Smoky Mountains Sunrise
Showing posts with label Anglo-American Alliance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anglo-American Alliance. Show all posts

Thursday, March 27, 2014

British Defense Secretary: Why Britain and America Must Remain Partners of Choice in Defense

Both the United Kingdom and the United States face military budget constraints. Forces on both sides of the Atlantic must adapt to meet the global threats to peace and security. British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will address how Britain and America are collaborating on strategy and mutual capabilities as well as how the United Kingdom is positioning its Armed Forces for 21st Century security priorities. He will also reflect on British defense reforms that have already been enacted and how these policies are complementary to those of the U.S. -- a strong and like-minded partner. As the United States re-balances to focus on the Asia-Pacific region, Secretary Hammond will examine the need for Europe to realize its responsibilities in its own backyard -- including the crisis in the Ukraine -- and how these and future events do, and will, require deeper and closer collaboration between close allies.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

On This Day in History: When Winston Churchill Met Mark Twain

By Joseph Tartakovsky

Mark Twain
On the evening of December 12, 1900, in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, 26-year-old Lieutenant Winston S. Churchill arrived to speak about his adventures as a war correspondent in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War. He had already been an officer in the army, serving in Sudan and Egypt, but came to South Africa as a journalist. Shortly after arriving, a train carrying him was attacked, and Churchill the journalist led a brave but futile defense against the well-armed burghers. Churchill was captured and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp, but within a month he made a daring escape. Hunted through Pretoria with a bounty on his head, he hid in mines and railway cars, eventually to return to England a hero.

"The grand ballroom was crowded to the doors," said the December 13, 1900 New York Times. Churchill's gift for language was already known--he had books to his credit--but some of the attendees, at least, must have been drawn by his introducer, Mr. Mark Twain.

Mark Twain, now 65 and internationally famous, began:
Winston Churchill
Mr. Churchill and I do not agree on the righteousness of the South African war, but that is of no consequence.... For years I have been a self-appointed missionary, and have wrought zealously for my cause--the joining together of America and the motherland in bonds of friendship, esteem and affection--an alliance of the heart which should permanently and beneficently influence the political relations of the two countries. Wherever I have stood before a gathering of Americans or Englishmen, in England, India, Australia or elsewhere, I have urged my mission, and warmed it up with compliments to both countries and pointed out how nearly alike the two peoples are in character and spirit. They ought to be united....

...yet I think England sinned in getting into a war in South Africa which she could have avoided without loss of credit or dignity--just as I think we have sinned in crowding ourselves into a war in the Philippines on the same terms.

Mr. Churchill will tell you about the war in South Africa, and he is competent--he fought and wrote through it himself. And he made a record there which would be a proud one for a man twice his age. By his father he is English, by his mother he is American--to my mind the blend which makes the perfect man. We are now on the friendliest terms with England. Mainly through my missionary efforts I suppose; and I am glad. We have always been kin: kin in blood, kin in religion, kin in representative government, kin in ideals, kin in just and lofty purposes; and now we are kin in sin, the harmony is complete, the blend is perfect, like Mr. Churchill himself, whom I now have the honor to present to you.
"Mr. Churchill was greeted cordially by the audience," said the New York Times. "He showed nervousness at first, but soon forgot himself in his subject, and held the attention of his listeners by a clear recital of some of the most striking episodes of the struggle between Boer and Briton. A touch of humor, introduced half unconsciously, lightened up the lecture considerably."

