There is a new global reality. The world is changing, and so there must be a major shift in economic and political alliances.
Until last year, the EU was pushing hard at surpassing the United States economically with a fast growing (2.6%) GDP of $18 Trillion (in nominal terms), with China not far behind at $12 Trillion and still growing at almost 7% per year. The U.S. by comparison has been growing at a meager 1.6% with a GDP close to $20 Trillion.
Then everything changed. First the Brits voted to leave the EU. This would bring down the overall size of the ‘nominal’ EU market by some $2.5 Trillion. And Trump was voted in the U.S. and with that, there was a systematic disengagement from many global agreements and treaties – like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Accord – by the U.S.
Trump’s elite backers argued that the European timid response to Russia’s penetration of Ukraine, combined with their lack of meaningful investments in their own defense, and separate foreign (and economic) policies vis-à-vis the middle east (i.e. Iran sanctions) and with a host of other US hating countries (like Cuba, Venezuela etc.) were frankly disturbing. Ultimately, they argued, this would result in a massive (almost cataclysmic) shift in U.S. policy. Rightly, or wrongly, Americans feel hated and undermined by mainland Europeans… aided I am sure, with tapped cell phone conversations of Europe’s leaders.
Separate from all this, there is a perceived failure of other strategic moves the U.S. has made to counter its decline. Among these, is NAFTA. Once sold as a key instrument in guaranteeing faster economic growth for North America but has not lived up to its promise. Mexico’s core growth rate has slumped from what was once 10% in the 80’s to 2.5% more recently. Canada, too, has been under 2% recently. Meanwhile, many U.S. jobs and investments have flown south of the border, leaving America’s heartland suffering and declining to what many perceive as ‘third world status’. America’s growth and advancement has all been coastal.
The ‘general’ thinking now in some British and Trumpland quarters, is that if the U.S. is to have an economic union with anyone, it must be with nations that will not steal jobs (i.e. not have low wage rates like Mexico); and be value-added in terms of their ability to amplify and project U.S. products, services, foreign policy, etc. Mexico, has been unable to project US products and influence into the rest of Latin America. Mexico’s own sluggish economy, has also failed to insulate the U.S. from the continuous penetration of illegal migrants from the central America. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence, these migrants are now, no longer considered vital to the U.S. economy going forward. (Which is why Trump is talking, about a wall, increasing deportations and (as he put it) decreasing immigration from shit holes.). The Trump administration sees Mexico as an enemy, not a partner.
This Trumptard thinking then goes something like this: let’s give more ‘favored’ status to key partners in major markets like for example Britain (in the European Market) and Australia (in the Pacific Market) – as platforms for the United States.
There is therefore, now, an emerging thesis, that the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand should form an even deeper political and economic bond that can rival China, and the European Union. And that such an Anglo alliance would build on a shared cultural and historic foundation that would best guarantee the continuous prosperity of the group.
There are some clues about this (till now not overtly stated) thesis in John O’ Sullivan’s recent article in the National Review. This article is important because O’Sullivan is a consummate insider. During the 1980s, he was a senior policy writer and speechwriter in 10 Downing Street for Margaret Thatcher when she was British prime minister and remained close to her up to her death. O’Sullivan served from 2008–2012 as vice-president and executive editor of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. And he is currently president of the Danube Institute and editor of the Australian monthly magazine Quadrant. He is also a member of the board of advisors for the Global Panel Foundation, a respected NGO that works behind the scenes in crisis areas around the world.
He declares in this article that there is after all “a deep and unique infrastructure of cooperation among anglosphere governments at all levels: military, diplomatic, intelligence, and (top) political. That cooperation could be seen in such things as the high level of interoperability between U.K. and U.S. forces; the transfer of senior officers between the Royal and U.S. Marines; the regular attendance of the CIA’s London station chief at meetings of the U.K.’s Joint Intelligence Committee; and the worldwide intelligence electronic-eavesdropping system, Echelon, shared among the U.S., the U.K., New Zealand, Australia, and Canada.
And, it grows in the cultural soil of the Anglosphere. This is one of those concepts that are hard to define but easy to grasp in practice. Here’s my thumbnail definition: The Anglosphere is the sum of all the contacts and relationships — governmental, corporate, and individual; economic, cultural, political, and personal — between the various countries of the British Commonwealth and the United States.
It therefore includes such varied phenomena as the high level of private U.K. investment in the U.S. (and vice versa), the legal relationship between Caribbean countries and the U.K. Privy Council, the success of British and Australian actors in Hollywood, the extensive mutual immigration between Anglosphere countries, and much else. These links have been intensified by the spread of communications via the Internet, which has abolished the tyranny of distance and rendered relationships based on geographical proximity less important.
It is this rich nexus of relationships, increasingly shaping a common culture, that is the fertile soil in which the special relationship between governments, militaries, intelligence agencies, etc. has flourished through the years. The special relationship works because the decision-makers in all its countries inhabit the same cultural atmosphere and therefore tend to see the world in the same way. Compared with other countries, Anglosphere governments exhibit a kind of muscular liberalism that seeks a peaceful world through trade but is prepared to use military intervention when necessary to enforce its values. Its motto was laid down by Palmerston almost 200 years ago: “Trade without the flag where possible; trade with the flag where necessary.” And if we think of the special relationship as a single country — it isn’t, because Anglosphere countries tend to be jealous of their sovereignty — we will be surprised to find that it has dominated the world for two centuries. What of its future?”
So, the plan is, for Britain to find a way to get a good ‘trade’ deal with the EU (via its Brexit negotiations), and for Australia to do the same in the Pacific, with both groups then tie up with the U.S. and Canada to create a supra-regional entity that will surpass Chinese and European economic (and political) influence in the future.
