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Life With Uncle

Life With Uncle: The Canadian-American Relationship

John W. Holmes
Copyright Date: 1981
Pages: 144
  • Book Info
    Life With Uncle
    Book Description:

    One of Canada's most senior observers of foreign affairs considers and reflects on the nature of the Canadian-US relationship since the Second World War. He starts with the Canadian ideas after that war for involving, and containing, the United States in the work of the United Nations. Then he considers the formal and informal means of conducting relations between two such unequal powers, and concludes with some advice of that conduct in the new age apparently being introduced by the Reagan administration. He stresses the unique heritage of Canada and the compatibility of social and political differentiation in North Amerca with the intelligent management of the continent and with free association in international relations. Deep thoughts are lightly expressed in this distillation of nearly forty years' experience and study.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8386-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[viii])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [ix]-[xii])
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    ‘There is nothing the matter with Americans except their ideals,’ said G.K. Chesterton. ‘The real American is all right; it is the ideal American who is all wrong.’¹ Chesterton is too glib, of course. American ideals have inspired millions throughout the world for over two centuries, and they still flash in the dark. There is a sense, however, in which their ideal image of themselves, that they are not as other men, is at war with their common sense and common decency, although it also inspires them to heroic generosity. What they practice is, nevertheless, better on the whole than...

  4. 1 Also Present at the Creation
    (pp. 9-40)

    Alfonso the Wise, King of Castile, is said to have stated, somewhat immodestly: ‘Had I been present at the creation I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe.’ Dean Acheson, who was himself immodest and secretary of state of a country beset by the immodest American dream, found in this quotation the title for his memoirs,Present at the Creation.We were all at the end of the Second World War conscious of creating a new and improved world, a system of united nations into which would be fitted in due course bodies such...

  5. 2 Shaping the Continent
    (pp. 41-58)

    Having looked at the ambiguity in Canadian attitudes to the United States role in the world after the Second War, our wish for American leadership and anxiety about the direction it would take, I would now like to concentrate on the bilateral relationship on this continent during that period. There is more continuity over the centuries than we are inclined to think, but there are at present serious questions to be asked about trends and mutations. In seeking appropriate shapes for the continent we find the same ambiguities, the advantages and disadvantages of living with this particular superpower and the...

  6. 3 Rational Management
    (pp. 59-82)

    So far, so good, one might say. Things could in theory be a lot better but in practice a lot worse. Our informal relationship is possible, some scholars argue, because of a common diplomatic culture. Are there, however, changing factors which suggest that we can no longer with confidence leave our relations to a system which one might call unstructured or perhaps chaotically webbed? What is the value of ‘a common diplomatic culture’ if it is increasingly hard-nosed? It is constantly said that we are becoming more and more interdependent, but a counter argument can be made that the trend...

  7. 4 On Being an Ally
    (pp. 83-104)

    As a result of our eccentric past we don’t think in all things like Americans even if we chew the same gum. This is especially true in foreign policy. I would like now to consider that cloudy prospect before us to illustrate the importance of rational differentiation – a principle I would say of functionalism if I dare use that word again. We have had considerable experience of difference with American foreign policy, rarely at 90 degrees but often at 45, more often about means than ends. In the world at large we are now passing from an era in which...

  8. 5 Canada’s Roots
    (pp. 105-126)

    If there is a central theme in these essays it is that life with Uncle Sam will always be strenuous but that it can be reasonably comfortable and profitable if we take it calmly and pragmatically. Now I propose to take a very personal look at our roots, the history that has made us different, searching for our national genius to clarify our present sense of direction and calm our nerves. I shall, of course, shamelessly seek evidence for the arguments I have already made.

    One such conclusion is that grand schemes for the continent are to be avoided. We...

  9. The Continuing Relationship
    (pp. 127-138)

    The late Marcel Cadieux, who was one of our toughest and wisest ambassadors to the US, said once when asked what could be done to improve the relationship: ‘It’s quite simple. All you have to do is change the American constitution.’ It is, and always has been, an uphill struggle all the way, but in conclusion I should like to pull myself together and express confidence in both Canadians and Americans to find ways and means of living for many more years out of wedlock and of adjusting to our changing estates in the family of nations. We have been...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 139-144)