Paul Johnson has a piece entitled America’s Empire for Liberty. It is a good essay overall. RTWT.
I will just note two interesting Anglospheric comments:
When I was a boy in the 1930s, a quarter of the world on the map was colored red-that is, part of the British Empire and Commonwealth of Nations. It was a liberal empire and a democratic commonwealth, and its aim, as with America in the Philippines, was to prepare its components for self-government. There have been some outstanding successes: Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and, most of all, India; with a billion inhabitants it has become the world’s largest democracy. There have been tragic failures too, notably in Africa. But we have learned from the failures too. The knowledge we gained is at America’s disposal, particularly in the training of military and civilian administrators who must take on the kind of work now being done in Iraq and Afghanistan. One idea I would like to see explored-with all deliberate speed-is the creation of an Anglo-American staff college for training men and women, both from the armed forces and from government, in the skills to rescue failed or fragile nations and to take former tyrannies and dictatorships into the magic circle of justice and democracy. We have a vast project ahead of us, and we need to be educated for it.
I like the idea of such a joint staff college. There would be political pandemonium if it were actually proposed, however. Right now the British are not in a very good mood about the virtues or efficacy of any American imperial-type projects. Max Hastings is kicking our ass in the Spectator, and Bush is going to face incredible street demonstrations when he goes over there. We need to get Iraq simmered down, then we can start looking at building capacity for future endeavors. A serious effort to pool knowledge about failed and successful state-building, and creating the skilled manpower and advanced thinking and planning to intervene effectively when we do intervene strikes me as no more than sensible. It is the kind of thing the Democrats accuse Bush of not doing, i.e. not “having a plan”. Of course, if he proposed this they’d say he is getting ready to get us into a bunch of other wars. Maybe so. Maybe that will be necessary. I don’ t know. What I do know is I wish we had been better prepared for this current occupation. So, Johnson is on the right track. This type of joint project should be quietly started, and once it is a going concern, enlarge it.
Johnson has this to say about Britain in the EU.
My guess is that the United States of Europe, a ramshackle structure already, is heading for disaster: economic bankruptcy and political implosion. Looking at it from Britain’s viewpoint, we should keep well clear of the mess. In emotional and cerebral terms, the English Channel is wider than the Atlantic, and I would prefer to see the expansion of the North Atlantic free trade area rather than that of a bureaucratic, antidemocratic, and illiberal Europe.
But Johnson is wrong to say “[i]n emotional and cerebral terms”. There is common language, law, culture, business practices, overlapping investment, decades of military and security cooperation. The Anglosphere is not about sentiment, it is about concrete reality. As Jim Bennett has put it, Britain is not a European country with a special relationship with America — it is an Anglosphere country with a special relationship with Europe. They need to figure this out, and act on it.
And, oh yeah, one other thing, America is not an empire. But that is a topic for another day, I hope soon.