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For how much longer can Canada expect to get a free ride?

With 9/11 and the international “war on terrorism,” the time has come to ask some hard questions. Should we continue to starve our military, reduce our humanitarian assistance, dilute our diplomacy, and absent ourselves from global intelligence-gathering? Can we expect to sit at the global table by virtue of our economic power without pursuing a foreign policy worthy of our history, geography, and diversity?

Canada has been getting by on the cheap, writes Andrew Cohen in this timely, forceful, and insightful new book. Our reluctance to pay our own way has had a cost: it has eroded the pillars of our international stature. We are still trading on the reputation this country built two generations ago, but it is a reputation we no longer deserve. We claim to be engaged abroad, but for too long we have been a freeloader, trying to do the same for less, practising pinch-penny diplomacy and foreign policy on the cheap. Our capacity in these key areas has become glaringly inadequate, and now that weakness is compromising our ability to honour our traditional commitments overseas.

The time is ripe for a thorough re-examination of our foreign policy, to affirm our values, to win the respect of our allies, to carry our weight.

From the Hardcover edition.

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