Australia and Canada. Middle powers in a multipolar world or something more?
Essay from the year 2014 in the subject Politics - International Politics - Region: Other States, grade: 73, University of Portsmouth, course: International Relations, language: English, abstract: The term 'middle power' has been consistently used in international relations and foreign policy analysis. However, scholars argue that it remains a 'deceptively ambiguous' term (Chapnick, 1999, pp. 73-74). Australia and Canada among other nations constantly project themselves as middle powers in the world, and the leaders of these countries always express the significance of their role as middle powers in global affairs. Nevertheless, this paper observes that the term 'middle power' is relative because states classified as middle powers in one approach could be small powers in another, and are dependent on their relative capacity to contribute to a given situation. This paper adopts a comparative analysis of Australia and Canada's foreign policy ambitions, and examines whether either or both countries befit a middle power status on the world stage. Employing Cooper, Higgott and Nossal's 'behavioural' approach, the paper contends that Australia and Canada are middle powers in a multipolar world; taking into account the relative decline of US hegemony and relative rise of China and others such as the BRICS. The paper demonstrates that Australia and Canada's middle power diplomacies sometimes adopt a coalition-building with other 'like-minded' countries as a key feature that distinguishes them from other middle powers. The study is divided into three sections. The first section will establish the meaning and characteristics of a middle power. The second section seeks to investigate the agencies and structures that enable or limit a middle power's foreign policy ambitions. The final section will conduct a comparative analysis of the middle power status of Australia and Canada. Born in Ghana, Divine S. K. Agbeti moved to the UK in 2005 and joined the British Army. As a soldier, he deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and later trained as a Combat Human Resource Administrator. He decided, in 2012, to pursue a full-time study at the University of Portsmouth and graduated with First Class Honours in International Relations. Following his excellent performance at Portsmouth, he gained a scholarship to study at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) where he graduated with MSc International Relations (Research).
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