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In North American Security, is the past Prologue?: A Retrospective Look at John MacCormac's Canada: America's Problem

Haglund, David G

International Journal, September 2012, Vol.67(3), pp.813-829 [Periódico revisado por pares]

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  • Título:
    In North American Security, is the past Prologue?: A Retrospective Look at John MacCormac's Canada: America's Problem
  • Autor: Haglund, David G
  • Assuntos: History & Archaeology ; International Relations
  • É parte de: International Journal, September 2012, Vol.67(3), pp.813-829
  • Descrição: Anticipating his advisers' assent to cooperating with a team of Mexicans who had been sent to Washington to try to obtain administration support for their country's plummeting currency, [Henry Morgenthau, Jr.] was stunned when an assistant secretary, Wayne Taylor, remarked of the emissaries, "My recommendation is that the boys cool their heels for quite a period." Recovering his composure, the treasury secretary riposted: "And give the Japs and Germans and Italians a chance to go in there?" Should a lifeline not be extended, he was sure that "[w]e're just going to wake up and find inside of a year that Italy, Germany, and Japan have taken over Mexico. I'll put money on it that those boys - it's the richest - the greatest source of natural resources close to the ocean of any country in the world. I mean it's perfectly amazing what they've got. They've got everything that those three countries need - everything."12 Take symbolism, an area in which [John MacCormac] distinguished himself in two ways: ?) he appears to have been the first writer (to my knowledge, at least) to employ the image of "limited liability" to Canadian strategic choices; and 2) he reminds us of the emotional commitment that many Canadians of an earlier generation invested in the once-powerful (but today forgotten) metaphor, the "linchpin" - a metaphor that in many ways served as a precursor to a contemporary ontological-security conceptualization sometimes referred to, figuratively, as "the Anglosphere."19 Let us address these in turn. On no topic does MacCormac's pen show itself to greater effect than on the foreign policy (or, lack thereof) of Mackenzie King. It would be difficult to label MacCormac as a fan of the prime minister's, but he is nonetheless an admirer of King's political skill, even if in pursuit of ends that MacCormac held to be antithetical to Canadian interests. King, he writes, "fascinates because there is no accounting for him. His tactics seem futile and footling; his strategy has almost never erred. He is the sort of leader of whom men say, in a tone of exasperated surprise: 'Hang it, he mustbe good!'" (87-88). It is clear that MacCormac believed King's foreign policy to be anything but good. In fact, he regarded it as little short of disastrous, being responsible for Canada's having stumbled into the European conflict - and this notwithstanding all the brave talk about how Canada was going, under King's Liberals, to exercise an "independent" foreign policy, which would prevent its getting ensnared in European conflicts. What King wrought, instead, was a policy that served neither Canada's own interests, nor those of America or Britain. It was all so ironic, for one might have thought that since Canada had become, at the time of writing, Britain's most "essential war partner," it should have been actively seeking, nay demanding, a voice in the shaping of British policy throughout the interwar period, so as to obviate a return to the situation that had confronted it in 1914 - of having to go off to fight in a European war. Yet rather than seek a voice in the policy of the Empire (by now increasingly being styled the Commonwealth), King chose to maintain the posture of the ostrich, with the paradoxical and perverse result that, on critical decisions relating to war and peace, this so-called independent Canada ended up voiceless, wielding "no influence at all. For seventeen years she has refused not only to intervene in British foreign policy but even to be consulted about it. The poorest voter in London's East End has more control over Canada's foreign policy than a member of Canada's Parliament" (52-53).
  • Idioma: Inglês

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