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Canada Joining Game of Thrones?

Is a new player entering the Game of Thrones? Perhaps taking a cue from the Obama administration’s strategic shift away from Europe and towards Asia, Canada is now mulling over an Asian “pivot” of its own.

Although many Canadians are still unsure about the merits of a more active policy in Asia, there are signs that the Harper government is looking at ways to boost Canada’s presence across the Pacific. As Hugh Stephens writes in The Diplomat:

With its move to gain access to the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, its more intensive outreach to ASEAN—including a recent announcement of the opening of Canada’s first embassy in Burma—and its courting of Chinese and other Asian nations’ interest in Canada’s oil and gas assets, the Harper government has firmly set in place the foundations of a long-term Asia strategy for Canada.

This shift may come as a surprise to many who see Canada as somewhat aloof in world affairs, but it makes a good deal of strategic sense. Canada’s interests in Asia are largely the same as America’s, and a peaceful, liberal zone open to trade and investment suits our northern neighbors as well as our own interests. And as a country with a large Pacific coastline and deepening trade links with China, Canada will find Asia increasingly important to its well-being.

The Game of Thrones continues.

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  • Bart Hall (Kansas, USA)

    Not only Pacific coastline, but a couple of magnificent natural harbors, one of which — Prince Rupert — is three days closer to Asia than Los Angeles. PR already has pretty good rail connections (and less weather-sensitive than the southern route into Vancouver), so a concerted effort to upgrade the port facilities in Prince Rupert would offer Canada significant advantages in the export of their grain, coal, minerals, petroleum, and manufactured goods.

  • Cunctator

    An interesting post. I suspect that, as with much of its foreign policy, the Harper government’s “outreach” to Asia is little more than an ad hoc scramble for buyers of its oil. That Obama’s idiotic decisions have pushed Ottawa to look east is without question, but we ought not to assume some sort of grand strategic thinking behind it. Harper is entirely about domestic politics and he cares little to nothing about global affairs: everything he does must be read in that light.

  • Gerald Owens

    I am not a Canadian, so will read commentary on this topic from our friends Up North with interest. In the meantime, I do not fault Harper for putting the interests of Canada and Canadians FIRST: that’s his job. Would that we had the same sort of commitment toward Americans by American politicians! (Doubtful: they love the praise of foreigners more than their own fellow americans. It is said that when America catches a cold, the world catches pneumonia. American politicians that work for American interests is what appears to give the world colds.)

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