Thoughts on a 'CANZUK' Union post-Brexit

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    (Original post by L i b)
    I'm not particularly sure to what extent we do have a shared set of values. In terms of politics, there's a huge divergence even within this country as to what our values should be.

    So when the language of shared values is used, it's often in fairly broad strokes: fair play, a vague sense of individual rights, democracy. You might argue that these values, broadened out, are little more than common human values. Dig a bit deeper, and we usually see dispute about what they mean in practice.

    You only have to look at the UK. We each understand human rights quite differently, and a sizeable chunk of the population simply don't believe in a universally applicable scheme of rights ("he's a nonce, he shouldn't have human rights"). Parliamentary democracy is another one: it seems our parliamentary democracy is held pretty much in contempt by many.

    Even democracy as a concept is undermined: look at the aftermath of the last referendum, with zoomers galore gathering to declare it effectively illegitimate. We had Scots nationalists suggesting that it was actually a vote to Remain, mainstream Remainers saying old people's votes are worth less, Lib Dems suggesting people didn't understand the question.

    How much do we actually share? What values really unite the Corbynista and the High Tory old buffer in this country? What validity do they have beyond our shores, even with the likes of Canada, New Zealand and Australia?
    I may come from the other side of the political spectrum to you but I am so glad to see someone else call out the phrase 'British values' or 'shared values' for the substanceless phrases they really are.

    We all have our own set of values and I really dislike certain groups of people claiming that we all subscribe to the same 'values'.

    Whenever I have asked people to define what they mean by 'British values' they tend to respond with vague, apple pie answers. 'Rule of law, parliamentary democracy, human rights' etc etc. But i'd think the vast majority of countries subscribe to such values in some form or another.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    What do you think will happen if the USA ceases to be a reliable partner for Australia?
    I think that's unlikely to happen. The US-Australian alliance exists because it is in both parties interests; both parties benefit. There's a relationship of trust and confidence there that comes from having worked together continuously for 70 years, underpinned by mutual self-interest and shared cultural and historical links.

    Institutional memory is important too. A good example; you have to go back to Enigma to understand why Britain (and the Anglosphere) is so obsessed with signals intelligence. The civil servants around at the time knew that it shortened the war by at least two years, maybe four and perhaps even saved them from losing the war. That kind of important lesson becomes ingrained in institutional memory so that 70 years later, the succession of civil servants down the line still hold onto that same lesson (that sigint is extremely important).

    It's exactly the same with the Anglosphere alliance. Institutional memory in government is that these relationships are tremendously important, that they are to our mutual benefit and that they should be continued and strengthened. When polled average Americans feel very strongly positive towards Britain and Australia, and want our alliance to continue. The same sentiment on steroids exists in government. There is no reason why it should not continue

    What for instance if it elects Donald Trump and explicitly removes any guarantee of protection from Australia?
    Given the polls that it an unlikely outcome. Even if someone like Donald Trump got into the White House, being in office changes you and it would be tremendously difficult to go against the weight of advice telling you to do the opposite. Even if someone like Donald Trump ordered the US to cease co-operating with its Anglosphere allies, the institutional inertia would be so strong that he would probably be out of office before the order was actually carried out.

    In any case, the situation is rather different with Australia compared to "freeloading allies" in Europe (not that I accept that characterisation). Unlike Europe, where you have 62,000 American troops often based in countries who can't even be bothered to muster 2% of GDP to defend themselves, Australia has no such requirement to be protected. There are about 200 US troops in Australia, who are mainly there for the purposes of training and pre-positioning.

    Australia has no neighbours that are capable of militarily threatening it; its only neighbours are New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Indonesia. Aus and NZ are probably the two closest countries in the world, Papua and East Timor are Australian client states and Indonesia has never been in a position to militarily threaten Australia (and in any case, they have a good relationship). The countries that could be considered a threat to Australia broadly speaking, China and North Korea, are regional not direct threats to Australia. In the former case, Australia has an extremely close trading relationship with China and in any case it is 4,000 kilometers away from Australia. In the case of North Korea, it's a general regional threat to which Australia contributes in containing. There is no Russia on Australia's doorstep that demands an American presence, unlike in Europe.