Churchill returned to England, became a renowned politician, was appointed the empire's Home Secretary, and held a number of high posts during World War I. Twenty years later, he would save Western civilization. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. In 1930 he published a biography, My Early Life: 1874-1904, in which, three decades after his speech in New York, he recalled his encounter with Twain:
Throughout my journeyings I received the help of eminent Americans¦and my opening lecture in New York was under the auspices of no less a personage than 'Mark Twain' himself. I was thrilled by this famous companion of my youth. He was now very old and snow-white, and combined with a noble air a most delightful style of conversation. Of course we argued about the [Boer] war. After some interchanges I found myself beaten back to the citadel 'My country right or wrong.' 'Ah,' said the old gentleman, 'When the poor country is fighting for its life, I agree. But this was not your case.' I think however I did not displease him; for he was good enough at my request to sign every one of thirty volumes of his works for my benefit; and in the first volume he inscribed the following maxim intended, I daresay, to convey a gentle admonition: 'To do good is noble; to teach others to do good is nobler, and no trouble.'
And there you have it: Twain on Churchill, and Churchill on Twain. We celebrated both their birthdays yesterday. But more celebrating needs to be done. Tomorrow night, almost exactly 105 years later, in a hotel's grand ballroom, at a dinner convened on Winston Churchill's account, another Mark--like Twain, a renowned and witty man of letters, and, like Churchill, a man who has sounded the alarm against our age's totalitarian aggressors--is to speak. This is Mark Steyn. And his introducer? The parallels amaze: a fellow dedicated to preserving the memory and legacy of both great men: Bruce Sanborn.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

In Tribute This Veterans Day to All Who Served and in Remembrance of Those Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice

Here's to the Heroes Who Never Came Home

And Our Thanks to the Allied Serving Forces - US, Canadian and British Brothers in Arms

Abide With Me

"When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Another Opportunity for Obama to Sabotage the Anglo-American Alliance

It was another opportunity for the Obama Administration to show their contempt for the historic "special relationship" between the United Kingdom and the United States; and it was an opportunity America's ambassador to the Court of Saint James seized when he snubbed a major dinner at London's Guildhall last night honoring Ronald Reagan's centenary.  As reported by the London Evening Standard, the event boasted four British Cabinet ministers, an ex-Prime Minister, nine US congressmen, a senator and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice."

We have not minced words in expressing our contempt for the current American leadership.  But we wonder if these repeated insults to America's most faithful ally are an expression of new U.S. foreign policy, another opportunity for this Marxist president to deliberately sabotage America's strength and role in the world, or just the fruit of a government in the hands of vulgar, classless thugs who just don't know how to behave in polite company, much less on the world stage.  We suspect they are a result of all three, and further proof, were any needed, that this vile, anti-American regime must be removed root and stem from every office of government at the first opportunity.
The riddle of the missing US ambassador as London toasts Ronald Reagan centenary
Missing man: American ambassador Louis B Susman hosted a VIP breakfast but did not attend the celebration dinner.
From The London Evening Standard
By Joe Murphy, Political Editor
It was one of the most glittering events of the year, attracting some of the greatest names in American and British politics.
But as the British roasted lamb and the sunny Californian chardonnay were cleared away, one notable absence was the hottest topic among guests at the Guildhall dinner in honour of Ronald Reagan's centenary.

Where was the American ambassador to London, Louis B Susman?

He had, it soon transpired, been invited. But despite a guest list that boasted four British Cabinet ministers, ex-Prime Minister, nine US congressmen and a senator and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, there was no sign of President Obama's representative in London.

And in a warm atmosphere evoking the closest days of the special Anglo-US relationship of the Eighties, the surprise at Mr Susman's absence turned to annoyance.

"Our ambassador should be here," said Lynn de Rothschild, the American entrepreneur who is married to Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and was one of Hillary Clinton's key fundraisers in 2008 as well as a supporter of several Republican presidential candidates. "This was an historic dinner to mark Reagan's centenary and to celebrate him as the man who ended the Cold War. What could not be more important?

"Why is our ambassador not here on Independence Day? No excuse. How is it that America is not represented in this room by our ambassador? It is appalling that no representative of our government is in this room. This has the feel of petty partisanship."

Where indeed? Mr Susman had been at the unveiling of a statue of Reagan in Grosvenor Square earlier in the day, and had hosted a generous breakfast for the entire VIP visiting party and the military band, so he had certainly not snubbed the grand centenary events. According to the US embassy spokesman: "Ambassador Susman was pleased to be invited to the dinner but was unable to attend."

