CANADA AS A PRINCIPAL POWER: A STUDY OF FOREIGN POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
David B. Dewitt and John J. Kirton.
Volume 11 Number 5.
As a result of four years of research, Dewitt and Kirton, members of the political science departments of the Universities of Alberta and Toronto respectively, have produced a detailed study of Canadian post-war foreign policy. Starting from the premise that the two dominant views, "liberal-internationalist" and "peripheral-dependence," are inadequate to explain "changes. . .in the international system since the late 1960s and the new trends that have emerged in Canadian foreign policy as a result," the authors develop a third perspective. The "complex neo-realist" theory assumes the United States' decline, the diffusion of power, and Canada as a principal power whose foreign policy aims to promote her own interests and values and create a "world order directly supportive of Canadian purposes."
The three "theoretical perspectives" are reviewed and tested against evidence of general trends in declarations and decisions since 1945. The authors address questions relating to "international presence," "international behaviour," and "determinants." The second half of the book examines Canadian foreign policy in detailed case studies of immigration, energy, space, and the Middle East.
The authors conclude that domination of liberal-international elements has given way, in the Trudeau era, to a neo-realist approach. In this changed attitude, and especially in the altered international climate since 1968, they find an opportunity for Canada to be "a principal power." (The impact of Ronald Reagan's policies is too recent to have received full consideration).
Theoretical concepts and argumentation used demand considerable background and interest in political science and international relations. Some conclusions argued from the evidence will be open to debate. For the non-specialist and particularly the senior secondary school student, the specific case studies could be useful surveys of events and decisions. Extensive endnotes (there is no bibliography) cite a wide variety of sources and a detailed index gives access to specific events and personalities. Graphs and tables (most with data to 1979) are footnoted within the text.
Louise Dick, Branksorfye Hall School, Toronto, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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