    In the US-Australia alliance, it's very much a situation of Australia contributing to combined allied operations like Iraq, Afghanistan etc. Australia has fought in every major war with the US since World War 2 (including Vietnam, which Britain and Canada sat out). I simply don't see how the concept of "withdrawal of protection" is a valid one, or that even a Trump figure would view Australia in the way certain European allies are viewed.
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    I think that's unlikely to happen.

    ...

    Given the polls that it an unlikely outcome.
    Fine but that isn't what I asked. Stranger things have happened.

    Less situationally, the US is on track to become a much less Anglo country than it has been historically, at which point you are just a chip in a game of poker they are playing with China.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Fine but that isn't what I asked. Stranger things have happened.
    You asked what would happen if Trump were elected etc. I pointed out the unlikelihood of that happening, then pointed out why the end of the US-Australian alliance wouldn't happen even if Trump was elected, and pointed out even if the relationship ended Australia can do fine without it. It is not militarily threatened by anyone. I edited my post significantly since I first posted it, not sure if you've read the edits but I did substantively respond even without them

    Less situationally, the US is on track to become a much less Anglo country than it has been historically, at which point you are just a chip in a game of poker they are playing with China.
    I think you may be suffering from Little European parochialism and an unfortunate ignorance of Asia-Pacific affairs. In economic matters, Australia and New Zealand are extremely close to China and both have free trade agreements with it. In military/strategic matters, Australia and New Zealand are very close to the United States, and tied into a network of alliances that principally includes Japan and South Korea. These countries work with each other to counter China because it's in their interests to do so; nothing to do with ethnicity.

    As for your crude ethno-determinism (which I think demonstrates a profound ignorance of America.. have you ever been there?), it is contradicted by the last 70 years of US history. First, the United States hasn't been an "Anglo" country since the 1880s. The largest white demographic background is German American, followed by Anglo, then Irish. Where do you think a name like Eisenhower comes from? Kennedy? Nixon? Reagan?

    There are plenty of Irish Americans, German Americans, Italian Americans, Jewish Americans and others in US government circles and have been since World War 2; in fact, if you look at the names in US government service Anglo names are a clear minority (look at the Supreme Court). Such people are just as strong supporters of the US' alliances with the Anglosphere, not because of an Anglophilia they obviously don't possess, but because the alliance is in their interests, because of the shared language and historical links, cultural links etc.

    In any case, in 2065 white Americans will still be the largest ethnic group by far. Latinos will still be less than 25%. And I've seen nothing to suggest that ethnic minorities will be any less clear-eyed in seeing America's obvious interest in retaining links to other English-speaking democracies, or that somehow they are plotting government entryism so they can undermine and change American foreign policy.

    Finally, I'd love to hear more about this "chip" you think America could play. This should be good
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    I'd much rather us be connected with those countries than the EU, especially with the migrant crisis ruining the EU.

    I wanna run away to Canada
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    (Original post by Bornblue)
    I
    Whenever I have asked people to define what they mean by 'British values' they tend to respond with vague, apple pie answers. 'Rule of law, parliamentary democracy, human rights' etc etc. But i'd think the vast majority of countries subscribe to such values in some form or another.
    The vast majority of countries can claim to adhere to these values, but if your country murdered six million Jews in living memory, or spawned a fascist dictator (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece...), it can be reasonably questioned whether this really is a long-standing value or a more recent practice.

    In the UK's case, it can claim a serious, long-standing cultural preference for the rule of law and parliamentary democracy. It hasn't had a dictator since the 1650s. It has always been recognised as a very free country (in fact, you can even go back to the 14th century to see Frenchmen praising the English on their relative freedoms).

    So yes, it seems to me that parliamentary democracy, the rule of law, and all that can plausibly be claimed as British values. That doesn't mean to say other countries can't also have those values (others like Australia clearly do), it's simply to say that they are British values and historically there is a reasonable case to make for it
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    The vast majority of countries can claim to adhere to these values, but if your country murdered six million Jews in living memory, or spawned a fascist dictator (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece...), it can be reasonably questioned whether this really is a long-standing value or a more recent practice.
    That's an extreme example though. The vast majority of country's do not commit such atrocities. Nearly every country would argue they believe in such 'values' but values such as the 'rule of law' are so vague, that anyone can claim they adhere to them.

