Monday, 23 April 2012


 My son-in-law doesn’t like eagles. Growing up he was all too familiar with their attacks on the heron rookery across the road from the family home. 

The same thing happened in Beacon Hill Park in Victoria. Multiple vicious attacks by groups of eagles decimated the local heron population and caused those that survived to leave. It turns out that the cause of the eagle attacks was the death of the local dominant male eagle. When he lived in the park he defended his territory from other eagles and wouldn’t allow them to hunt in his territory. His death allowed packs of eagles free run of the park, and the heron rookery.

The good news is that the herons are back this year. A dozen or more mating pairs have returned and are raising chicks in their noisy, messy style. A new dominant male eagle has been seen nesting with the resident female. This means the herons are secure from multiple predators and because of this they have returned to the park.

 I know the metaphor is laboured, but it reminds me of the Pax Americana we’ve all been living in. My son-in-law also has no great love for American foreign policy, or domestic policy for that matter. Those are common opinions, but I wonder how it’s going to be for all of us when the U.S. is no longer the dominant global power. 

 The world in general, and Canada in particular, benefited greatly from the surprisingly graceful transition from Great Britain to the U.S. as the world’s leading power. I can’t see any other country on the horizon in a position to give us such a “soft landing” if and when the U.S. is no longer in a position to influence global events. Like the herons, we may be in for more difficult times in the absence of the not always appreciated American Age.