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Chapter everything after the midterm

POG 411 Chapter Notes - Chapter everything after the midterm: Critical Discourse Analysis, Paul Hellyer, Discourse Analysis

Politics and Public Administration
Course Code
POG 411
everything after the midterm

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Class 8: Canada as a War-Maker
(De)constructing Foreign Policy Narratives: Canada in Afghanistan by Wegner
Discourse analysis as a method for foreign policy studies
o Discourse analysis simply begins with a research topic
o In this chapter, the analysis of narratives in foreign policy discourse can be used
in understanding Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan from 2001-2011
o These explain the country’s foreign policy role and the mechanism for
(re)defining its national identity in the international arena
o Discourse analysis is a tool for understanding international relations that is
growing in importance
o Critical discourse analysis is a tool for examining social practices, and political
orders that are generally accepted as natural
o The (re)telling of these practices, orders, or what are commonly perceived as
truths serves to (re)construct them as as-called common sense
o Discourses are structures that are actualized in their regular use by people in
discursively ordered relationships
o Discourses operate as systems of signification
Things do not mean (the material world does not convey meaning); rather,
people construct the meaning of things, using sign systems (i.e.
o The commonly assumed truths that are taken for granted as the foundation of
foreign policy are actually discursively constructed regimes of truth that contain
powerful political and cultural meanings
o The assumptions present in foreign policy are consciously and subconsciously
(re)created through the stories and narratives told about these events
Discourse analysis and identity (re)construction
o If FP is (re)constructed through multiple social practices and orders, it can be
useful to break the orders into three categories
Representations of the world
Social relations among people
People’s social and personal identities
o FP gives us a place within the world
It determines “us” in the discursive boundary and also in the imagined
caricature or myth of who “we” are or what “we” are like
o Defining the international
The boundaries of a state’s identity are secured by the representation of
danger integral to foreign policy
State boundaries are justified by the threat of what is beyond the borders
The protection of national security interests is a narrative present in
Canada’s foreign policy stories: the Canadian military is necessary to
defend sovereignty because its sovereignty must defend military
Sovereignty vs anarchy
Post-9/11, the stories of Canada as a sovereignty-preserving nation
contribute to the (re)construction of how the international is imagined
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The focus on terrorism as a threat to security abroad and at home
emphasizes the need for militarism in CFP to secure and protect national
Militarism in FP is performed in the name of a social totality that is never
really present, that always contains traces of the outside world within and
that is never more than an effect of the practices which total dangers are
International threat therefore becomes a justification for ascribing
particular roles to the CF (such as the need to fight terrorism)
o Canada’s international identity
Homogenous identity traits ascribed to Canada in FP narratives gloss over
the complexity of the units within the state
Within the discourse of analysis on Afghanistan, the explanations and
identity constructions can be distilled into 3 narratives that defined
Canada’s military role in Afghanistan
Canada fighting terrorism
Canada the humanitarian
Canada the loyal ally
o Canada: A Peacekeeper image
The use of mass media (print, online, radio and TV) are part of
international engagement that is performative in the sense that nationhood
and national identity are created when “we” are separated from “them”
Canada’s international identity has long been characterized by Canadian
military involvement in traditional peacekeeping
The nature of international peacekeeping has long since been the
traditional role of a ceasefire monitor
Post-WWII, peacekeeping was mostly non-combative, using soldiers as
monitors for an already-established peace under the supervision of a UN-
mandated mission
Over the latter decade of the 20th century, peacekeeping was developed
into multi-faceted, complex operations that often occurred in areas where
there was no established peace
The term peacekeeping has been distorted, resulting in a lack of clarity
about what these missions actually encompass
From 2001, a (re)defining of the CF identity took place through narratives
of the role of soldiers presented in the discourse and through questioning
what sorts of policies were being implemented in Afghanistan
The discourse promoted three major narratives that define the soldier and
the nature of the mission
CF are and should be increasingly capable in military proficiency
and are serving their role as terrorist-fighters, front-line combatants
who protect Canadians at home from potential security risks
The CF might not be peacekeeping, but they retain the moral
goodness and objectives of the country’s former peacekeeper role
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through a commitment to a multilateral, neo-liberal, and Afghan-
condoned intervention that serves the Afghan people
CF are upholding the nation’s responsibility to its NATO allies by
contributing forces to a morally important and security-dependent
o Subtitle: Canada fighting terrorism
The Canadian governments military commitments to Afghanistan had a
clear rationalizations linked to the 9/11 terror attacks and Canadian
obligations to NATO alliance commitments
Military action in Afghanistan was justified by a need to deter terrorism
Over the 1980s-90s, military historians and security studies academics
criticized the lack of funding to the CFs, a period when peacekeeping was
heavily promoted and romanticized as a better role suited for the CF
Following 9/11, the Harper government articulated narratives encouraging
the reimaging of the CF not as a peacekeeping mediator, but as a more
militarized and combat-capable institution
Canada’s international reputation is linked to its military ability
The government of Canada has been clear that the nation’s involvement in
Afghanistan was not a peacekeeping mission
Rather than traditional peacekeeping missions, Canada’s involvement has
been identified as a peace enforcement operations
The country’s role has been to counter the terrorist threat by ensuring the
Afghanistan does not again revert to the status of sanctuary and head
office for global terrorism
Canada was fighting terrorism abroad to provide security at home
The focus on fighting terrorism and providing security was not made in
Frequent reference was made to Canada’s 3D policy (Defence,
Diplomacy, Development), with a heavy emphasis on placing security as
the first and most important D to be accomplished
The Evolution of National Defence Policy by Tomlin, Hillmer and Hampson
The 1964 White Paper
o The political window for the white paper of 1964 opened with a change in
administration and the election of a liberal minority government pledged to action
o The goal of the Pearson government was from the beginning to establish firm
control over the military and of military expenditure
o Paul Hellyer
The choice for defence minister
Key figure in convincing Pearson and the liberal party to accept the notion
of nuclear weapons for Canada just before the 1963 campaign
At 40, he had 15 years of experience as a MP including a stint as associate
defence minister in the middle of the 1950s, in the last days of the St
Laurent government
Been a soldier and an airman at the end of WWII, where he acquired
strong views on what he thought was the predilection of the armed forces
for waste and mismanagement
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