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Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 207–228 | Cite as

The liberal and conservative internationalist divide: societal responses to Canada’s transatlantic nuclear commitments

  • Mark Andrew EatonEmail author
Article

Abstract

In early 1960s Canada one question dominated political debate and discourse in the areas of foreign and security policy — whether or not Canadian armed forces would adopt nuclear weapon roles in North America and Europe. By focusing mainly on groups and individuals within civil society, the following analysis portrays a deeply divided Canada. On the one hand, supporters of liberal internationalism believed that acquiring nuclear weapons would make Canada a less effective and influential international actor and make nuclear war more likely, while on the other hand, conservative internationalists took the opposite position — that by assuming nuclear roles Canada’s international influence and effectiveness would increase and nuclear war would be less likely. In other words, the nuclear acquisition debate exposed deep divisions in Canadian society between those who viewed their country as either a ‘soft’ or a ‘hard’ middle power.

Keywords

Canada foreign and security policy nuclear weapons liberal internationalism conservative internationalism 

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Notes

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Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English, School of Communication and CultureAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

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