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Joining Empire

Joining Empire: The Political Economy of the New Canadian Foreign Policy

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 344
  • Book Info
    Joining Empire
    Book Description:

    A fresh assessment of the neoliberal political economy behind Canadian foreign policy from Afghanistan to Haiti,Joining Empireestablishes Jerome Klassen as one of the most astute analysts of contemporary Canadian foreign policy and its relationship to US global power. Using empirical data on production, trade, investment, profits, and foreign ownership in Canada, as well as a new analysis of the overlap among the boards of directors of the top 250 firms in Canada and the top 500 firms worldwide, Klassen argues that it is the increasing integration of Canadian businesses into the global economy that drives Canada's new, increasingly aggressive, foreign policy.

    Using government documents, think tank studies, media reports, and interviews with business leaders from across Canada, Klassen outlines recent systematic changes in Canadian diplomatic and military policy and connects them with the rise of a new transnational capitalist class.Joining Empireis sure to become a classic of Canadian political economy.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6643-6
    Subjects: Economics, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction: Political Economy and the New Canadian Foreign Policy
    (pp. 3-30)

    Over the past two decades, Canadian governments have worked to establish a new international policy approach. From the Gulf War in 1991 to more recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Libya, successive governments have been forced to contend with a new system of world order. Forged in the aftermath of the Cold War, the new international system is characterized by two key features: the global expansion of capitalism as a mode of production, and the political dominance of the United States as a de facto hegemon. These two features of the international system are closely related, establishing what many commentators have...

  6. Part I: Theory and Method

    • 1 Understanding Empire: Theories of International Political Economy
      (pp. 33-58)

      Over the past decade, the language of empire and imperialism has returned with a vengeance to world politics. The attacks of 9/11, and the US response to them, made empire and imperialism, as John Hobson ([1902] 1972, xvii) once put it, the words on “everybody’s lips.” These terms have shaped many perceptions of US global power, and given meaning to a variety of political projects, both in favour of and against, US statecraft abroad.

      The “global war on terror” led by George W. Bush sparked this new discourse of empire. The strategies and tactics of the “global war on terror”...

  7. Part II: American Power and Continental Integration

    • 2 Hegemonic Liberalism: The Political Economy of US Primacy
      (pp. 61-86)

      Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has led the international political economy as an uncontested superpower. The demise of the Soviet Union and the collapse of various forms of Third World nationalism allowed the United States to operate as a de facto hegemon. For the Canadian state, the imperative to work closely with the economic, political, and military structures of US global power thus became even stronger.

      In this context, it became common to speak of a “unipolar moment” in world politics. This term was coined by American journalist Charles Krauthammer (1990/91, 23), who argued that...

    • 3 Continental Neoliberalism and the Canadian Corporate Elite
      (pp. 87-114)

      For more than two decades, the foreign economic policy of the Canadian state has been driven by a strategy ofcontinental neoliberalism(Carroll 1990, 1993).¹ This strategy has encompassed a twofold attempt at reorganizing the Canadian economy within regional structures of accumulation and restructuring the state along neoliberal or free market lines. This strategy was first pursued through the Canadian-American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) of 1988, and then advanced through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1994. Through these agreements, Canadian governments embedded the national economy in a continental system of production and exchange, and established an external...

  8. Part III: Canadian Capital and Transnational Neoliberalism

    • 4 The Internationalization of Canadian Capital
      (pp. 117-153)

      Over the past three decades, the Canadian economy has been restructured in two important ways. First, as discussed in the previous chapter, it has been rescaled through a capitalist class project of continental neoliberalism. Second, as I discuss in this chapter, it has been enmeshed in a wider process oftransnational neoliberalism– in a broader structure of “transnational circulating capital” (Overbeek and van der Pijl 1993, 15). By connecting the Canadian economy to global circuits of production and exchange, the Canadian state has sought to maintain itself as a competitive space of accumulation and to support the expansion of...

    • 5 Transnational Class Formation: Globalization and the Canadian Corporate Network
      (pp. 154-180)

      The issue of transnational class formation has figured centrally in recent debates on globalization and the world economy. These debates revolve around the question of whether or not new patterns of cross-border trade and investment have established global circuits of capital out of which a transnational capitalist class has emerged. For Stephen Hymer (1979, 262), who first observed this trend in the 1970s, “an international capitalist class is emerging whose interests lie in the world economy as a whole.” At the time, Hymer noticed “a strong tendency for the most powerful segments of the capitalist class … to see their...

  9. Part IV: The Canadian State and Foreign Policy

    • 6 Armoured Neoliberalism: The Power Bloc and the New Imperial State
      (pp. 183-219)

      The transformation of the state during the period of neoliberalism has been a key issue of debate in the social sciences. The globalization of the world economy through new patterns of trade, investment, and production has challenged, or upended, the national systems of governance that regulated post-war economies. In this context, new concerns have arisen regarding the balance of power between states and markets, and between politics and economics. In particular, new debates have emerged around the question of the changing form and function of the state in light of globalizing processes.

      In the early stages of these debates, the...

    • 7 One of the Big Boys: Canada in Afghanistan and Haiti
      (pp. 220-248)

      In his 1993 book on Canadian foreign policy, Tom Keating concluded with an unusual warning. “Policy-makers,” he argued, “[will] have to make a difficult choice in the future between their desire to be part of the [global] elite and the need to protect the institutions and norms that the vast majority of nations must rely on.” As Keating observed, Canadian foreign policy-makers had begun “to move in more elite circles,” and were increasingly aligned with US priorities in North America and around the world. For Keating, this new alignment “raise[d] questions about the future direction of Canada’s multilateralist orientation” (Keating...

  10. Conclusion: Canada and Empire – The Counterconsensus
    (pp. 249-258)

    In November 2012, Canada’sCBC Newsreleased details of a classified “foreign policy plan” that the federal Conservative government had been drafting for more than a year (Weston 2012). The plan was comprehensive in terms of linking the political, economic, and military dimensions of Canadian foreign policy. But the primary concern was with the competitive reach of Canadian capital in emerging market economies. As the government put it, “[w]e need to be frank with ourselves – our influence and credibility with some of these new and emerging powers is not as strong as it needs to be and could be.”...

  11. Appendix
    (pp. 259-264)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 265-282)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 283-329)