This paper examines these assumptions critically. Without attempting to diminish the importance of Canada’s commitment to NATO during the Cold War, this paper will argue that NATO membership has been costlier for Canada than is often realized, both in terms of opportunity cost and real cost; that the benefits of Canadian membership in NATO are overstated; and that continued membership in the alliance poses significant risks for Canada.
This essay does not go as far as to advocate withdrawal from the alliance. However, if the trends described below continue, it could be time for Canada to consider stopping “pledging fealty to the increasingly hollow shell of NATO forever.”5 Furthermore, this essay does not attempt to question or criticize NATO’s essential historic role during the Cold War, nor does it advocate a grand change in Canada’s foreign policy towards the United States, Europe or Russia. Simply, it approaches NATO from the perspective of realpolitik with the belief that a military alliance is a foreign policy tool whose purpose is to further Canada’s interests – and perhaps it no longer does this. Läs rapporten