For Iran, the rationale for the long march toward partnership can not be found in strategic alignment or expediency of politics alone, it runs much deeper; for many Iranians, America represents the new world, where individuals thrive on the merit of their skills and character, rather than old world feudal hierarchy.
Trade negotiations are growing in importance as developed and developing countries alike increasingly realize that protectionism is not a path to prosperity. Federalism poses challenges for our trade negotiations that are exacerbated by elections at both levels of government in Canada, and among our trading partners. The electoral clock is also ticking on Japanese Diet elections next summer and on U.S. presidential and congressional elections next fall. If the machinery of trade talks ground to a halt every time an election approached, there would be no trade agreements at all -- which is, perhaps, what some people desire.
As a younger woman, I stood beneath the arch on countless occasions at the height of the Cold War. It was a time when there were far fewer allied nations and as a Canadian teen I knew my closest allies were those I could reach through the arch to connect with. In 1984 the Americans were not just my neighbors, they were my family in every sense of the word. Suddenly, it's 28 years later. You find yourself in 2012 in the midst of the US election and you realize, with shock and awe that the gate is closing - not because of economics or war or terrorist threat or because a guard is standing at the border locking the gate in front of you - but in the name of blind adherence to ideology.
The Soviet Union once sought to intimidate, undermine, influence, subvert, exploit, deceive, penetrate, and dominate every country it had dealings with -- friendly or otherwise. It was paranoid and paralyzed by its dependence on the secret police. But today, the best course of action with Russia is to leave the damn country alone.