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POL312Y1 Lecture Notes - Liberal Internationalism, Multilateralism, Middle Power

Political Science
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Sept 27 2012
POL 312Y1 Canadian Foreign Policy
Prof. Greaves
Page 1
POL 312Y1 Canadian Foreign Policy
Lecture 3 Thursday, Sept 27, 2012
- Prof usually doesn’t post anything on blackboard but today it will be.
- This class is an essential class in order to understand quiz and the
1. What is theory?
2. Theories of Canadian Foreign Policy
3. National Interest
What is theory?
- Explained facts
o Social science is always all about observing facts and making theories
about them. If apples fall from trees, we see one can observe it. For
that we need a rational explanation. The knowledge itself changes
over time as we observe new things. Observations can change or
- World views
o It brings particular sets of issues.
o Theories act as sort mechanism sort things and exclude other facts.
We have theories that have basic proposition that only particular
variables can be included, and other variables get excluded. In that
sense the theory shapes the social world we are engaged in with.
o When applied to social life, it suggests the theory we have actually
have influence on shaping social world.
- Themselves socially constructed and help construct social world
o There is a philosopher named John Burton he talks about theory as
problem solving. He says theory is a tool we use to solve problems
because without theories we don’t even know where to start
analyzing social problems.
o Whenever we engage in problem solving, all research and inquiry is
always theoretically informed, and there is theory behind everything,
whether or not if that person notices it.
o It is important because theory doesn’t bubble up from ground, but
they come from people. Theories are thus imperfect and might be
- Robert Cox a prof at York. He made contributions about talking about social
theories. He said that theory is always for someone and for some purpose
very famous quote in international relations. Theories are inherently biased
it is not a bad thing. It means that we have tendency to think theories to be
Sept 27 2012
POL 312Y1 Canadian Foreign Policy
Prof. Greaves
Page 2
objective but it is misleading. He makes distinction between 2 types of
o Problem solving theory
Majority of theories and mainstream.
Problem is given but theory does not extend beyond that.
o Critical theory
Does not take for granted the conditions under which the
problems come to exist. As such, unlike problem solving
theory, it doesn’t seek change the structural condition that
cause problem in the first place. It is more ambitious and
challenging. It seeks to change them.
Theories of Canadian foreign policy
- The chart is going to be the template for understanding CFP for the use in
your assignment and quiz.
- These 3 theories suggest prescriptive of what Canada should be.
LI - liberal internationalism
Has been dominant in
understanding CFP
PD - preferral
dependence -->
about who we
are as
CNR complex
neorealism newest
approach to CFP
Views Canada as middle
power. What we are in the
middle power is ambiguous.
This is still the age of empire,
meaning we were not a
colony anymore. Canada, to a
certain extent, this middle
power understanding came
to refer to the mediatory
roles between the 2 super
powers in the cold war. This
middle power in LI tradition
is what Canada tried to
bridge the gap to avoid
direct super power. Canada
is in the middle to resolve
Views Canada
as penetrated
power. Canada
is not that
questions have
changed over
time. Canada is
upon US.
Canada is tied
to US. What we
do is influenced
and filtered
through what
we think US
wants us. We
are not likely to
do something
that contrasts
Principal power it is
not great power. It is
about global
important stature
within the global
system. CNR is based
on these 2 central
premises. Canada
increased it and
considered one of the
most important ones.
1) Canada increased
its importance, and 2)
it is not only by the
virtue of its
capabilities but
relative decline of US
hegemony is what
increased Canada’s
significance in 70’s –
Sept 27 2012
POL 312Y1 Canadian Foreign Policy
Prof. Greaves
Page 3
structural changes in
the international
system that allowed
Canada. It is not just
about us but it is
about us AND others.
Extent to which these
theories perceive Canada
and able to act
independently in the conduct
of its foreign policy. Refers to
external state based
constraints. We are
moderate to them. We can
participate a little bit. We are
responsive to demands and
requests from major allies.
Canada has a high
level of autonomy if
it is good for Canada
we will do it, if not we
What the state values above
all, what it pursues and what
it should pursue.
Multilateralism interest in
cooperation with other
states, in particular, middle
Common values the
visions of what the global
politics should be.
The core
interest of CFP
is to maintain a
with US. The
more influence
we have on
world, the
more we have
on US.
Global interest we
are pursuing our
interest around the
world in bilateral
We are concerned
with ourselves.
We are interest-
based, we do only
things that makes us
happy, not the US
Multilateral institutions &
rules based
of US when
US come to us
we are highly
responsive and
we support US.
US is
hegemony. We
want the world
order. It is
Principal power of
Pluralaterilsm it is
not multilateralism
because not everyone
can join. It is by
invitation only.
Moderate amount of
interest Canada doesn’t
Low we have
low interaction.
Canada has a
significant influence.