No more nostalgia: Fen Hampson on a realistic foreign policy

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals favour multilateralism and soft power on foreign policy—for now


Foreign affairs rarely dominate the early days of a new government. Typically, domestic issues are top of mind because they can directly affect citizens’ pocket books. And to be sure, the first Trudeau budget is likely the biggest event on the political horizon. Still, after Saudi Arabia executed 47 people, controversy has grown over the $15-billion sale of armoured vehicles from a Canadian company, General Dynamics Land Systems, to the Saudi regime. Should the new government step in and cancel it—or will they stick to the view that the sale can go ahead as planned?

The Saudi question, plus the ongoing debate about the combat mission in Iraq and Syria and the government’s stated intention for more trade with China, has pushed foreign policy onto front pages. Just what do all these issues tell us about the kind of Canada we will see on the world stage over the next four years? Fen Hampson has emerged as one of the Trudeau government’s foreign policy critics, arguing that Trudeau’s brand on the world stage is based more on a nostalgia for a bygone era than on the current reality. Hampson, a distinguished fellow and director of Centre for International Governance Innovation’s Global Security & Politics program and most recently the co-author with Derek Burney of the book Brave New Canada: Meeting the Challenge of a Changing World, spoke with Evan Solomon about Trudeau’s foreign policy vision.


No more nostalgia: Fen Hampson on a realistic foreign policy

  1. Evan Solomon still loves the sound of his own voice, cutting off his guest in mid-sentence. Even in interrupted sentences, it is refreshing to hear Fen Hampson confirm that Trudeau’s “Sunny Ways” or the Pearsonian approach probably will not work in the harsh glare of today’s international realities — because it’s 2016.

    • And you still love your gratuitous smears. Some things never change.

      • Gayle, evidently you don’t know the difference between “smear” and “opinion”, the latter being what I expressed based on my observation of Solomon’s interviewing style on P&P. Let Google be your friend; look up the definitions. BTW, I’m sure Solomon doesn’t need your mother hen protection. He’s got tougher skin than you seem to give him credit for.

        • And a completely relevant and insightful “opinion” it is too.

          Ha ha ha ha ha

  2. Some one should tell Mr. Hampson that when he, on radio or TV, confuses the War of the Roses with the Thirty Years War he does his credibility no good.

  3. So long as our Prime Minister is not making chest thumping the basis of foreign policy, it is a vast improvement over the past 10 years.

  4. I don’t believe that we have ever seen true multiculturalism … it’s just a silly dream.

  5. So what is Fem Hampson’s view except to use a put down on Trudeau’s plan, calling it “nostalgic”. I for one find nostalgic to be honourable. Am I in the minority?

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