    In the UK's case, it can claim a serious, long-standing cultural preference for the rule of law and parliamentary democracy. It hasn't had a dictator since the 1650s. It has always been recognised as a very free country (in fact, you can even go back to the 14th century to see Frenchmen praising the English on their relative freedoms).
    How about colonialism in which we invaded lands and imprisoned the natives in concentration camps? Or how about the fact that we were a prominent player in the slave trade?

    So yes, it seems to me that parliamentary democracy, the rule of law, and all that can plausibly be claimed as British values. That doesn't mean to say other countries can't also have those values (others like Australia clearly do), it's simply to say that they are British values and historically there is a reasonable case to make for it

    But we all have our own values. Even in this country there is a wide disparity. Can we really claim that UKIPers, Corbynistas, Blairites, Thatcherites, BNP supporters etc all have the same values?

    Saying we value 'the rule of law' and 'democracy' is about as descriptive and helpful as saying we value 'good things'. Values should be more descriptive, rather than abstract.
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    I think you may be suffering from Little European parochialism and an unfortunate ignorance of Asia-Pacific affairs. In economic matters, Australia and New Zealand are extremely close to China and both have free trade agreements with it. In military/strategic matters, Australia and New Zealand are very close to the United States, and tied into a network of alliances that principally includes Japan and South Korea. These countries work with each other to counter China because it's in their interests to do so; nothing to do with ethnicity.
    That is not true. If Australia were a PRC settler colony it would not be allied with the United States.

    As for your crude ethno-determinism (which I think demonstrates a profound ignorance of America.. have you ever been there?), it is contradicted by the last 70 years of US history. First, the United States hasn't been an "Anglo" country since the 1880s. The largest white demographic background is German American, followed by Anglo, then Irish. Where do you think a name like Eisenhower comes from? Kennedy? Nixon? Reagan?

    There are plenty of Irish Americans, German Americans, Italian Americans, Jewish Americans and others in US government circles and have been since World War 2; in fact, if you look at the names in US government service Anglo names are a clear minority (look at the Supreme Court). Such people are just as strong supporters of the US' alliances with the Anglosphere, not because of an Anglophilia they obviously don't possess, but because the alliance is in their interests, because of the shared language and historical links, cultural links etc.
    Historically the US has imposed Anglo culture, language, etc. on non-Anglo incomers, who were anglicised despite not being ethnically British. That is no longer happening. The US is trying to shed Anglo culture as quickly as possible. I know many Americans who don't have a drop of British blood in their veins who regard themselves as Anglos and love Britain and Australia. But none of them are Hispanic and none of them are Black.

    In any case, in 2065 white Americans will still be the largest ethnic group by far. Latinos will still be less than 25%. And I've seen nothing to suggest that ethnic minorities will be any less clear-eyed in seeing America's obvious interest in retaining links to other English-speaking democracies, or that somehow they are plotting government entryism so they can undermine and change American foreign policy.

    Finally, I'd love to hear more about this "chip" you think America could play. This should be good
    It's not obvious what interest the US has in holding Australia, other than that currently it can afford to hold everywhere. Australia is not a vital interest to the United States, China needs the resources more than the US does, and it is on the Chinese side of the Pacific.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    That is not true. If Australia were a PRC settler colony it would not be allied with the United States.
    What a preposterous counterfactual. Historical counterfactuals are usually the province of kooks and conspiracy nuts so I'm not going to be led down the garden path. If you're reaching for counterfactuals....

    Historically the US has imposed Anglo culture, language, etc. on non-Anglo incomers, who were anglicised despite not being ethnically British.
    America doesn't impose anything. Maybe you've never been to New York but you can travel to parts of Brooklyn just across the Hudson from Manhattan where large communities of Orthodox Jews live, many of them speaking not a word of English. And this is, in some cases, after those communities have been in America for 120 years. Immigrants move to America because it's free; if they want to live the dream and enjoy its freedoms, they integrate because that's what you do. Look at how non-radical American Muslims are. No-one is forcing some Union Jack, flag-waving Anglophilia down their throats. The fact that America predominantly speaks English has no actual bearing on the alliance.

