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3.6 out of 5 stars
While Canada Slept: How We Lost Our Place in the World
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on December 25, 2003
Cohen does a reasonably good job of recapping the facts of Canada's decline as a middle power since the end of the Second World War. Probably a third to a half of the book is simply a jog through 50 years of Canadian history, emphasising the 40s, 50s and 60s as the decades when Canada was a country of some influence. He pays the usual homage to senior civil servants Lester Pearson (before he became PM Pearson), Norman Robertson et al, seeing them as the key to Canada's ability to punch above its weight on the world stage.
Where Cohen goes astray is in failing to treat Canada's foreign, defence, trade and aid policies in the broader context of world affairs. His book does not really acknowledge that the world has changed, and indeed that Canada's post-Second World War moment of influence was very much a function of Europe's collapse. And apart from vague appeals to do more and spend more, Cohen doesn't seem to have much of a vision of what he would have Canada do with any new-found/restored influence.
All that said, it's still a worthwhile read, if only to get your own thought processes going.
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