Friday, January 11, 2019

The British Empire will rise again! Or, perhaps not

The British Empire will rise again! At least in the fevered imaginations of elderly expatriate Englishmen.

I was rather amused to see John Derbyshire’s post at Unz Review floating a suggestion for  an Anglo-Australian-NZ-Canadian alliance which he calls CANZUK. He goes further, suggesting it might also include the U.S. and it would then become CANZUKUS. The reasoning behind it is presumably that Brexit will leave Britain in desperate need of friends and trading partners.

This seems to me to be one of the most spectacularly silly and wrong-headed ideas I’ve heard for a very long time. In fact it’s a combination of several silly ideas.

Firstly, it’s yet another example of inane British fantasising about the lost glories of their Empire, and the good old days when Britain still counted for something. Maybe the Empire was glorious, maybe it wasn’t (that’s a whole different can of worms), but there’s one thing for certain - the Empire is dead. Derbyshire seems to think that the Empire could be recreated around the nucleus of the white Dominions. That’s an idea that might have had some merit in the 1930s. Maybe even in the 50s, except that the U.S. had made it quite clear that the British Empire was not going to be permitted to exist in any meaningful form, and it certainly was not going to be permitted to exist as a trading bloc. In any case the British were desperate to join the Common Market and turn their backs on the Dominions and the Dominions are not ever going to forget that. Now that things that have turned sour with Britain’s cool new European friends they can’t expect the friends they were so anxious to dump to forgive and forget. Britain, like the U.S., is not a nation that one could regard as a trustworthy friend.

The notion of extending this fantasy alliance to include the U.S. is the revival of the absurd and dangerous Churchillian nonsense of the English Speaking Peoples. The reality is that while the English Speaking Peoples might share some common history they have no economic, political or military interests in common. They never did.

Derbyshire is also buying into an even more absurd and even more toxic Churchillian idea, that of the Special Relationship between Britain and the United States. In fact it was never anything but wishful thinking on Churchill’s part. There were some deluded fools who persuaded themselves that there was a Special Relationship between the U.S. and Australia. These Special Relationships were nothing more than the relationships between an empire and its vassal states.

Australia no longer has anything but vague sentimental ties to Britain and even those ties are fading fast. Australia is also beginning to realise that its relationship to the U.S. is not particularly important and is going to become steadily less important.

Neither CANZUK nor CANZUKUS has anything to offer Australia. Australia would be well advised not to become entangled with failed states like Britain, and would be well advised also to distance itself from the U.S. Empire.

10 comments:

  1. "Derbyshire seems to think that the Empire could be recreated around the nucleus of the white Dominions."

    Ha ha, that would go down well with the convicts.

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  2. Well, Australia is too little to be on her own. Whether you like it or not, Australia needs to gravitate towards something. What could that be? China? Western degeneracy is of course a terrible thing to live with, but China demostrated recently that it uses dystopias for inspiration.

    Face it: you English Speaking Peoples got no other way but to deal with your own problems and help each other to recover from Cultural Marxism, postmodernism, etc. You either do that or you cease to exist, and the rest of the world with you.

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    1. Face it: you English Speaking Peoples got no other way but to deal with your own problems and help each other to recover from Cultural Marxism, postmodernism, etc.

      That's a bit like saying that the best way for a junkie to sort himself out is to hang around with other junkies. I think that the English Speaking Peoples have been a terrible influence on each other. And for a country like Australia the worst thing would be to entangle ourselves with countries like Britain and the U.S. that are even more pozzed than we are.

      In particular we need to avoid the cultural contamination of other Anglophone nations.

      But it is a difficult situation for small weak nations. There's always the temptation to believe that security can be gained by having Great and Powerful friends. The Poles thought their Great and Powerful friends Britain and France would protect them in 1939. Australia in the 1930s thought Britain would protect her in a future war.

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    2. Well, what about the alternatives? The more or less realistic ones, I mean. Australia is too small to build itself into a powerful nation. China can do it, India can do it, even such nations as Japan, Pakistan, Brazil, or Turkey can do it if they're really lucky and try hard enough, but a country such as Australia can't do it. Australia can build strong military to make it hard to invade it, but it can't build an economy strong enough to maintain contemporary technological lifestyle. Australia can only depend on its exports. You can't be a country dependent on exports and be independent from those who import your stuff.

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    3. Australia can build strong military to make it hard to invade it,

      Which is arguably a bad idea. If you look at WW2 the smaller countries that resisted invasion ended up suffering very badly (Poland). The smaller countries that pretty much surrendered without a fight (Czechoslovakia, Denmark, the Netherlands) suffered less.

      There's really no point in fighting a war you can't win. War is a game for the big boys. Australia's armed forces are not sufficient to defend us from a great power. They're only sufficient to serve as auxiliaries in America's wars, which means we end up making lots and lots of completely unnecessary enemies.

      If you're a small nation you end up being someone's vassal. All you can do is choose your overlord wisely. In the first half of the 20th century Australia chose Britain. We paid a high price for our loyalty and got nothing in return. In the second half of the 20th century the U.S. seemed like a wiser choice. At the time maybe it was a good choice. Today however the U.S. is like an out-of-control paranoid schizophrenic who won't take his medication.

