Can Canada still be considered a middle power? Zimbabwe and Canada's declining global role

Bothwell, Alice (2011-03)

Thesis (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Canada between 1945 and 2010 has been classified as a prominent "middle power." At the same time its relative standing among nations has been declining and it has less regard in the world than it once did. Middle power theory seeks to classify those nations who in the wake of the Second World War were neither great powers nor non- great powers. The idea of middlepowermanship greatly appealed to Canadians and they undertook initiatives to separate themselves from the non-great powers. Canada is often seen as the exemplary case for observing middle power status. Through the post war era and the Cold War Canada was both economically and politically powerful. By getting involved in a plethora of multi-lateral bodies such as the United Nations and the Commonwealth while promoting peacekeeping and mediation, Canada was able to exert its growing influence on the world order. Throughout this time Canada worked hard to build its reputation as a mediator and specialized in ending quarrels. This is true of Canada’s involvement in the Commonwealth in the 1960s and 1970s with regard to the Rhodesian question. On two separate occasions it was the Canadian contingents that prevented the Commonwealth from dissipating. This further bolstered Canada’s rise to prominence in the world order. Over the years, as Canada took on more initiatives resources became very thinly spread. With an economic slow down and new commitments to national policies (universal healthcare and pensions) the Canadian budget was rearranged and priorities changed. No longer were there the same resources available to middle power initiatives or the military. This has greatly impacted Canada’s ability to participate in international projects. Recently, Canada’s position in the world has come into question, asking whether or not it truly is still a middle power. By looking at various traditional middle power elements including the economy, peacekeeping, official development assistance and involvement in multilateral bodies it can be seen that Canada’s prominence is waning. Using the case study of Zimbabwean/ Canadian relations through the 20th and 21st centuries, the decline of Canada’s middle power performance can be traced. Combining these different themes with hard and soft power theory it is clear to see that Canada no longer holds the same position of middle power it once did. It also shows that Canadians are holding onto an image of Canada, which is dated, and it is time to redefine Canada’s position within the world order.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Tussen 1945 en 2010 is Kanada geklassifiseer as ’n prominente “middelmag.” Terselfdertyd het Kanada se relatiewe posisie ten opsigte van ander nasies begin afneem en minder aansien in die wêreld geniet as voorheen. Die middelmag-teorie poog om daardie nasies te klassifiseer wat na die Tweede Wêreldoorlog nóg grootmagte, nóg kleinmagte was. Die Kanadese was aangetrokke tot die idee van middelmagskap en hulle het inisiatiewe onderneem om hulself van ander nie-grootmagte te onderskei. Kanada word dikwels gesien as die toonbeeld van die middelmag rol. Gedurende die post-oorlog era, asook tydens die Koue Oorlog was Kanada beide ekonomies en polities invloedryk. Deur betrokke te raak in multi-laterale instellings soos die Verenigde Nasies en die Statebond, en terselfdertyd vredeskepping en bemiddeling te bevorder, kon Kanada sy groeiende invloed op die wêreld orde uitoefen. Gedurende hierdie tyd het Kanada hard gewerk om sy reputasie as bemiddelaar gestand te doen en te spesialiseer in die beëindiging van dispute. Laasgenoemde word veral waargeneem in Kanada se betrokkenheid in die Statebond met betrekking tot die Rhodesië-vraagstuk in die 1960s en 1970s. Op twee verskillende geleenthede was dit die Kanadese invloed wat verhoed het dat die Statebond ontbind. Dit het gesorg dat Kanada se prestige en prominensie in die wêreld orde toegeneem het. Oor die jare het Kanada meer inisiatiewe aangegaan en het die hulpbronne verminder. Dit, tesame met ’n stadige groeiende ekonomie en nuwe nasionale verpligtinge soos universele gesondheidsorg en pensioenfonds moes die Kanadese begroting herrangskik word en prioriteite moes verander. Daar was nie meer dieselfde hulpbronne beskikbaar vir middelmag- inisiatiewe of die weermag nie. Dit het grootliks Kanada se vermoë beïnvloed om aan internasionale inisiatiewe deel te neem. Onlangs het Kanada se posisie in die wêreld onder die loep gekom, en dit word bevraagteken of Kanada nog werklik ’n middelmag is. Deur te kyk na verskillende tradisionele middelmagelemente soos die ekonomie, vredeskepping, amptelike ontwikkelingsbystand en die betrokkenheid in die multilaterale organisasies, word dit waargeneem dat Kanada se prominensie afneem. Deur gebruik te maak van die gevallestudie van die Zimbabwe/Kanada-verhoudinge deur die 20ste en 21ste eeu, kan die afname van Kanada se middelmag-funksie waargeneem word. Met die kombinering van reeds genoemde temas met die teorieë van harde en sagte mag, kan dit duidelik gesien word dat Kanada nie meer dieselfde posisie van middelmag beklee wat dit eens gehad het nie. Verder wys dit dat die Kanadese aan ’n beeld van Kanada vasklou wat ouderwets is, en dat dit tyd is om Kanada se posisie te herdefinieer in die huidige wêreld orde.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6698
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