Is It Time for the Beaver to Hop off the Eagle? A Case for Canada to Reconsider Its Geopolitical Alignment with the United States


Defence Policy


Canada is known for its close relations with the United States in the domains of economic affairs, defence and international diplomacy. This arrangement, however, was a product of the great changes brought about by the Second World War. The combination of British decline, Ottawa’s desire to achieve full independence from London, and the looming Soviet threat during the Cold War created a political environment in which Canada had to become closely integrated with the United States both militarily and economically. Canada did so to ensure its survival in the international system. With the exception of a few controversial issues like US involvement in Vietnam (1955) and Iraq (2003) as well as Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD), Ottawa has been Washington’s closest ally since 1945. On numerous occasions like the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and as recently as the War in Afghanistan and the War Against IS (Islamic State), Canada had provided staunch military and diplomatic support to Washington in its engagements around the globe.

In an era of relative peace, stability, and certainty, particularly during the Post-Cold War period and the height of American power from 1991 to 2008, this geopolitical arrangement of continental integration had greatly benefited Canada. This era of benefits, however, is arguably drawing to a close. The Great Recession of 2007-09, the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the insistence on pursuing a foreign policy of global primacy despite its significant economic cost, are sending the US down an uncertain path. Due to its close relations and geographical proximity with the US, Canada now faces a hostile international environment that is filled with uncertainty as a result of superpower decline, great power rivalries, environmental degradation, and failed US interventions.



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