Saturday, February 16, 2008

February 2008 Book Club Selection: Dream Land, Roy Rempel

Roy Rempel reflects on previous governments' foreign non-policy

With the Manley report reenergizing debate over Canada's foreign policy (particular as it regards the war in Afghanistan), the time for another book club selection dealing with foreign policy seems to be ripe.

In Dreamland, Roy Rempel dismantles the foreign policy of previous Liberal and Progressive Conservative governments, noting how realism has consistently taken a back seat to ideology. In particular, a public addiction to the concept of Pearsonian peacekeeping has led to a military under equipped for key missions when they arise.

Rempels work comes directly out of the national interest (realist) perspective on foreign policy, and his book reflects that.

He essentially argues that Canada's inability to pursue its interests abroad has not only undermined Canadian credibility in the international community, but also Canadian sovereignty as a whole.

While Rempel's analysis could be seen to recommend an over-emphasis on developing our relationship with the United States -- this is important, but other writers would remind us that other global actors are important, too -- Rempel is right where it really matters: Canadian needs to be more active in pursuing its interests in the international community.

The "bulked-up capabilities" as recommended by Michael Ignatieff are a key part of that -- Rempel reminds us why.

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