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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Oh Canada



If you've been following the news the past month, you know that Canada hosted the annual G7 meeting and it ended with President Donald Trump bashing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after watching a speech on Air Force One. Trump called Trudeau "dishonest and weak."

Going into the meeting, Trump had already levied new tariffs against Canadian steel and aluminum. In order to justify the use of presidential power to apply the tariffs, Trump had to label Canada a threat to national security.  Remember, the US Constitution gives Congress the power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations."

Canadians were surprised, puzzled, and perhaps even angered by the justification for these tariffs, so the meeting was bound to be somewhat tense. Canadian Foreign Minister Chyrstia Freeland called the tariffs "absurd," "unjustified" and "illegal." Canada has imposed retaliatory tariffs that went into effect on July 1. Items now facing higher import taxes include beer kegs, whisky, orange juice, and various metals. 

Last week, I flew to DC to attend a workshop at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) on Canada-US relations. Scholars at Carleton University in Canada annually produce a volume for a series called "Canada Among Nations."  The theme for the newest volume is Canada-US relations and I've been asked to contribute a chapter. Many Canadian scholars were there, including a number of faculty from Carleton, and a few other Americans.

My presentation was on the morning's initial panel: "'America First' and US-Canadian Relations." As you might suspect given my past research and writing on Trump's foreign policies, I argue that the Trump agenda is a threat to multilateralism, alliances (including NATO), and the liberal world order. Canada values all of those institutions, as has the US most of the time since World War II.

Indeed, last September, I proposed this precise research topic for a Fulbright position in Canada...and I got it! This fall, I will be Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Canada-US Relations at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa.


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