A Two-Edged Sword

The Navy as an Instrument of Canadian Foreign Policy


In the first major study of the Royal Canadian Navy’s contribution to foreign policy, Nicholas Tracy takes a comprehensive look at the paradox that Canada faces in participating in a system of collective defence as a means of avoiding subordination to other countries. Created in 1910 to support Canadian autonomy, the Royal Canadian Navy has played an important role in defining Canada’s relationship with the United Kingdom, the United States, and NATO. Initially involved with participation in Imperial and Commonwealth defence, the RCN’s role shifted following the Second World War to primarily ensuring the survival of the NATO alliance and deflecting American influence over Canada. Tracy demonstrates the ways in which the Navy’s priorities have realigned since the end of the Cold War, this time partnering with the US and NATO navies in global policing. Insightful, detailed, and grounded in solid historical scholarship, A Two-Edged Sword presents a complete portrait of the shifting relevance and future of a cornerstone of Canadian defence.


"Nicholas Tracy's comprehensive and thoroughly researched book is a must-have for those interested in maritime affairs. Although some readers may prefer a concise version, Tracy's unique insight into current naval thinking and the direction of Canadian fo

"For me, this was a deeply intriguing book that begs several more detailed readings, and it will enjoy a privileged place in my library. It is very highly recommended for all those who have a role in managing the civil-military interface (not only maritim

"This work will be of interest to anyone working in the whole international relations area. Its particular value is that it gives strong historical analysis through a long time span, and is equally strong on major current issues whose importance will likely grow in the future. " Roger Sarty, author of The Maritime Defence of Canada

"Tracy provides a major contribution in arguably one of the most thorough political examinations of the Royal Canadian Navy from its birth to the present day. .. Tracy's study not only provides a valuable narrative of the history of the RCN but also opens