Whither Internationalism?

By Munton, Don | International Journal, Spring 2003 | Go to article overview

Whither Internationalism?


Munton, Don, International Journal


Professor of International Studies. University of Northern British Columbia. Funding for this research was provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the University of Northern British Columbia seeds grant program. I am grateful to Suzanne LeBlanc for valuable comments on an earlier draft. Daniel Savas managed the 2001-2002 survery work at Ipsos-Reid. Assistance was provided by Chris Baker of Environics, Bob Burge of the Queen's University Canadian Opinion Research Archive, and staff of Compas, Goldfarb Associates, and Decima Research. Michael Driedger prepared and formatted the data files for much of the 1980s survey data used here. All the analysis herein employed SPSS, Version 10.

ARE CANADIANS COMMITTED INTERNATIONALISTS or have they begun to turn inwards? Has necessity forced them to give greater priority to domestic issues? Have they chosen to become not merely disinterested in international affairs but more isolationist? Did these attitudes change with the end of the cold war or with a decade or more of retrenchment in international commitments by the federal government? Did they shift again in wake of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001? Will they do so in response to the war on Iraq?

The purpose of this article is to begin to track Canadian public internationalism over time. The attitudes of the Canadian public toward involvement in international affairs have not traditionally been the subject of much serious scholarly attention. In contrast to an active and ongoing debate in the United States about the degree to which Americans support internationalist foreign policies, public opinion on foreign policy and internationalism has, until recently, been largely ignored by Canadian analysts. Certainly it has not been as closely or extensively studied as opinion elsewhere, and the examination of trends over time is still rare.(1) Such temporal trends, more than snapshots from single polls, will be necessary to unravel the puzzle of Canadians' involvement with the world.

REVIEWING THE DEBATE

Although observers seem to agree that internationalism became the watchword of Canadian foreign policy during the so-called golden era of the early post-World War II years, debates have erupted regularly since the 1970s over the extent to which this internationalist tradition still holds. Some argue that Canadian policies in recent years have reflected a declining internationalism; others maintain that internationalism is with us still.

More than a decade ago, Cranford Pratt noted an 'eroding' internationalist spirit in Canada, particularly amongst Ottawa officialdom.(2) Kim Richard Nossal charged more recently that the 1990s had witnessed 'a progressive retreat from internationalism,' which had been 'nailed to the perch' by the government of Jean Chretien and its 'pinchpenny diplomacy,' an 'overly frugal' foreign policy motivated by 'a meanness of spirit.' Instead of the internationalist ideals that animated Canada's foreign policy makers during the cold war, contemporary Canadian foreign policy 'delegitimizes the voluntaristic acts of "good international citizenship" that are essential components of internationalism.'(3) Jean Francois Rioux and Robin Hay went further; Canada had 'retreated from the world' during the 1990s and was now 'bereft of its internationalist focus.'(4)

Such criticisms are not new, even in the recent history of Canadian foreign policy. The foreign policy green paper issued by the government of Brian Mulroney in 1985 rated two 'thumbs down' with the reviewers, mainly for its lack of internationalist script. Although Joe Clark, the minister of external affairs, was at pains to emphasize that Competitiveness and Security was not a formal white paper but rather an attempt at dialogue on substantive foreign policy issues, his disclaimer did not dissuade the critics.

Stephen Clarkson suggested that the green paper merely 'strums the chords of Pearsonian internationalism' for 'political symbolism.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Whither Internationalism?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.