    In any case African Americans share the same culture with non-hispanic whites; between them and non-hispanic whites they form a majority and will for the next hundred years. There's no reason why German-Americans, Irish Americans, Jewish-Americans, Italian-Americans and others will cease to support the alliance with the other English-speaking democracies; the US partners with those countries because it is in their interests to do so; there are no other allies waiting in the wings who could take their place and it's not in America's interests to be completely alone in the world.

    Thus it's unclear why even if the US became a hispanic majority nation that it would seek to cut off its close alliance with the English-speaking nations. I think you might be projecting some emotional or personal bias into what is ultimately a cold, hard calculation of the self-interest of nation-states. It is very gratifying that the Anglosphere are able to work together so closely; it's nice to be allied to people you like and trust. But ultimately that alliance continues not out of any pangs of sentiment but because it's in their national self-interest.

    It's not obvious what interest the US has in holding Australia
    It's not obvious how any serious argument could be made that the US "holds" Australia now, why would it in the future? What fundamentals of Australia's geostrategic situation will change? It doesn't need anyone's help to defend its own borders, it has no aggressive neighbours. Looking at a map of that part of the world (and understand the distances involved... Europeans almost always underestimate how geographically limited Europe is and how large the rest of the world is) would help you understand that the scenario you are positing is slightly preposterous.

    Even in the worst case fantasy techno-thriller scenario, Australia more than has the resources to be self-sufficient. It's a country with a population of 22 million on a land mass almost 50% larger than the European Union. In my home state, New South Wales (which takes up about 15% of Australia), there is an uninhabited area called the Unincorporated Far West Region which is the size of Hungary (and that region itself is only 15% of the state). Australians have a giant continent to themselves, much of it as yet unexplored and unexploited, filled with gold, uranium, timber, iron ore, natural gas and other treasures.

    What I detect here is a very strong emotional/ideological tinge to your comments, perhaps deriving from hard right paranoia and isolationism, perhaps from some personal ethno-related embitterment; I don't know. But it is leading you to say embarassing things that undermine any sense I might have that you actually know what you're talking about and are capable of engaging in a serious discussion about Asia-Pacific defence and geostrategic affairs.

    Still waiting to hear about the chip, btw. Fire when ready.
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    What a preposterous counterfactual. Historical counterfactuals are usually the province of kooks and conspiracy nuts so I'm not going to be led down the garden path. If you're reaching for counterfactuals....
    Ah, you're MostUncivilised.
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    (Original post by SHallowvale)
    CANZUK would be overwhelmingly controlled by the UK though, so why on Earth would Canada, Australia and New Zealand agree to it?

    They could easily argue against CANZUK using the same arguements people had against the EU.
    Not really.

    People were interested in the idea of the EEC when it started and was simply a free trade area with a bit of cooperation. It changed beyond by obtaining political power to become the EU, when it started dictating things to countries.

    I don't think the UK has any want to be part of anything just yet, but the rivival of the commonwealth might not be a bad idea given that the EU has failed. It could work on the EEC principle and be pretty laid back. Either way, all the countries mentioned are culturally similar and share combined goals.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Ah, you're MostUncivilised.
    I can take it from your response you have no substance with which to respond? In that case I accept your surrender
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    (Original post by Pegasus2)
    Not really.

    People were interested in the idea of the EEC when it started and was simply a free trade area with a bit of cooperation. It changed beyond by obtaining political power to become the EU, when it started dictating things to countries.
    It didn't change, you were just lied to.
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    Various issues related to a proposed CANZUK Union have been carefully considered in A Time For Audacity: New Options Beyond Europe by James C. Bennett.

    If this issue interests you at all, it is worth reading.

    https://www.amazon.com/Time-Audacity.../dp/B01H4U7FAQ
 
 
 
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