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America, Canada’s problem

By Robert Bothwell      

Unquestioning friendship to Canada survives in American public opinion and the 'deep state' of the American government, but at the topmost level of the U.S. administration it is no longer settled policy.

Then-Canadian prime minister Mackenzie King and then-U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt on July 31, 1936. During the Second World War, Canada forged a close relationship and understanding with the northeastern political class in the United States that effectively dominated American politics and government during the 20th century. Photograph courtesy of Library and Archives Canada

In 1940, a New York Times journalist, John MacCormac, published a book that he titled Canada: America’s Problem. The problem was clear: Canada was at war; the United States was not. There was, potentially, a fundamental divergence between the two North American nations, which might end with the United States being dragged where it did not want to go, on the British side of a European war.

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