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

By: /
27 June, 2011
By: Yuen Pau Woo
President and CEO, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada

Afghanistan has both dominated and distracted Canadian foreign policy in the last decade.  Despite the enormous sacrifice of Canadian soldiers and civilians, our military engagement in Afghanistan has come to an ambiguous conclusion. Canada’s involvement in the war has been good for many people in Afghanistan, but it has not improved Ottawa’s standing in the world.  The reason, in part, is that while NATO was bogged down for nearly ten years in Afghanistan, the rest of the world was focusing on a global power shift to emerging countries. Canada’s preoccupation with Afghanistan left little room for foreign policy development (or spending) on other priorities. In this sense, the question is not whether Afghanistan has changed Canadian foreign policy, but whether Canadian foreign policy will change now that our military engagement in Afghanistan has come to an end.

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