I delivered the opening speech at the Summit on Canada's Global Leadership in Ottawa on November 27, 2019. The event brought together several hundred Canadian development practitioners along with academics and experts in other areas of foreign policy.
Canada faces extraordinary international challenges, I argued, due to tectonic changes in international affairs that are not going away. Although Canadians have often viewed foreign policy as something of an afterthought, we can no longer afford to do so. The stakes are too high.
With four years of experience under their belts – some of it bitter – the Liberals confront a world more hostile to Canadian interests than at any time since most people were born
“We are living through a period of historic transformation in international affairs," said Roland Paris, who teaches international relations at the University of Ottawa and served as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first foreign policy adviser.
“Canada’s interests are exposed to actual and potential harm probably more than at any time since the Second World War," he said.
Foreign policy in the immediate future must focus primarily on containing threats from friends, as well as foes.
First and foremost, that means surviving Donald Trump’s disruptive presidency, which has undermined the foundations of the postwar world order. With the Republican Party now at least as protectionis...
French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that NATO faces “brain death” because the United States can no longer be counted on to co-operate with the other members of the military and political alliance....
Roland Paris, a professor of international affairs at the University of Ottawa and former foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trudeau, said Mr. Macron is right about the need for Europeans to work together more effectively, but said calling NATO’s Article Five into question is a “dangerous and irresponsible way to do so.”
Foreign policy has rarely figured prominently in Canadian elections. With few direct threats to our security, privileged access to the world’s largest and richest market confirming and international rules and institutions that sustained a relatively open and stable world order, Canadian voters have understandably tended to treat foreign affairs as an afterthought.
Today these conditions are decaying, leaving Canada more exposed than ever. A crucial question confronts our political leaders: How will Canada respond to these tectonic shifts in international affairs?
Five specific challenges, all touching on Canada’s core interests, warrant particular attention.
First, how will Canada manage its relations with the United States in the coming years? No one should assume that U.S. President Donald Trump is an aberration. He will eventually leave office, but Trumpism may remain a powerful force in U.S. politics for some time, just as Jacksonian populism outlasted the presidential term of i...