider more credible on issues of national security -- Al Jazeera or Sun TV.

Now there's a Sophie's Choice.