Mr Susman missed some sparkling speeches and anecdotes, announced by trumpet blasts, including Foreign Secretary William Hague recounting a gem from the Royal Wedding: "I told an Arab Ambassador, 'look, a million people are heading for the palace - and we're totally relaxed'." London MP Greg Hands said: "It was a non-partisan occasion to celebrate a great American and President's 100th birthday."

Among the VIPs were John Major, Defence Secretary Liam Fox, who sat next to Ms Rice, Home Secretary Theresa May, Commons leader Sir George Young, former ambassador Robert Tuttle, ex-California governor Pete Wilson and the company heads of BP and Visa.

The menu reflected the Anglo-US alliance, starting with a bouquet of English asparagus, organic smoked salmon, baby leaf salad and dill hollandaise, followed by duet of new season lamb, served with Beringer chardonnay from the Napa Valley and Peachy Canyon zinfandel, also from California.

Friday, May 14, 2010

William Hague Hails 'Unbreakable Alliance' Between Britain and USA

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, has hailed the “unbreakable alliance” between Britain and the USA following talks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington.

From The Telegraph

By Alex Spllius

On his first trip abroad since being appointed to head the Foreign Office on Tuesday, Mr Hague said the US was “without doubt the most important ally of the UK” and welcomed President Barack Obama’s description of the “extraordinary special relationship” between the two countries.

In a joint press conference following talks dominated by Afghanistan, Iran and the economic crisis in the eurozone, Mrs Clinton said she was “very intrigued” by the outcome of last week’s election in the UK.

“We will continue to build on the deep and abiding trust that exists between the British and American people for a very long time,” said Mrs Clinton.

Mrs Clinton said that the General Election and the smooth transfer of power to the new coalition Government in the UK were “two powerful symbols of the enduring democratic traditions that our two nations share”.

She added: “We are very intrigued by, and will follow closely, the latest incarnation of this long democratic tradition.

“We are reminded again that our common values are the foundation of a historic alliance that really undergirds our commons aspirations and common concerns.”

Read the rest of this entry >>

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nothing Special About Britain? Britain!?

The following by Jonah Goldberg is a profound insight. Barack Hussein Obama's boorish treatment of the British Prime Minister and the return of the Churchill bust may reflect quite a bit more than just the bad manners of a Chicago community hustler. They reflect contempt for America's closest ally because that is the nation from which our language, culture, laws, literature and values come. How could one value the source of so much that is good in America, if one believes that America is deeply flawed and needs radical remaking?

As Tennyson wrote in his great narrative poem, Idylls of the King: "manners are not idle, but the fruit of loyal nature and of noble mind."

From National Review Online
By Jonah Goldberg

Re: the anonymous Obama administration dufus who said: "There’s nothing special about Britain. You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment."

As an unapologetic, full-throated Anglophile I find those comments idiotic, offensive, ahistorical, and in a certain sense anti-American.* I'm of course appalled.

But it's worth focusing on one aspect of this sentiment: It's idiocy. According to the liberal-realist school, some countries matter more than other countries because they are powerful and have the ability to adversely affect our national interest. According to the liberal-internationalist school, allies matter more than non-allies because grand international coalitions are the best way to do the wonderful things want to do on the world stage. So, China matters because it's a rising hegemon. Burkino Faso matters . . . eh, not so much. "Europe" matters because they are allies on security, global warming, human rights, etc. Well, Britain just happens to be our most important, reliable, and powerful ally.

So even if you take the pragmatist's razor to our shared history, culture, and all other romantic attachments to Great Britain, the bulldog still matters — a lot. In other words, to say that Britain isn't any more special than the other 190 countries in the world, you actually have to dislike Britain to the point where you're willing to suspend what are supposed to be your guiding principles and objectives about foreign policy.

