Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 118–138 | Cite as

United West, divided Canada? Transatlantic (dis)unity and Canada’s Atlanticist strategic culture

  • Justin MassieEmail author


Could a growing transatlantic rift regarding the use of military force outside Europe propel the political break-up of Canada? The first part of the paper argues that, in addition to its liberal-democratic values, Canada’s bicultural national identity accounts for much of its Atlanticist international security policy. The second part of the paper examines the prevalence of this Atlanticist strategic culture in the face of two contemporary cases of transatlantic (dis)unity, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in order to assess the potentially disruptive nature of transatlantic discord on Canada’s political unity. It finds, somewhat counter-intuitively, that transatlantic unity - rather than disunity - could more probably generate national unity crises in Canada in the event of continuing ‘out-of-area’ military operations undertaken by NATO allies. This is mainly because of a growing tendency among Quebec’s sovereignist political elites’ to mobilise Quebecers’ distinct attitudes regarding overseas military expeditions.


NATO Canadian strategic culture Quebec’s antimilitarism war in Iraq war in Afghanistan 


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© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Public and International AffairsUniversity of OttawaCanada

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