Thanks to Donald Trump, world alliances are being scrambled. Robin Sears writes that a new world order is appearing with each passing day:
Already we have seen both Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron publicly signal that an EU-centric foreign policy, not one led by the U.S., is their vision of the future.
China, less adroitly, continues to attempt to build an Asian sphere of influence. Their military advances in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean have stimulated a budding South Asian strategic partnership. Nominally led by India, it is an attempting to unite all the nations of the region from Malaysia to Sri Lanka, in response to Chinese ambition. The old club of “likeminded nations” in Northern Europe are reviving their common cause on issues from climate change to the refugee crisis.
If Canadian politicians are wise, they will take note of what is happening and recognize that Canada could play an important role in this new world order:
This places Canada in a new and possibly important new place. Managing the relationship with the United States will always be a priority, but unlike the past two years, it should not be the foreign policy priority.
We are alone among the advanced Western democracies not to carry any colonial baggage in our relations with China, Japan and Korea. As members of the Commonwealth, the Francophonie, the OAS and NATO, we have an uniquely wide array of organizations and alliances through which to advance Canadian interests and policy goals.
Canada will always have to manage its relationship with the United States. But, as the United States declines, Canada's perspective must become truly universal:
Together, with a carefully selected group of partners, it might be wise for Canada to set out an agenda that encompasses a new 21st-century set of shared policy goals, early in the New Year.
Canada is well-equipped to play a role in United Nations and global finance reform, unfreezing the paralyzed WTO and giving the G20 a new injection of political energy.
Paul Martin was instrumental in establishing the G20. And other prime ministers have played an important role in global affairs:
As Fen Hampson’s new examination of the foreign policy legacy of Brian Mulroney, Master of Persuasion makes clear, when a Canadian prime minister has a focused agenda and supportive partners we can make a big impact on the global stage.
Two achievements of those years little known to most Canadians may point a path for another internationally engaged prime minister. Mulroney played an important role in helping Helmut Kohl to overcome French and British resistance to German unification at a very delicate moment.
He was also one of the pivotal players in imposing the sanctions on South Africa that led to the release and election of Nelson Mandela. We are perhaps at a moment where Canada can once again play a broader strategic role on today’s global crises.
We will not dominate in the new world order. But we could play an important part in establishing a new and better world.