Is he thinking about a Grand Strategy for Canada?

There is a report in the Globe and Mail saying that Stephen Harper will resign as a member of parliament before the fall sitting of the House.

HarperThat should not be too surprising … some defeated leaders have stayed on with mixed results. Some have been real assets to parliament and their parties, others less so. It’s certainly not hard to understand why a person who sat at the centre of the treasury benches might not like sitting anywhere else. The report says that Prime Minister Harper is pursuing “new interests on corporate boards and the establishment of a foreign policy institute.” The former is entirely unsurprising but that latter is very encouraging. In my opinion Stephen Harper is a strategist ~ someone who grasps the connects between politics, policy, power, economics, military force, trade and influence.

Now, I have banged on ~ too often some will say ~ about what Grand Strategy is and is not and why we need one and why we don’t have one. It appears to me that if what former policy director Rachel Curran says is true then Prime Minister Harper will be able to contribute to a coherent discussion of Canada’s place in the world and our strengths and weaknesses, too. She says:

  • He will want to champion global free trade, building on his success in negotiating deals with South Korea and the European Union, as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership;”
  • Mr. Harper will also want to promote his geopolitical thinking – whether it’s on human rights, the promotion of democracy or standing up to authoritarian regimes;” and
  • Mr. Harper pushed austerity and balanced budgets at the G20 summits, a view not shared by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose government expects to run a $30-billion deficit this fiscal year.

Those three points, alone, point to a global and “grand” strategic vision. One certainly hopes that any institute headed by Stephen Harper will also look at how power, hard and soft, is created and projected, too.

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A grand strategy defines what we do, domestically and in the world, to protect and promote our vital interests. It is, especially, concerned with what we do about, with, sometimes for and occasionally to other countries (and movements and other non0-state actors) as we pursue our peaceful, fair and honest interests.

I join all thinking Canadians in thanking Prime Minister Harper for his distinguished service to our country, in wishing him every success in the future and in hoping that he will continue to play a leading, elder statesman role from the private sector.

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