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Unhelpful Fixer? Canada, the Euromissile Crisis, and Pierre Trudeau’s Peace Initiative, 1983-84

Brunet, Luc-André (2019). Unhelpful Fixer? Canada, the Euromissile Crisis, and Pierre Trudeau’s Peace Initiative, 1983-84. International History Review, 41(6) pp. 1145–1167.

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This article provides the most rigourous international history to date of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s 1983 peace initiative, one of Canada’s major foreign policy ventures of the Cold War. Drawing on newly declassified archival materials in Canada as well as interviews with Canadian officials, this article reveals that this initiative had a two-track strategy, aiming to mobilise Western European leaders to exert pressure on the Reagan Administration, on the one hand, while quietly urging European allies to call for a review of NATO strategy. Based on previously unavailable archival sources from seven different countries, this article also reveals how the Canadian initiative was received by the world leaders Trudeau sought to win over. It reassesses the Canadian initiative, revealing that it borrowed heavily from existing proposals from other countries, and that NATO leaders viewed the initiative as a mere electoral ploy to help Trudeau win re-election rather than a serious project to ease East-West tensions. This article concludes that with this initiative Canada was not in fact playing the role of a ‘helpful fixer’ in international affairs and that the initiative constituted part of a wider and understudied trend in government responses to the tensions of the ‘Second Cold War’.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
ISSN: 1949-6540
Keywords: NATO; Canada; Euromissile Crisis; Cold War; Pierre Trudeau
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities > History
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 54949
Depositing User: Luc-Andre Brunet
Date Deposited: 02 May 2018 14:43
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2020 15:52
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