[(Re)defining Traditions: Gender & Canadian Foreign Policy]

Article excerpt

Edna Keeble and Heather Smith quite rightly argue that as slow as the field of international relations has been to incorporate discussions of gender, the sub-field of Canadian foreign policy (CFP) has been slower still. They point to a number of factors, including the small number of women involved in both the production and analysis of Canadian foreign policy; but they also underline the ways in which 'the realist legacy' within the CFP literature continues to set the terms of the appropriate questions -- and answers. To this end, (Re)Defining Traditions makes an important contribution by trying to open up new questions, and new answers, in traditional CFP issues.

One of Keeble and Smiths most interesting arguments is their claim that representations of the Canadian state, and its foreign and security policies, are often gendered in the feminine, a gendering which distinguishes Canadian foreign and security policy from that of the United States by emphasizing Canada's commitments to international organizations, peacekeeping, and the like. They argue that this 'feminine' internationalist guise masks the underlying 'masculinist' and realist impulse that guides CFP. Canadian foreign policy, in other words, is as informed by a concern for promoting the national interest and sustaining the status quo of the contemporary international order as is any other more obviously 'masculinist' state. …