For how much longer can Canada expect to get a free ride?
With 9/11 and the international “war on terrorism,” the time has come to ask some hard questions. Should we continue to starve our military, reduce our humanitarian assistance, dilute our diplomacy, and absent ourselves from global intelligence-gathering? Can we expect to sit at the global table by virtue of our economic power without pursuing a foreign policy worthy of our history, geography, and diversity?
Canada has been getting by on the cheap, writes Andrew Cohen in this timely, forceful, and insightful new book. Our reluctance to pay our own way has had a cost: it has eroded the pillars of our international stature. We are still trading on the reputation this country built two generations ago, but it is a reputation we no longer deserve. We claim to be engaged abroad, but for too long we have been a freeloader, trying to do the same for less, practising pinch-penny diplomacy and foreign policy on the cheap. Our capacity in these key areas has become glaringly inadequate, and now that weakness is compromising our ability to honour our traditional commitments overseas.
The time is ripe for a thorough re-examination of our foreign policy, to affirm our values, to win the respect of our allies, to carry our weight.
From the Hardcover edition.
About Andrew Cohen
Andrew Cohen is an award-winning journalist and former Washington correspondent whom the New York Times has called one of “Canada’s most distinguished authors.” He has had an interest in the Kennedys from the time he learned of the president’s assassination as a third grader at Roslyn School in Montreal. He attended Choate Rosemary Hall (where JFK went), McGill University, Carleton University and the University of Cambridge. Among his best-selling books are While Canada Slept: How We Lost Our Place in the World, a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, which in 2010 was named one of the top 12 Canadian political books of the last 25 years; Trudeau’s Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Pierre Elliott Trudeau (with J.L. Granatstein) and The Unfinished Canadian: The People We Are. He has written for United Press International, the Financial Post, the Financial Times of London, Time and the Globe and Mail from London, Berlin, Toronto and Ottawa, where he is a professor of journalism and international affairs at Carleton University. In Washington, he covered the Clinton administration and reported on his impeachment and trial and the disputed election of 2000. He made several trips to the South, writing about the re-opening of civil rights cases from the 1960s. He has won three National Magazine Awards and two National Newspaper Awards, and he has been twice been awarded the Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Medal. Cohen writes a nationally-syndicated column for the Ottawa Citizen and appears as regular commentator on CTV News.
“Relentlessly chronicles just how far this country has fallen from global grace.”
“In well-crafted prose and on a foundation of extensive knowledge of our diplomatic history, Cohen recounts a tale of how we have created… a make-believe foreign policy.”
–Richard Gwyn, Toronto Star
“A trenchant critique of modern Canadian foreign policy.”
“Cohen’s contribution is invaluable. A book full of… rich detail, written with passion and engaging prose.… A must read for all of those who wish to understand the roots of Canada’s global outlook.”
–Globe and Mail
“Mr. Cohen… has hit the bull’s-eye.”
–Jeffrey Simpson, Globe and Mail
“There could hardly be a better time for While Canada Slept, Andrew Cohen’s cogent and sobering survey of this country’s long slide into the margins of global importance.… A powerful indictment of how we’ve neglected our role in the world.”
“Provocative and persuasive.… [Cohen’s] arguments are persuasive and ably defended in a book that is brisk, on the mark and wonderfully readable.”
–London Free Press
“Persuasive and compelling.… A long-awaited wake-up call to Canadians who have for years been blinded in a glare of self-satisfaction about their own international importance.”
“Cohen has pulled together a well-written, engaging and timely book. This is clearly a must-read for all Canadians interested in our glorious past and in Canada having an influential voice in the world once again.”
“The articulation of foreign policy and the integration of its various elements (diplomatic, aid, military and financial) should be high on [the next prime minister’s] list of his or her policy challenges. If so, much will be owed to Andrew Cohen for this passionate, informative, entertaining and mostly convincing volume.”
–David Malone, Literary Review of Canada
" Excellent … This is an exceptionally easy book to read – popular but built on scholarship and masterly in its smooth transitions."
–Douglas Fisher, Legion Magazine
From the Hardcover edition.
FINALIST 2003 Governor General's Literary Award - Nonfiction