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Canada in the Great Power Game 1914-2014 by…

Canada in the Great Power Game 1914-2014

by Gwynne Dyer

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Dyer has been a serving Naval officer, and has knowledge of the pointy end of government policies. His survey of the role of Canada in the affairs of the world community since the Boer War of 1898, is insightful, and is from a rare perspective. It seems to him that Canada has been blessed by its position in North America and could have taken a far less active role in world affairs. The collective action taken by the world since 1945 has been moderately effective in controlling the Great Powers in their appetites and is the best way forward to prevent what may be a nuclear catastrophe of the first order. But the middle and small nations have only limited power, and will operate best if they understand their limits.
Canada is a middle power, at best, and was at its most effective during the set-up of the United Nations, and the two decades following. Now in the light of the Russian resurgence, and the American paralysis, we must understand how closely we have been linked to the American orbit, and how this has limited our relations with the rest of the world, and distorted our domestic politics. A book for Americans to read as well, if they are to understand some of the motives and resentments of their Allies. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Oct 22, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307361683, Hardcover)

Canada in the Great Power Game 1914-2014 is a serious contemplation of what it means to engage in major world conflicts, and the price we pay when we do.
The First World War was Canada's baptism of fire, or at least the only one that people now remember. (Montrealers in 1776 or Torontonians in 1814 would have taken a different view.) From 1914 to 1918, after a century of peace, Canadians were plunged back into the old world of great power rivalries and great wars. So was everybody else, but Canadians were volunteers. We didn't have to fight, but we chose to, out of loyalty to ideas and institutions that today many of us no longer believe in. And we have been doing the same thing ever since, although we haven't quite given up on the latest set of ideas and institutions yet.

In Canada in the Great Power Game, Gwynne Dyer moves back and forth between the seminal event, the First World War, and all the later conflicts that Canada chose to fight in. He draws parallels between these conflicts, with the same idealism among the young soldiers, and the same deeply conflicted emotions among the survivors, surfacing time and again in every war right down to Afghanistan. And in each case, the same arguments pro and con arise--mostly from people who are a long, safe way from the killing grounds--for every one of those "wars of choice."

Echoing throughout the book are the voices of the people who lived through the wars: the veterans, the politicians, the historians, the eyewitnesses. And Dyer takes a number of so-called excursions from his historical account, in which he revisits the events and puts them in context, pausing to ask such questions as "What if we hadn't fought Hitler?" and "Is war written in our genes?" This entertaining and provocative book casts an unsparing eye over what happens when Canada and the great powers get in the war business, illuminating much about how we see ourselves on the world stage.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:53 -0400)

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