The empire’s apprentice

democ warsThe New Democracy Wars: The Politics of North American
Democracy Promotion in the Americas
Neil A Burron
2012, Ashgate
185 pages, hardback

AS IF we did not already suspect Canada of being the empire’s apprentice in the Americas, this timely and well argued book confirms it by adding fleshy historical and analytical detail to the study of “democracy promotion” as a political and economic tool long employed by the powerful northern states throughout the hemisphere. Neil Burron’s timely analysis examines a theme that has long exercised political scientists throughout Latin America and the Caribbean yet has so often passed by their peers in the the US and Canada who have exerted an all-powerful intellectual influence over the social sciences since the Cold War. But as the relative influence of the US diminishes throughout the Americas and globally, its model of “democracy” and the methods by which it has promoted this throughout its long reign are coming under increasing scrutiny. Burron’s book might be said to be one of the first really candid examples of this trend in the developed north. It asks uncomfortable questions of Canadians about their country’s role in the western hemisphere and how its foreign policy has been brought in line with that of its southern neighbour. A truly democratic assessment of this process would begin to unpick the motives of this distorted relationship in an effort to determine who it is within Canadian society that benefits most from such a loss of traditional sovereignty.