Our peacekeeping contributions should be based on evidence, not nostalgia

We’re told over and over again that Canada is a peacekeeping nation. Peacekeeping is one of those words that sounds Canadian and evokes national pride, especially if you’re a Liberal who pines nostalgically for the time of Lester Pearson. It’s like that presumptuous and arrogant phrase “the world needs more Canada.”

The first problem with this mythology is that we are so much more than that, as we were reminded just last week on Remembrance Day. We weren’t peacekeepers in the World Wars of the 20th century. More importantly, the notion of peacekeeping is now outdated, as many experts have pointed out. Most of the crises in the world now require a different skillset from the Cold War peacekeeping operations in which Canada previously excelled.

Rather than be a solution searching for a problem, we should do a proper assessment of where Canada can help and apply ourselves to that job. Our foreign policy should be dictated by our capacity and the challenges of the modern world, not some political play to evoke nostalgia for an outdated concept.

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