About Paul Robinson

Associate Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Paul Robinson

The Putin Book Club

“We must love all nations as we love our own,” writes Russian philosopher Vladimir Sergeevich Solovyov in his 1897 book The Justification of the Good. The “greatness and value” of nationality, he claims, lies “not in itself taken in the abstract, but in something universal, supernational … Nations live and act not for their own sake … but for th… Read More

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Reaping the Whirlwind in Ukraine

The Russian media had a good laugh on March 2 at the expense of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who denounced Russia by saying, “[y]ou just don’t invade another country on a phony pretext in order to assert your interests.” Kerry’s remark brought to mind John McCain’s similar criticism of Russia after its 2008 conflict with Georgia: “In the twenty-first c… Read More

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Four Myths About Russia

The forthcoming Olympic Games in Sochi have served as a hook for Western commentators to indulge in a prolonged round of Russia-bashing. A collection of negative preconceptions about Russia continues to dominate discussions of that country. Four of them are particularly prevalent, but none are true. Here are the reasons why. Myth 1: Vladimir Putin has tu… Read More

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In Face of Ukrainian Unrest, Doing Nothing is the Best Approach

One of the strongest barriers to our understanding of world events is the tendency to view what happens in other countries as a sort of morality play in which good fights evil. This way of looking at the world encourages us to pick sides and interfere in conflicts which do not really concern us, in the process often making things worse. The reactions to the deter… Read More

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Russia is a Beacon of Sanity About Syria

Published in the Ottawa Citizen, September 9, 2013 Russia-bashing and Putin-bashing, always fairly popular, have been much in fashion of late. Having lived for a while in Russia and before that the Soviet Union, as well as having devoted far too many hours to the study of Russian history, I might, in the past, have been sympathetic. Nevertheless, it is hard t… Read More

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There is No ‘Sacred Duty’ to Canada’s Veterans

Published in the Ottawa Citizen, Aug. 5, 2013 Seriously wounded soldiers should enjoy no special status or privilege with regard to medical care,” writes Michael Gross of Haifa University, who is probably the world’s leading authority on military medical ethics. “Once they cannot return to duty, the critically wounded lose their unique entitlement to s… Read More

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How Not to Spend $75 Billion

Humanitarian motives are given as the justification for a whole series of foreign policy endeavours nowadays, from the most peaceful forms of foreign aid through to full-scale military invasion and occupation of foreign countries. How is that working out?  Two books published this week provide some answers. The first book, titled How to Spend $75 Billio… Read More

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Where is Canada’s Ron Paul?

Ten years ago this month, almost the entire political establishment of the United States united in supporting the invasion of Iraq. On the political right, one lone voice stood out against it: the then Texas congressman Ron Paul. This weekend, Dr. Paul is keynote speaker at the annual convention of the conservative Manning Centre here in Ottawa. His presen… Read More

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‘Canada First’ Military Spending a Surrender to Bad Policy

Published in the Globe and Mail, February 14, 2013 We have in this country a federal government that increasingly is engaged in trying to determine which business, which regions, which industries will succeed, and which will not, through a whole range of economic development, regional development corporate subsidization programs. I believe that in the… Read More

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Military Keynesianism: Wrong Then, Wrong Now

In November 1906, the Russian Council of State Defence met to discuss its new naval shipbuilding plan, the centrepiece of which was a proposal to build two new battleships for the Baltic Fleet. Presenting the plan, the Naval Minister, Admiral Birilev, admitted that there was no overarching defence policy which justified the shipbuilding program, but arg… Read More

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