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Canada’s China-U.S. conundrum

By David Carment and Richard Nimijean      

Though we must not have illusions about Canada’s relative lack of power in this triadic relationship, there is an alternative way of thinking about this situation, as our European allies are quickly learning. It’s okay to say no to both the U.S. and to China and be true to ourselves in the process.

In a multi-polar world, smaller, less powerful countries like Canada can gain leverage by playing off one power against another rather than being at the mercy of their whims. In this case, Canada could use the prospect of extraditing Meng Wanzhou, and banning Huawei to see if China offers better terms than existing agreements with the U.S., write David Carment and Richard Nimijean. Ms. Meng is pictured right, on Oct. 2, 2014, with Andrey Kostin, left, and Vladimir Putin, at the Russia Calling Investment Forum in Moscow, Russia. Photograph courtesy of Commons Wikimedia

There is one basic truism in this era of geopolitical competition: the strong do as they will and the weak do as they must. Growing tensions between the U.S. and China have placed Canada in a difficult spot.

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