Canada as a Selective Power
Canada's Role and International Position after 1989Marcin Gabryś, Tomasz Soroka
The academic study of Canada has traditionally been the realm of Canadian scholars. For this reason it is easy for outsiders to view Canada as a semi-Nordic continental utopia existing peacefully under a benign government that seeks only peace and harmony in the world. The reality is a more complicated story. That is the strength of this outstanding new book written by two young Polish scholars specializing in Canadian affairs. They have put together an impressively researched monograph that combines a detailed analysis outlining a rather basic premise: The world has changed dramatically since 1989 - and Canada has changed with it. In this well argued narrative they argue that in recent years Canada's foreign policy has becomeone primarily based on interests rather than the promotion of "untainted altruism" or stereotypical "Canadian values." They argue that since 1989 Canadian foreign policy has moved from the more modest aims of a "middle-power" to a more self-assertive role of a "selective power" pursuing more narrowly chosen priorities - and often based on "simple profit and loss calculations" that have clashed with Canada's traditional favorable image in the world - even if few outside of Canada seemed to notice. […]
This is an essential read for those wishing a greater understanding of Canada's rich history - or the seismic global changes that have shaken the international system over the past three decades. In doing so they have provided a superbly researched and highly readable work that provides a crucial alternative to the mass media - that too often focus on the personal traits of a specific leader at the expense of the more complicated and nuanced policies that actually determine a foreign policy. This sort of dispassionate analysis is increasingly rare in an age dominated by the emotional arguments expressed in social media and opinion journalism.And these two young Polish authors are to be highly commended for this impressive accomplishment.
Excerpt from the review of Professor Patrick Vaughan