Listen Now

Kinsman: What should Canada’s top foreign policy priority be in 2013?

By: /
7 January, 2013
Jeremy Kinsman
By: Jeremy Kinsman
CIC Distinguished Fellow

Fast-breaking trivial info item: Canada’s Foreign Service Officers are to receive martial arts training for self-defence on their postings. The bad news here; it gets sillier and sillier. Maybe the good news is that they’re beginning to grasp that Canada’s self-righteous “me first” new brand isn’t playing so well out there. Priorities? To strategize is to choose. But choices are seldom “either/or.” You can do different things simultaneously without self-contradiction. Values and interests aren’t opposites. Pursuing national self-interest and being a protagonist in building a more functional liberal (sorry for that word) world order can be mutually reinforcing. The world community lacks countries able to lead with credibility to galvanize reformed global governance for the world’s economic and security challenges, environmental stewardship, and human rights. The U.S. is pulling back. Other democracies are handicapped and inward, reduced too often to free-riding. But there’s pay-off for us if we deliver leadership which supports their international agendas. That’s how you get influence in Washington, not from whining about being ignored. What’s the Canadian strategic framework? Consult the essay by David Deudrey and John Ikenberry on Democratic Internationalism <> – “An American Grand Strategy for a Post-Exceptionalist Era.” Simultaneously, Canada should be pushing for a Trans-Atlantic NAFTA/EU Free Trade area. That’s the Big Game, creating the biggest (and democratic) home base anywhere. It will come. But we do better if we are a first mover to make it happen.

Before you click away, we’d like to ask you for a favour … 


Open Canada is published by the Canadian International Council, but that’s only the beginning of what the CIC does. Through its research and live events hosted by its 18 branches across the country, the CIC is dedicated to engaging Canadians from all walks of life in an ongoing conversation about Canada’s place in the world.

By becoming a member, you’ll be joining a community of Canadians who seek to shape Canada’s role in the world, and you’ll help Open Canada continue to publish thoughtful and provocative reporting and analysis.

Join us