What do Americans think of Canadians?
It was ice cold and foggy gray when Barack Obama recently traveled to Ottawa to make the American-Canadian relationship a little sunnier. When he met with the Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who, in contrast to the vast majority of his people, thought George W. Bush was a good guy, he succeeded only moderately. Instead, he shone in symbolism afterwards when he bought two cookies in the shape of maple leaves at a market stall.
For many Canadians, the mild Obama is the good American, which of course does not mean that the little neighbor has stopped rubbing against the sometimes rough superpower next door. Canada demonstratively boasts of its greater liberality and superior health and, currently quite helpful, banking system.
The US anthem is often whistled down at ice hockey games, and the government spokeswoman, who once had to resign for publicly calling Bush a "fool", could not complain about a lack of popular support.
In return, the Americans are mostly indifferent to the Canadians; many even consider the country their 51st state. What ignorance can do, the host of the incredibly rowdy comedy show "Red Eye" has now demonstrated on the right-wing news channel Fox News.
Greg Gutfeld took a statement by the Canadian army chief about the overloading of his troops as an opportunity to imagine how Canadian soldiers "do yoga, paint landscapes and walk around the beach in beautiful white Capri pants" - while the Americans were doing the dirty work in Afghanistan. Then Gutfeld asked: "Isn't this the perfect opportunity to invade this ridiculous country? They don't have an army!" A co-moderator seconded that Canada is the place "where you go if you don't want to fight".
Canada, which sees itself in foreign policy as a selfless servant of an international peace order, currently has 2,500 soldiers in Afghanistan, most of them in the south, where it is most dangerous. More than eighty have died since the start of the mission in 2002 - proportionally that is the highest loss rate of all NATO partners. Only on Tuesday, the bodies of four dead were brought back home, which fueled the outrage over the Fox show.
The "scandal" made newspaper headlines, and a "Red Eye" comedian was unloaded from a stage in Edmonton. Defense Secretary Peter McKay spoke of "disgusting" jokes and asked for an apology. Gutfeld finally delivered this in the form of a written statement.
He could not smooth the waves with it. The "MySpace" group "Greg Gutfeld can rot in hell" is still very popular.
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