Canada–United States relations

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Relations between Canada and the United States have spanned more than two centuries. This includes a shared British colonial heritage, warfare during the 1770s and 1812, and the eventual development of one of the most successful international relationships in the modern world. Each is the other's chief economic partner and large-scale tourism and migration between the two nations has increased the similarities.

The most serious breach in the relationship was the War of 1812, which saw an American invasion of then British North America and counter-invasions from British-Canadian forces. The border was demilitarized after the war and, apart from minor raids, has remained peaceful. Military collaboration began during World War II and continued throughout the Cold War on both a bilateral basis through NORAD and through multilateral participation in NATO. A high volume of trade and migration between the United States and Canada has generated closer ties, especially after the signing of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994.

Canada and the United States are currently the world's largest trading partners,[1] share the world's longest unmilitarized border,[2] and have significant interoperability within the defence sphere. Recent difficulties have included repeated trade disputes, environmental concerns, Canadian concern for the future of oil exports, and issues of illegal immigration and the threat of terrorism.

The foreign policies of the neighbours have been closely aligned since the Cold War and after. Canada has disagreed with American policies regarding the Vietnam War, the status of Cuba, the Iraq War, Missile Defense, and the War on Terrorism. A serious diplomatic debate is whether the Northwest Passage is in international waters or under Canadian jurisdiction.

There are close cultural ties between modern day Canada and the United States, advanced in large part because both nations predominately speak English. There are also historical ties between the respective Francophone populations. Pop culture has depicted and parodied the efforts of both nations to solidify their cultural uniqueness-- primarily by Canada, as its population and economy are roughly one tenth that of the United States'-- to deter international perception that Americans and Canadians are virtually identical. Canada remains Americans' favorite foreign nation according to a recent Gallup poll.[3] Nevertheless there remain Canadian fears of being overwhelmed by its neighbour. James Tagg reports that Canadian university students have a profound fear that "Canadian culture, and likely Canadian sovereignty, will be overwhelmed."[4] The two economies have increasingly merged since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1994.


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