Global order, US–China relations, and Chinese behaviour: The ground is shifting, Canada must adjust

AuthorPascale Massot
Date01 December 2019
Publication Date01 December 2019
SubjectPolicy Brief
Policy Brief
Global order, US–China
relations, and Chinese
behaviour: The ground
is shifting, Canada
must adjust
Pascale Massot
School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa, Ottawa,
Ontario, Canada
Three profound shifts are coming to a head in the twenty-first century: shifts in the
global order, shifts in the US–China relationship, and shifts in Chinese behaviour. These
shifts are compelling Canada to reframe its relations with China. First, at the global level,
the changing balance of power is leading us toward an era of polycentric global gov-
ernance. Second, there is deepening antagonism in US–China relations. Third, China’s
international posture has become more assertive. Canada has yet to adjust, but it is well
placed to develop a global worldview in sync with twenty-first century realities. The
Canada–China relationship needs to be transformed into an adaptive, modular, and
strategic relationship, in our dealings with China at the global level, in triangulating
our relationships with the US and China, and within the confines of our bilateral rela-
tionship. This paper tackles each area in turn.
Canada, China, foreign policy, US, power transition, global order, public opinion,
US–China trade war
Since the middle of the twentieth century, Canada has operated under the twin
advantages of an international balance of power dominated by our neighbour and
closest partner, as well as a global order in large part constituted of values and
principles close to our own, in which we have exerted a sizable influence. In the
twenty-first century, however, three profound shifts are coming to a head: shifts in
International Journal
2019, Vol. 74(4) 600–611
!The Author(s) 2019
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/0020702019894991
Corresponding author:
Pascale Massot, University of Ottawa, School of Political Studies, 120 University Private, Ottawa, Ontario,
K1N 6N5, Canada.

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