* Just to be clear, what I mean by anti-American isn't a knee-jerk attack on anyone's patriotism. Rather, I simply mean that if you think the country that gave us our system of laws, our democratic tradition, our dominant culture, much of our greatest literature, and even our language is no more special than any backwater country which immiserates or brutalizes its people, then you must not think very much of America's culture, traditions, etc. either.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Please Accept My Apologies for the Boorish Behavior of Mr. Obama, My President.

From American Thinker
By Cliff Thier

To the people of Great Britain:

Please accept my apologies for the boorish behavior of Mr. Obama, my President.

His astonishingly downmarket gift to your Prime Minister is truly embarrassing. Mr. Obama should have treated Mr. Brown with far more respect than he did, not least because Mr. Brown represented the people of your nation.

Sadly -- for us -- it seems that no one ever taught Mr. Obama good manners or how to be a proper host. Worse, Mr. Obama apparently is ignorant of the history of your people and the lasting gifts that you have given to America.

Please let me thank you for those precious gifts.

Thank you for your gift of radical and dangerous ideas of freedom for which your people have fought and died.

Thank you for your gift of your navy's bringing to an end the Atlantic slave trade -- the first use of a nation's navy for a solely moral purpose.

Thank you for your gift of standing fast while standing alone against the terrible, murderous onslaught of the Nazis.

Thank you for your gift of standing shoulder to shoulder with the United States during the 70 years of costly -- but finally victorious -- war against the great sanguinary evil of Communism.

Thank you for your gift of comfort by standing first and strongest with us in the grim days after 9/11.

Thank you for your gift of sending real soldiers to fight and die alongside our men and women liberating the 45 million people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

And, thank you for your multitude of gifts of science, literature, art and music.

We will always be grateful for your friendship.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Reasserting Authentic Conservative Principles

The First Congress at Prayer.

Those feeling demoralized by the political choices confronting the American electorate would be well-served to read
President Eisenhower's Farewell Address and the following article by John Laughland, recently published by The Brussels Journal.

Even as conservatives survey the rubble and wreckage that the Bush Administration has made of the once-dominant conservative movement in the United States, we are being urged farther down a desolate road of accommodation and compromise. We are told to accept what we are offered because the alternative candidate will be so much worse. But the lesser of two evils is still evil, and compromise with evil is both morally wrong and will only further diminish "the shining city upon a hill."

It will be a long and difficult struggle to rebuild a political movement founded on belief in God-given "unalienable rights," liberty, limited government, and constitutionalism. However, when a wrong turn has been taken we do not get to our destination by continuing down the same road, but by turning back and correcting our mistake.

What Henry Kissinger calls the "new international architecture" is under construction. Conservatives may feel overwhelmed and tired, our tools are worn out, but we must resist it, knowing that we have what the totalitarians and secular internationalists do not, the power of Truth and a vision of a truly Christian civilization.

What I Believe: Washington as Dangerous as Brussels

By John Laughland

Ten years ago, I was vehemently pro-American. Like many British Conservatives (I use the capital ‘C’ deliberately, to denote supporters of The Conservative Party), I regarded the United States as almost the ideal society. More importantly, and also like many Conservatives, I regarded any questioning of the Anglo-American alliance as a taboo which was broken only by those whose views were dangerously and irredeemably left-wing. I believed that the main threat to my values came from the quasi-socialist political tradition of the European continent (a subject on which I wrote a book) and that the “Atlantic community” was the right response to, and defence from, that threat.

Now, ten years on, I have become completely the opposite. I am a consistent critic of American (and British) foreign policy and I have long since despaired of the Eurosceptic movement in Britain, especially on the Right, which excoriates France for an allegedly servile attitude towards Germany while at the same time demanding that Britain behave with the same servility towards Washington. British Tories say they defend British sovereignty against Brussels but they see nothing wrong in having Britain’s foreign and defence policy subjected entirely to America’s. Indeed, any suggestion that Britain should have an independent military policy, for instance by not belonging to NATO, is regarded as the wildest heresy.

