Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano is determined to beef up security along the rough and tumble Canadian border. That's right, Canada.
In a dramatic break with the Bush administration, Napolitano is offering a novel rationale for stepped up vigilance on the Canadian border. A rationale that her boss, the President, must beamingly approve of as "real change."
The former Arizona governor, in a spasm of liberal-ese, said:
"One of the things that I think we need to be sensitive to is the very real feeling among southern border states and in Mexico that if things are being done on the Mexican border, they should also be done on the Canadian border." [Italics added]
The nation's top security official is saying that plowing tax dollars into more security along the Canadian border has nothing to do with current or imminent or potential threats to the American homeland, but to fairness. Fairness out of concern for feelings.
Fairness is, of course, a very important tenet of liberalism. And feelings, not reason, are often the trigger for policy.
After all, how can President Obama look Mexican President Felipe De Jesus Calderon Hinojosa in the eye and say that the United States will need to do more along its southern border if he can't say the same thing to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper? It just wouldn't be fair. And it would hurt Calderon's feelings.
But Napolitano wasn't finished. In a play on Hillary Clinton's "It Takes a Village" theme, she let the cat out of the bag that the United States, Mexico and Canada actually share "one continent." Imagine that.
Since the three nations share one, big happy (or not so happy) continent, then it stands to reason that border security should be even-steven, north and south. Or in the Secretary's words: "...we shouldn't go light on one and heavy on the other."
And in an impressive non sequitur, Napolitano concluded that due to the three nations being parties to NAFTA, "there should be some parity there."
The only thing the Secretary didn't urge is that Mexico and Canada boost their border security with the United States. Doing so, of course, would nicely satisfy liberal fuzziheadedness and soothe their pain about having to ramp up American security. Let's hope that Napolitano rectifies her oversight soon.
Some wags may charge that Napolitano is a lightweight among -- largely -- lightweights in the Obama cabinet. But the important distinction is that she is a lightweight with a critical portfolio. The Department of Homeland Security isn't supposed to be a proving ground for touchy-feely policies. Some may be very sorry that Mexico's feelings will be hurt by tougher security measures along its border, but those measures are dictated by necessity.
The dangers to America's national security on its southern border are disproportionately greater than anything presented along the Canadian border.
The war among Mexico's drug cartels, now embroiling the national government, is responsible for over ten thousand deaths in the past few years. That's over twice the total number of American deaths in Iraq since 2003. Drug cartel violence has spilled over into major American metropolises like Phoenix and Atlanta. Border towns from Calexico to Brownsville routinely grapple with violent crime exported from Mexico. Coyotes -- the handlers and transporters of many illegals -- all too frequently murder, rape, rob and extort their clients. America's southern border is undermanned and thinly patrolled. President Obama isn't even paying lip service to building The Fence. In fact, his budget proposal eliminates funding to complete it. The porous southern border isn't merely an entry way for hardscrabble Mexicans looking for a better life in the good old U.S. of A. Plenty of criminals enter unchecked as well; and, very possibly, sleeper cell terrorists.
The nation's southern border makes the old Wild West look tame. At least the old west had the Earps and the cavalry.
By comparison, the Canadian border is a Quaker community writ large. Unlike Third World Mexico, Canada is a stable and prosperous neighbor. Canadians aren't clamoring to invade the United States, unless annual trips by snowbirds to Florida and Arizona count.
The nearly four thousand mile long border shared by the United States and Canada has been open virtually since the end of the War of 1812. Thousands of Canadians and Americans transit the border daily, for work and play. Incidents are relatively few.
And in what should warm the heart of Secretary Napolitano, Canada is America's largest trading partner. The two nations' economies are enmeshed and complimentary in ways that far outpace anything that exists between Mexico and America.
That's not to say that the United States should not be concerned about security along a border that ranges from the Atlantic across the vast, sparsely populated prairies of western Canada to the Pacific. But both countries already cooperate closely. In fact, Canadians are rightly vexed by Napolitano's highhandedness.
If need be, America and Canada can and should ratchet up their cooperation. Canada is a true partner, and should be treated accordingly. America's homeland security is of vital importance to Canada, and Canadians know it. Enlisting a further measure of their cooperation is no stretch.
One suspects that underneath Napolitano's harebrained pronouncement and kindergarten teacher fixation for fair play lays a grittier political calculation. Hispanics are a large and growing voter bloc in these United States. The Democrats want to own Hispanic votes in the same way they own African American votes. Napolitano's fair play drivel may well be designed to curry favor with Hispanic Americans who chafe at a U.S. crackdown on the Mexican border.
A good bet is that our Canadian friends are merely foils for Obama and Democrats whose first priority is party building. Entrenching a Democratic majority is higher on their list than stopping the flow of illegals and crime from Mexico.
But Canadians should take note. With all the borrowing and spending that Washington is doing, with debt and deficits a mile high and climbing, with bailouts galore, the Obama administration's credit cards are maxing out. Bulked up security along the Canadian border may, for the most part, wind up as all talk.
But for the smooth Barack Obama, talk is a credit line without limit. Americans would be wise to take note, too.