Canadian Foreign Policy and Namibian Independence, 1977-1990
Namibia's independence in March 1990 marked the culmination of over a hundred years of struggle against colonial rule. For the last thirteen years, 1977 to 1990, Canada had been involved in the international efforts to release Namibia from South Africa's control. As Canada had little economic or strategic ties to either Namibia or South Africa, the motivation for these efforts was obviously different from the motivation of some of the other countries involved, such as the United States and the United Kingdom. The fact that Canada's efforts were channelled through the United Nations and the Commonwealth is also significant as these organisations had not been seen as being effective in their efforts to achieve a solution to the question of Namibian independence. The fact that active involvement by Canada in the Namibian question even occurred, and the manner in which this goal was pursued leads one to question the motives for Canadian involvement, the methods used, and the resources devoted to securing a peaceful solution to the conflict. Canada's status as a "middle power" seems to provide most of the answers to these questions, as it explains why Canada would want to become involved in the issue when it did, and why Canada played the roles and provided the types of assistance to the process which resulted in Namibia's independence. This thesis will examine the middle power theory and the kind of foreign policy behaviour that one can expect from a middle power. Subsequent chapters will review Canada's participation in the issue, focusing on the period of active involvement (1977-1990), and relate the expectations to the roles assumed and the assistance actually provided by Canada. In doing so, it will be shown that the middle power theory is suitable as a means of analyzing Canadian foreign policy and that Canada's performance vis-a-vis Namibian independence throughout the period in question is best explained using the middle power framework.