      But of course you're correct., that doesn't leave us many options. There are three Great Powers from which to choose. Russia is the most sane and the most trustworthy but we're way outside the Russian Sphere of Influence. That leaves us to choose between the U.S. and China. Two options, and they're both bad. I think China is the lesser of two evils. The Chinese are ruthless and brutal but they're essentially sane. The Americans are ruthless and brutal and they're also totally insane.

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    4. >>>If you look at WW2 the smaller countries that resisted invasion ended up suffering very badly (Poland).

      If you look at how Poland behaved before the invasion, you'll see she's got no one else to blame but herself.

      >>>The smaller countries that pretty much surrendered without a fight (Czechoslovakia, Denmark, the Netherlands) suffered less.

      Why mention these countries and not Switzerland, for example? Why not look at how many people the nazis lost in little Belarus after they took it? Why not look at how bravely Yugoslavia fought? Besides, I don't know much about Denmark and the Netherlands, but Czechoslovakia, almost like Poland, should only blame herself. You can't play democracy and fool around with military when you've got the Third Reich right next to you. Also, if you take a peak at life in Czechoslovakia under the Germans, you'll see the Czechs didn't really mind at all. They had everything they ever wanted: work, beer, pecheno veprevo koleno, and tons of money to buy it with. The resistance groups it that country were virtually non-existent.

      >>>There's really no point in fighting a war you can't win. War is a game for the big boys.

      Armies exist not only to engage in wars, but also to prevent wars from happening. See Switzerland.

      >>>Australia's armed forces are not sufficient to defend us from a great power.

      This is precisely why Australia need to build up its army if it wants to be somewhat more self-sufficient, at least militarily. Because then you can damn well defend yourself from great powers. Again: see Switzerland. Geography and weaponry does miracles, and your geography is totally awesome - Australia is an island situated far away from everything else.

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    5. Why mention these countries and not Switzerland, for example?

      Has Switzerland avoided invasion because of the mighty Swiss Army? Or because so far it has suited everyone for Switzerland to remain independent (It's very handy for a lot of people to have a place with broad-minded bankers where you can hide away money).

      Switzerland has also adopted the opposite policy from Australia - they have ostentatiously avoided entanglements with Great Powers. The Swiss, very wisely, wanted nothing to do with either the Triple Entente or the Triple Alliance, or the Pact of Steel.

      Sometimes countries don't get invaded because there's no need to invade them. Germany had no need to invade Sweden in either World War because the Swedes were happy to sell them anything they wanted. And they were lucky that after the fiasco in Norway the British were unlikely to try to invade them. The Swedes were not saved from invasion by fear of the mighty Swedish Army.

      If you look at how Poland behaved before the invasion, you'll see she's got no one else to blame but herself.

      I totally agree.

      Armies exist not only to engage in wars, but also to prevent wars from happening. See Switzerland.

      It depends on the enemy you're likely to face. A small country can deter attacks by other small countries but there's no way of deterring an attack by a Great Power. Australia could deter an attack by Indonesia, Papua-New Guinea, Fiji or New Zealand. We could not deter an attack by the United States or China. Or India for that matter.

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    6. >>>Has Switzerland avoided invasion because of the mighty Swiss Army? Or because so far it has suited everyone for Switzerland to remain independent (It's very handy for a lot of people to have a place with broad-minded bankers where you can hide away money).

      Hitler had actual intention of invading Switzerland. Until his subordinates estimated that casualties would be simply gigantic. Because almost everybody in Switzerland owned weapons and knew how to use them, and they had infrastructure all over their country specially designed to defend their nation, and they very very much wished to do so, and geography was on their side as well. Hitler decided it just wasn't worth it.

      Two words: unacceptable damage. To defend yourself from a great power, you don't need to have as great an army. You need an army that'll let the enemy do the math and see that it isn't worth it. Of course if they hate your guts, like Muslims hate Jews for example, they'll do it anyway, but in all the other cases chances are they'll just drop the idea. You can see tons of examples. You can see the U.S. and Iran, the U.S. and North Korea, Israel and Gaza Strip, etc.

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  3. China is sane? Even relative to America? That bow is drawn back so far that you need three arms.

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    1. China is sane? Even relative to America?

      Yes. China is ruthless and sometimes brutal but China is a rational actor. There is nothing remotely rational about the United States.

      Great Powers are mostly not very pleasant. You don't get to be a Great Power by being nice. China is a typical Great Power, not really much different from any of the European Great Powers of the past - cynical and selfish but their policy makes sense from the point of view of their own self-interest. China is certainly no worse than the France of Louis XIV or the Prussia of Frederick the Great. We like to tell ourselves that the British Empire was different, but it wasn't really. Any state that becomes a Great Power is corrupted thereby.

      The U.S. is something very different. They don't act out of straightforward self-interest. Everything is ideologically motivated. Which would be OK, if they had a sane consistent ideology. In fact they have several competing ideologies (liberal internationalism and neoconservatism are not always compatible). And those ideologies have become more like theological positions than political positions. The fact that a particular policy is bound to lead to disaster makes no difference.

      The only real comparison would be to the days of the Roman Empire under the crazier emperors.

      China is predictable. The U.S. is not predictable.

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