The change, for me, began with the bombing of Iraq in December 1998 and was completed by the Kosovo war in 1999. I opposed both operations, partly out of a revulsion for militarism but mainly because the latter war was patently incompatible with the doctrine of national sovereignty. (Indeed, it was deliberately intended to be so.) I quickly came to the conclusion that Washington wanted to create a supra-national New World Order as dangerous for the freedom of nations as the equally supra-national super-structure being set up in Brussels.

I also had the opportunity, through my membership of the British Helsinki Human Rights Group (now defunct), to observe political developments throughout the post-Communist world from 1998 onwards. I saw how American political operatives, from the Left and the Right, worked to ensure the victory at elections of their favoured politicians, often at the expense of the popular will and often thereby bringing back to power old Communists or people involved in organised crime. Whether these operations were conducted by the left-wing National Democratic Institute or the right-wing International Republican Institute, they pursued the same policy of doing down patriotic politicians keen to protect their countries’ interests and instead brought to power those who were only too ready to sell them out, usually to American corporate interests. That they pursued the same policies is no surprise: both NDI and IRI and funded by the same government body, the National Endowment for Democracy, which must now count as one of the most professional “regime change” agencies in the history of the world.

It was of course Bill Clinton who fought the Kosovo war. But the same policy of aggressive foreign policy has been continued, and massively amplified, by George W. Bush. Where Clinton invoked the (bogus) claims of universal human rights for his wars, Bush invoked U.N. Security Council Resolutions (as his father had done in 1990) to justify his drive for absolute American hegemony in the name of an international system based on a complete confusion between international relations and policing – the “war on terror”. These plans have been amply laid out by politicians on the Left and Right in America, from Zbigniew Brzezinski to Paul Wolfowitz. But, just as each French president is worse than his predecessor, so the Clinton years now seen like a golden age.

Have I changed or has the world? To be sure, I have partly changed. Many of my political friends now are on the Left. My book on the Milosevic trial was published by a very left-wing publisher (Pluto Press, the former publishing house of the Socialist Workers’ Party) and the preface was written by the notoriously left-wing former US Attorney General, Ramsey Clark, who has embraced every anti-American cause from the Sandinistas to Saddam Hussein. Ten years ago, this would not have happened.

But the change in me is not that I have become left-wing. It is that I have ceased to think (I hope) in terms of taboos. Much of what passes for thought on the Right in Britain is in fact nothing other than the searching out of intellectual tram-lines on which to base one’s views. Opinions are severely hedged around with taboos. If someone is critical of America, for instance, he must be a Marxist. Having defended a number of deeply unpopular causes (especially that of the former Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic) I believe that I can say that my thinking is taboo-free and that I instead analyse matters not tribally but instead on the basis of the facts.

The facts, as I see them, is that the cause of conservatism has been decisively abandoned by the Right in Britain, America and elsewhere. The Right in those countries is simply in favour of big business and turbo-capitalism which, as Chesterton said, is simply a way of centralising power (and capital) on a par with Communism. In America, the link to the arms industry is particularly worrying, since of course the arms industry entertains a particularly close relationship with the state. The Right in America under George Bush has become statist both in the sense that it believes in ever greater defence spending, and also in the fact that it bases American national identity on the country’s military in a way reminiscent of Germany-Prussia in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Even more profoundly, I am convinced that the neo-conservatism which unites both Bush and Clinton (including Hillary) is a revolutionary creed which has nothing whatever to do with conservatism. I have argued this view at length in The Spectator and The American Conservative. To put it briefly, neo-conservatism is a profoundly revolutionary ideology which betrays all the characteristics I, as a Catholic and a conservative, hate most. It is militaristic and millenarian; it is moralistic and Manichean; it is revolutionary and ruthless. Not only does it have its roots in Trostkyism (Irving Kristol boasted in 1983 that he was still proud of having joined the Fourth International, two years after Trotsky founded it); it remains an overtly revolutionary force with all the potential for wreaking havoc which many other revolutionary movements in history have displayed. Until that ideology is destroyed, until the stranglehold which the military-industrial complex has over the political class in America, and until a counter-weight to American hegemony emerges which permits the re-emergence of a multi-polar world order and the balance of power, the world will never be at peace.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


