Why Not Add America’s Advantage to the Anglosphere Commonwealth?
“England and America are two countries separated by the same language,” George Bernard Shaw once remarked. Post-Brexit, why allow any barriers to stand between the world’s two greatest allies?
During debate over the United Kingdom referendum to exit the European Union, Remain supporters argued that British trade would suffer; Leave campaigners countered that Britain had the world as its oyster, pointing to her proud history of overseas trade during which the “second” British Empire flourished. But why should Britain limit herself? Why not include her “first” imperial American offspring?
For even as the War of Independence created the worst relations imaginable between the two countries, with peace America wasted little time in renegotiating trade deals with her former mother country.
When the United States became tangled up in Britain’s conflict with revolutionary France upon the high seas, President Washington sent John Jay as his envoy to London, resulting in the eponymous treaty which resumed trans-Atlantic “amity, commerce, and navigation.”
Disagreement at the climax of the Napoleonic conflict brought the two nations to arms again during the short-lived, fairly inconsequential War of 1812. But tranquility and, more important, a dynamic alliance, has reigned ever since. Now another opportunity presents itself.
“Of all the many splendid opportunities provided by the British people’s heroic Brexit vote,” British historian Andrew Roberts writes, “perhaps the greatest is the resuscitation of the idea of a Canzuk Union.”
Roberts foresees the time is ripe for the Canzuk ideal: “The Crown countries of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom need to form a new federation based upon free trade, free movement of peoples, mutual defence, and a limited but effective confederal political structure.”
One question only remains of its organizers: Why limit Canzuk to its represented countries? Why not include the United States?
The New York Sun is America’s principal advocate of such a liberty bloc of nations, united by rule of law and the common law tradition, free markets, and mobility of capital, goods, and labour. Canzuk’s own numbers tell the story of its combined economic strength and political liberties. America’s addition would compound the benefits, considering her population, financial, and military advantages.
Sun contributor Conrad Black is one vocal proponent -- and who can deny that the sometime media mogul, with ties to Canada, the U.S., and Britain, being a peer in that nation’s House of Lords, embodies the very ideals of transnational unity?
“The top tier of the old Commonwealth” comprising Canzuk countries, and including Singapore and India, “would welcome a revival of some level of solidarity with the British,” Lord Black writes. As for America, “any post-Obama administration” -- and Republican-nominee Donald Trump has denounced Obama’s “back of the queue” pre-Brexit threat -- “would be happy to warm up relations with the U.K.”
The Sun editor, Seth Lipsky, was unashamedly pro-Brexit and urged Republicans to offer the United Kingdom trade deals to offset possible disruptions with its European markets. “If you are prepared to stand for your own liberty,” Lipsky proposed as the GOP’s opening bid to Britain, “let us encourage you with an offer to strengthen our special relationship and forge -- along with such free market democracies as, among others, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and Israel -- a new liberty bloc. It’s an opportunity for both of us.”
An opportunity clearly seen by the British government. In July the Department of International Trade announced plans to open three new offices in the U.S., in addition to eleven already established, in an effort “to boost trade and investment.” Anticipating the launch, Britain’s minister for International Trade, Dr. Liam Fox, made his first overseas trip to Chicago, “to draw on this enduring friendship” and “to ensure the UK and the United States strengthen our already close trading ties.”
Between the UK and US, nearly $1 trillion worth of investment flows across the Atlantic: making us each other’s largest investor, and each other’s largest foreign job creator.
UK companies employ one million people in America and US companies employ a similar figure in the UK. […]
This is what open trade is all about, something I’d like to hear more of in the current American electoral cycle.
It’s about countries coming together to set the conditions so that businesses, skilled people, goods and services can move easily. This creates stability, enriches our cultures, and spreads prosperity.
I want the UK and USA together to lead the world as shining beacons of open trade. [emphasis added]
Meanwhile, speaking at the G20 conference in China in early September, British prime minister Theresa May acknowledged the government’s “determination to secure trade deals with countries from around the world,” in pursuit of which there would be “a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Brexit and International Trade [the first of many, one expects] to discuss how the government should pursue an ambitious trade strategy and to work out which markets we should prioritise.” Given Dr. Fox’s mission to Chicago, America is near the top of that list.
Arguably, this “commonwealth” model of free states was inaugurated with the Act of Union between England and Scotland in 1707; a Scot, Adam Smith, penned its theme: “Little else is requisite to carry a State to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice; all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.”
Such was the vision of the American Founders and Framers of the Constitution. It inspires Canzuk and liberty bloc supporters to-day. It inspires Prime Minister May: “A rules-based, open and inclusive global trading system can act as a catalyst for sustainable economic growth and the right trade agreements can be the greatest anti-poverty policy of our time.”
With little fear remaining, then, of insuperable barriers betwixt Britain and America, it only remains to ask: Can anyone say “Canzukus”?
Stephen MacLean maintains the weblog The Organic Tory.