Luc-Andre Brunet’s article in International History Review

Dr. Luc-Andre Brunet, Lecturer in 20th European History, has published ‘Unhelpful Fixer? Canada, the Euromissile Crisis, and Pierre Trudeau’s Peace Initiative, 1983-1984‘ in the International History Review. This article provides the most rigorous 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, examining both Trudeau’s motives and the reception of his initiative among Canada’s allies. Drawing on newly declassified sources in Canada, it uncovers the two-track strategy behind this initiative, 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 on the other. Based on previously unavailable archival materials 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’ and that the initiative constituted part of a wider and understudied trend in government responses to the ‘Second Cold War’.

 

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