As the British people come to recognize that they have little in common culturally, socially, and historically with the continental peoples comprising the artificial alliance known as the EU, and Americans begin to realize that the President of the United States, at the behest of multi-national corporations, has stealthily moved them by executive fiat toward a North American Union, an old idea is beginning to reemerge.  It is the idea that there is a natural, organic unity of the English-speaking peoples throughout the world based on their history, language and culture. They share a belief in "fair play," a dedication to individualism, have a strong sense of justice, and a willingness to stand up for the "little guy" and those who have been unfairly treated. These cultural qualities are the foundation for the great hallmarks of the English-speaking world -- Magna Carta, habeas corpus, trial by jury, freedom of speech, common law and America's own Bill of Rights.

In the nineteenth century, England's Poet Laureate, Lord Tennyson, recognized the common bonds in a poem entitled England and America in 1782:

O Thou, that sendest out the man
To rule by land and sea,
Strong mother of a Lion-line,
Be proud of those strong sons of thine
Who wrench'd their rights from thee!

What wonder, if in noble heat
Those men thine arms withstood,
Retaught the lesson thou hadst taught,
And in thy spirit with thee fought--
Who sprang from English blood!

In the twentieth century, the greatest proponent of an alliance of the English-speaking peoples was Sir Winston Churchill. His official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, explores in his recent book, Churchill and America, Churchill's belief in the ideal of an Anglo-American "fraternal association." Churchill expressed the idea in many of his writings. In one speech he spoke of it as follows:
"I therefore preach continually the doctrine of the fraternal association of our two peoples, not for any purpose of gaining invidious material advantages for either of them, nor for territorial aggrandizement or the vain pomp of earthly domination, but for the sake of service to mankind and for the honour that comes to those who faithfully serve great causes".
On another occassion he expressed the ideal this way:
"I have never asked for an Anglo—American military alliance or a treaty. I asked for something different and in a sense I have asked for something more. I asked for fraternal association, free, voluntary fraternal association. I have no doubt that it will come to pass, as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow and that nothing can obscure the fact that, in their harmonious companionship, lies the main hope of a world instrument for maintaining peace on earth and goodwill to all men".
Despite some recent fraying, that special relationship between Britain and America, as well as that among the whole "family of nations" comprising the English-speaking world or "Anglosphere," remains strong. It will likely remain so, long after vain attempts to create artificial "unions" in Europe and North America have been abandoned.

In the following column from today's Telegraph, John O'Sullivan shows us how prophetic Churchill was, as he reflects on the collaboration among military and intelligence officers throughout the English-speaking world.

A British-led Anglosphere in world politics?
By John O'Sullivan

This week Greg Sheridan, the foreign editor of the Australian, used his column to give a slightly embarrassed account of a successful coup.

He was embarrassed because the coup was his own work, political activism rather than reporting, and possibly involved more than one breach of confidence.

It began with his research for a book, The Partnership, on the US-Australian military and intelligence relationship, which is close and growing closer.

The more Sheridan examined this relationship, the more he was struck by something else: namely, "the astonishing, continuing, political, military, and intelligence closeness between Australia and Britain".

Even though Australia has little at stake in Europe and Britain only limited interests in the Pacific, everywhere Sheridan went in the US-Australia alliance, he found the Brits there, too: "Our special forces train with theirs, as we do with the Americans. Our troops on exchange with the Brits can deploy into military operations with them, an extremely rare practice, but something we also do with the Yanks.

"Australian liaison officers attend the most sensitive British intelligence meetings and vice versa, in arrangements of such intimacy that they are equalled only in our relationship with the US."
Sheridan was uneasy, however, because there was no formal alliance structure to give top-level political guidance to this effective but relaxed co-operation.

