Trudeau’s foreign policy must focus on containing threats from friends, foes

November 14, 2019

Quoted in: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-future-foreign-policy-must-focus-on-containing-threats-from-friends/

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 protectionist as the Democrats, Job 1 is to keep the border open, which starts with securing U.S. ratification of the revised North American Free Trade Agreement that the United States, Canada and Mexico signed in 2018.

The second challenge is to manage relations with an increasingly aggressive China under the leadership of Xi Jinping. That means working with the U.S. and Chinese governments to resolve the extradition case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and secure the release of the two Canadians detained by China in retaliation. The Meng case is the single-most important file on the Foreign Affairs Minister’s desk.

The third challenge is to navigate relations with Europe, as Britons vote in an election that could finally lead to Brexit. Populist, nativist, far-right parties are on the rise across Europe; the Spanish version, Vox, took 15 per cent of the popular vote in Sunday’s national election.While continuing to work with the European Union, the Trudeau government will also have to look for leaders at the national level who will support an open, rules-based system of global trade and governance.

“We need to be ready to be operating in a more unruly world, and I mean unruly in its literal sense,” Prof. Paris said. ....

 

 

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Roland Paris
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

University of Ottawa

120 University Private, Room 6053

Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y 3M5, Canada

rparis@uottawa.ca

+1 (613) 562-5800 x4047
@rolandparis

© Roland Paris 2019