John O’Sullivan says, “This outcome is likely. It will be guaranteed, however, if the May government can be certain of favorable free-trade agreements after Brexit, thereby reassuring nervous U.K. opinion. That was why Mrs. May’s visit to Washington was so important. If the Trump administration really was offering such a deal, then she would make a giant step toward a successful Brexit — and a post-Brexit grand strategy for Global Britain.
Some of the strategists who have developed the Anglosphere concept in recent years — including historian Andrew Roberts, economist Andrew Lilico, and above all the “father of the Anglosphere,” James C. Bennett — have been fleshing out the idea of CANZUK (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K.).
This would be an alliance encompassing freer trade and investment rules, liberalized migration policies, military cooperation, and other forms of close cooperation. The countries’ relations are already very close — they are four of the “five eyes” in Echelon; the U.K. and Canada share embassies; the defense and foreign-policy chiefs of Australia and the U.K. meet regularly at AUKMIN (Australia–United Kingdom Ministerial Consultations); and, above all, polls show that the populations of all four countries would be happy with more migrants from the other three. From the U.S. standpoint, CANZUK would be a more powerful partner, with the second-largest joint defense budget in the world, while the countries in CANZUK would be negotiating with the U.S. on a more nearly equal basis. And for Britain it would be a natural extension of its traditional grand strategy, with none of the EU’s intrusions on sovereignty.”
Reading between the lines, it is not clear to me that this is in fact in America’s best interests. It may still be a ‘British’ dream. But, never-the-less, its an important concept that must be analyzed.
If true, it would suggest that the same forces that pushed for Brexit, may have also pushed the U.S. to vote for Trump, who appears to be pushing the same theme domestically. Forget about Russian intervention, was there a “British” intervention too? That’s in addition to an AIPAC intervention?
Britain’s interests, or for that matter Australia’s interests DO NOT coincide with U.S. interests – necessarily. Iran is a perfect case in point. It was, Britain after-all who pushed America to undertake Operation Ajax, in 1952, and then to bring on Khomeini in 1979. Both moves, are now widely seen as major foreign policy mistakes for the U.S. And, it is now unlikely that ordinary Iranians will re-bond with the U.S. if both Britain (and Israel) are both hanging off American pants. The U.S. needs to ditch both and at least appear independent.
Britain has a lot of nasty colonial history to still answer for. The breakdown of the “Commonwealth” and the demise of British exports is no coincidence. If the U.S. wants to reconnect with India too, as a counter step to China’s rise, it needs to be somewhat disconnected with Britain, too.
Or take the case of Iraq. The U.S. spilt treasure and blood, meanwhile British oil companies have the lion share of Iraq’s oil fields today. U.S. is now $7 trillion dollars poorer; while Britain has found a replacement of its dwindling North Sea oil fields.
While there is functional value in operating companies and bureaucracies across the Anglo-sphere, let’s not forget the Brits (or Australians) are not Saints, and certainly not the hub of future economic activity. The Germans, Japanese, and now the Chinese are driving innovation in many key areas. The U.S. would be remiss to sideline its connections elsewhere.
In some ways, the rise of the United States, after the second world war, was very much because it was seen in many places as the ‘anti-Britain’, as an alternative to an alliance with Britain. Buying American, was always, at the cost of buying British goods. Planes, cars, turbines … all moved across the Atlantic, as Britain’s hold of its colonies relaxed. And now, as U.S. foreign policy has negatively impacted so many countries, the same shift is happening towards China. U.S. economic sanctions are forcing Chinese sales too.
These grand strategic visions, posed by Brexiteers end up not adding up to much, when the whole rest of the world has figured you out. The U.S. is better off not rubbing shoulders with nations whose history and currency lies upon theft, deceit, and oppression. Sleep with dogs, you get up with flees.
The opportunity, as John O’Sullivan reports for the “Anglo-sphere” to dominate for the next century; is in fact a stupid concept. The rest of the world, won’t simply sit still and allow it. At the end of the day, summing Britain’s, Australia’s and Canada’s economy – doesn’t really add up to much ($ 8 Trillion); in comparison with the rest of the world’s $70 Trillion global market. U.S. companies, and by default, U.S. administrations would be idiotic to ignore the rest of the world, and somehow give the Brits preferential treatment. There will for sure be sales offices in London, but that’s it. You might, if you’re lucky get a British agent to sell something, in between a tea-break, and reading the Sun newspaper. They aren’t known for hard work.
After leaving the EU, the Brits need the U.S. much more than the U.S. needs Britain. This, my friends, is the unfortunate truth. And leaving the EU is a one-way ticket. In some ways, it now seems like the tables have turned on Britain, and in many ways, Brexit appears to have been the dumbest move the Brits could have made. And, my prediction is that Trump regime, by the way, will soon be supplanted. He’ll be in jail soon. All this maneuvering, connivance, and strategic thinking won’t add up to much.
The Anglo-sphere is on its way out! This will NOT be another Anglo dominated century. Like it or not, we are on our way to a multi-polar world, where no one ‘alliance’ will be able to dictate outcomes to the rest of the world. And rightly so, after all the destruction, blood-shed and oppression the Anglo-sphere have caused these past 100 years.
Go scheme all you want: “Long-live the rise of the Chinese, Europeans, Indians, Persians, Latins … and a fairer, more decent world”. By any analysis, the Brits have screwed themselves, and have no real concrete plans on what to do next. The U.S. needs to treat all nations, all people fairly, squarely and decently. And very soon, the U.S. too, will have its OWN Anglo population become a minority. There is no need – no imperative – to give “Anglo’s” preferential status. The U.S. must stay neutral and open to all.