Events came to his aid: he was invited to a UK-Australia Dialogue in Canberra, attended by Tony Blair on a flying visit. At the reception, Sheridan buttonholed Blair, Australia's PM John Howard, foreign minister Alexander Downer, and almost anyone else who would listen to preach the necessity of a new UK-Australia security structure. He sensed they were unimpressed.

As he later discovered, however, at a cabinet meeting attended by Blair the next day, Downer proposed a new annual meeting of Australian and British foreign and defence ministers on the lines of their AUSMIN meetings with Washington. Blair responded enthusiastically - and AUKMIN now meets annually.

Well, an interesting little story, you may think, but hardly earthshaking. And if AUKMIN were an isolated incident, that would be a sensible response.

As Sheridan's account makes plain, however, AUKMIN merely brass-hatted an existing system of military and intelligence co-operation between Britain, Australia, and the US that was unusually intimate and extensive.

But the story rang several bells. I had recently been reading a Heritage Foundation study by the American writer James C. Bennett, in which he argued that such forms of developing co-operation were especially characteristic of English-speaking, common law countries such as, well, Britain, Australia and America.

There is a definite pattern to them. Citizens, voluntary bodies, companies, lower levels of government form their own networks of useful co-operation for practical purposes across national boundaries.
Over time, these networks become denser, more complementary, more useful, and more self-conscious, creating what Bennett calls a "network civilisation". In time, governments see the value of these networks and underpin them with new links - trade deals, military pacts, immigration agreements - creating what he calls a "network commonwealth".

Such network commonwealths may end up being more integrated - psychologically and socially, as well as economically - than consciously designed entities such as the EU.

If you want to know which countries the British feel really close to, check which ones they telephone on Christmas Day (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, America... but you knew that). Network commonwealths don't demand surrender of sovereignty, either.

Bennett calls the English-speaking network civilisation "the Anglosphere". This term, unknown in political circles a few years ago, now yields 39,700 entries on Google. As Christopher Hitchens pointed out in a recent article in the American City Journal, the idea is certainly in the air - and in respectable circles, too.

Its academic foundations are rooted in work demonstrating that England always had a more individualist culture than continental Europe, that the "civil society" tools of this culture were transmitted to the colonies settled from England, and that those countries have since not only prospered unusually, but also established a world civilisation rooted in liberalism.

Bennett in The Anglosphere Challenge makes unmistakably clear that it is English cultural traits - individualism, rule of law, honouring contracts, and the elevation of freedom - rather than English genes that explain this success.

These traits enable a society to pull off the difficult trick of combining trust with openness. Nations with different genetic backgrounds that adopt such traits seem to prosper more than their similar neighbours. Hence the Anglosphere includes India and the West Indies, as well as the "old Commonwealth".

The idea, lagging well behind the reality, is now seeping into politics. Last year Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper, delivered an eloquent speech to the Australian parliament that praised the common British heritage linking both nations.

Even more significantly India's PM, Manmohan Singh, gave a speech at Oxford in 2005 that neatly stole the entire concept for New Delhi: "If there is one phenomenon on which the sun cannot set, it is the world of the English-speaking peoples, in which the people of Indian origin are the largest single component."

That raises a painful question. If Australians, Indians, Canadians, and even Americans can recognise the Anglosphere as a new factor in world politics, why is it something from which the Brits themselves shy?

To the best of my knowledge, the only politician to have embraced the idea is Lord Crickhowell, formerly David Howell, who held several ministries under Margaret Thatcher and who, from his City experience, knows that Britain's prosperity lies with the growing markets of Asia and North America.

Our fading Anglosphere ties give us an advantage over Europeans and other competitors there. If we were to pursue a deliberate strategy of strengthening such ties, we would discover a better "grand strategy" than the present muddled shuttling back and forth between Washington and Brussels, feeling a "poodle" to both.

Is our reluctance because we fear to touch anything that smacks of the empire? No such timidity restrained Singh.

Are we nervous that anything "English-speaking" might be thought incompatible with multiculturalism? Well, the first multicultural identity was the British one; today the Anglosphere spans every continent.

