Human Security and the New Diplomacy: Protecting People, Promoting Peace


279 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-7735-2000-X
DDC 327.1'72




Edited by Rob McRae and Don Hubert
Reviewed by Graeme S. Mount

Graeme S. Mount is a professor of history at Laurentian University. He
is the author of Canada’s Enemies: Spies and Spying in the Peaceable
Kingdom and The History of Fort St. Joseph, and the co-author of
Invisible and Inaudible in Washington: American


This is a “must-read” for any serious scholar of Canadian foreign
relations in the post-Cold War period. Kofi Annan wrote the foreword,
Lloyd Axworthy contributed the introduction and one of the articles, and
“practitioners” from the Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade—not theorists from universities—wrote the rest.
The book deals with Canadian involvement in Rwanda, Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Haiti, Guatemala, and Angola, as well as with the 1999 air campaign on
behalf of Kosovo. Subjects include globalization, the 1997 Treaty of
Ottawa on the banning of landmines, war-affected children, peacekeeping,
the international criminal court, and terrorism. (The article by Victor
Rakmil mentions several instances of Canadians abroad who were victims
of terrorism, but there is no mention of September 11, 2001, presumably
because the manuscript went to press before that date.)

Credible as the book is, it is the work of insiders. Regarding the 1999
Kosovo war, Paul Heinbecker and Rob McRae say: “In the end, all share
in the satisfaction of knowing that a great wrong was righted, and that
Canada made a difference in the righting of it.” There might have been
some discussion regarding the merits (or otherwise) of using ground
forces in the fulfilment of that happy outcome. Might the lives of
innocent civilians have been saved? What would the estimated cost to
NATO’s armies have been? Regarding the landmines treaty, there is a
passing reference to Princess Diana’s opposition to those weapons on
page 37, but might public grief over her death in late August 1997 have
accelerated the timing of the treaty in Ottawa barely three months
later? Might it have increased the number of signatories?

The picture collection is impressive: victims of landmines who have
lost their legs, the RCMP in action in Haiti, Mozambican women voting
(as Canadian monitors watched) in their country’s first election since
the end of the civil war.

Given that these pages contain so much valuable information about
Canadian actions in so much of the world, it is unfortunate that the
book lacks an index.


“Human Security and the New Diplomacy: Protecting People, Promoting Peace,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 16, 2024,