Smith: How has Canada’s experience in Afghanistan changed Canadian foreign policy?

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27 June, 2011
By: Gordon Smith
Executive Director of the Centre for Global Studies and CIGI Distinguished Fellow

Canada’s military engagement in Afghanistan certainly changed a long held perception of Canada throughout the world. It contradicted any idea that Canada would only undertake blue helmet operations. Afghanistan, and now Libya, have shown Canada in a different light, ready to fight and to lose lives of soldiers. Does this stem from a different concept of the national interest held by the Conservative Government? Does Prime Minister Harper have a different strategic view of the world and of risks of importance to Canada? I would argue neither, instead that the readiness to engage militarily stemmed more from wanting to be perceived as a robust ally, above all by the United States but also by Britain and France.

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