Is it politically dangerous as an alternative to Europe? That would only be true insofar as "Europe" failed to meet our needs - in which case we would need an alternative.

Or is it, as I suspect, that the Anglosphere offers us the prospect of national adventure that in our cultural funk we find too exciting - preferring to go back to the sleep of the subsidised?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Even the Special Relationship is in Tatters

One is inclined to wonder if a President who has managed to bungle every aspect of American foreign relations isn't at least partly responsible for damaging the noble and historic alliance of the United States and Britain; a relationship that has endured since before the Second World War. But the situation described by Melanie Phillips will be mended by the good will and good sense of the British and American people when they replace the big government, big spending, socialists occupying Number 10 and the White House.

When Britain and America stand together, the world is a much safer place. The words of Longfellow, that Roosevelt sent to Churchill, are as true of today's crisis as they were then:

Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!

Sail on, O Union, strong and great!

Humanity with all its fears, With all the hopes of future years,

Is hanging breathless on thy fate!

No Longer So Special
By Melanie Phillips

You read it here first: Britain’s relationship with the US is no longer so special, and France and Germany are filling the gap. The Telegraph reports:

The White House no longer views Britain as its most loyal ally in Europe since Gordon Brown took office and is instead increasingly turning towards France and Germany, according to Bush administration sources. ‘There’s concern about Brown,’ a senior White House foreign policy official told The Daily Telegraph. ‘But this is compensated by the fact that Paris and Berlin are much less of a headache. The need to hinge everything on London as the guarantor of European security has gone’.

…Privately, White House aides accept that Mr Brown would not support military action against Iran. There is also disquiet about what US officials view as double dealing by special advisers briefing an anti-White House message in London and a more favourable one in Washington. ‘That sort of manoeuvring is not appreciated,’ said one diplomatic source.

Indeed; and it is not appreciated by the British electorate, either, which if it really believes that Gordon Brown has drawn a line under the era of manipulation and spin is in for a very rude shock indeed. Brown’s spinning makes Tony Blair look like a rank amateur, because Brown does sincerity so much better. However, scales fell off eyes only yesterday with the Prime Minister’s cynical stunt in Iraq, which committed the unforgiveable crime of using British troops in a theatre of war as mere election fodder – and also betrayed his promise to tell Parliament before anyone else about troop dispositions in Iraq.

Such cavalier disregard of the most critical issue of our time is all of a piece with Britain’s precipitate withdrawal from Basra, at the very time that the US is battling its own domestic quisling tendency in order to stay the course and win in Iraq, even if this takes many years (which it will). The consequences of America shouldering this burden without Britain will be very grave indeed — for Britain. In his deeply irresponsible attempt to buy off the baying British mob, incited by its media and intelligentsia to an unprecedented pitch of hysteria, prejudice and irrationality over Iraq, Gordon Brown is acting against British interests—as well as taking a shameful position on the most fateful issue facing the free world.

If Britain stands aside over Iran, leaving America to take alone the decision to use military force — surely inevitable, as John Bolton said in Blackpool this week, given the conspicuous failure of the vacuous diplomatic approach pursued by Britain and Europe which has only strengthened Iran and weakened the west — the consequences for Britain will be immeasurable. It will be marked for all time as having turned away from what needed to be done to defend the west; by its spinelessness it will have betrayed its own history and signalled the inescapable reality of its own cultural and moral decline; and it will achieve the lasting resentment of America, with an end to any British influence over its activities and the possible eclipse of Britain on the world stage.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Daily Telegraph On The Enduring Alliance

It was reassuring that in his first visit to America as Prime Minister, Gordon Brown invoked the words of Sir Winston Churchill:
We must never cease to proclaim in fearless tones the great principles of freedom and the rights of man which are the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world and which through Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and the English common law find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence.
Despite much battering in recent years ("Yo Blair" comes to mind), today's Daily Telegraph reflects on why the Anglo-American relationship remains important.