Canada, the United States and the Not-So-Special Relationship

Sweeping view of US/Canada border crossing at Blaine, Washington with rippling water, train tracks, trees, green grass, and the Peace Arch monument.

Photo credit:
Detail of "An Imperfect Seam"
by Sky Bressette

Event Details




Online: Zoom



Brought to you by:

Center for Canadian-American Studies, WWU Alumni Association


Check out this video to watch the Canada, the United States and the Not-So-Special Relationship.

Historical, social, political, economic, security, environmental, and cultural explanations specific to North America have dominated the discourse explaining why Canada and the U.S. developed such close ties. A lot of emphasis has been placed on domestic factors as the overriding or exclusive variables underpinning the relationship, but one element that has largely been absent in our understanding of Canada-U.S. engagement is the prevailing distribution of power in the international political system.

This presentation maintains that the number of great powers - and who they are - is arguably the most crucial element in shaping and influencing the direction of relations between the two nations.


Christopher Kirkey has white skin, brown eyes, and curly black hair. He wears a suit and tie.

Christopher Kirkey

Christopher Kirkey is Director of the Center for the Study of Canada and Institute on Quebec Studies at State University of New York College at Plattsburgh. A scholar of comparative foreign policy and international relations theory, he has been a professor at Bridgewater State University, Columbia University, and SUNY Plattsburgh (2002-Present). Dr. Kirkey will be WWU’s Center for Canadian-American Studies Distinguished Scholar-In-Residence in early May 2023. 

Accommodations and Other Details

Contact the WWU Alumni Association for this event by calling (360) 650-3353 or emailing

There will be auto-captions available for this event.