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An Anglosphere Future - (Page 99 of Arguably) 
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Post An Anglosphere Future - (Page 99 of Arguably)
An Anglosphere Future - (Page 99 of Arguably)

Please join us in reading and discussing Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens!

Arguably is a collection of essays by Christopher Hitchens. Each thread in this book discussion forum is named after the title of one of the essays in Arguably. The page number where the essay starts is included in the thread title to make finding it within the book easy.

Read all of the essays in order or jump around and read only the essays that interest you. Please keep your comments in the appropriate threads.



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Post Re: An Anglosphere Future - (Page 99 of Arguably)
Continuing his theme of political cosmology, this essay assesses the domination of the world by the English Race, with an almost wistful harking back to the rabid imperialism of Rudyard Kipling and Cecil Rhodes. Kipling, of the white man's burden, lobbying the USA to join the European wars of colonial conquest by building an empire in the Philippines, and Rhodes, of Cape to Cairo fame, with two countries named after him - Northern Rhodesia - now Zambia, and Southern Rhodesia - now Zimbabwe. In considering this imperial nostalgia, Hitchens pulls well back from his initial apparent sympathy, saying "true multicultural tolerance is something that needs defending, in Australia and Canada as much as in the U.K., against Islamist sectarianism and violence directed most virulently against Hindus and Jews. There is no way to fight this critical ideological battle on the imperial terrain of Kipling and Rhodes."

Hitchens was rather traumatized by the attack on the World Trade Center, which led him to become something of an apologist for Empire and a jingo for the Iraq War. This essay is a review of a Tory book, call it Exhibit A, that celebrates the British massacre of Indians at Amritsar, the 1956 Anglo-French Suez disaster and the rule of Great Britain over Ireland. Hitchens has some praise for this book, calling it "a first-rate summary of the case for intransigent opposition to Islamist theocracy", although he does call these more overt imperial comments regrettable.

This material has significant potential for kookiness. People get traumatized by historical perceptions, leading them into very strange views. Robert Conquest is Exhibit B. I read his astounding factual history books on Stalin's Ukraine famine (The Harvest of Sorrow) and on the 1937 Great Terror, and they certainly consolidated the innoculation against communism I had obtained by visiting North Korea and reading most of Solzhenitsyn. But Conquest's call for establishment of something like Orwell's Oceania headquartered in Bermuda is, what shall we say?

All this material is ambiguous. The speech of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which partly locates India’s splendors in its British heritage, has an ironic link to Karl Marx, who argued that "India might benefit in this way from being colonized by England and not (and he spelled out the alternatives) Russia or Persia or Turkey."

Australia, as a staunch defender of Oceania, also gets a mention, with our ex-Prime Minister John Winston Howard cited for his 'fight them on the beaches' style Churchillian defence of war in Mesopotamia. A shame that loyalty is so expensive.

Hitchens sees the Anglosphere as the basis of struggle against jihad. The United Nations, inaugurated as an Anglo-American “coalition of the willing”, is not up to it because it is dominated by pesky foreigners.

Invoking nostalgia for the "old Commonwealth" (code for white colonies), Hitchens implies that Britain has the best of both worlds in its alliances with the USA and Europe.

And I can't avoid mentioning Mistake Number 3. Hitchens says "In late 1967, Britain’s rule in Yemen ended, bringing an end to its centuries of presence “East of Suez.” Has Christopher not heard of the Crown Colony of Hong Kong, handed over by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the People's Republic of China in 1997? Perhaps it is understandable that he does not consider Solomon Islands "East of Suez", since it might be considered Far West as much as Far East, if not Far Out. I will leave it to others to remind readers of the glorious history of Honiara since it is so well known.

Speaking of Yemen, this reminds me of George Orwell's definition of the British Empire as a string of prisons from Aden to Singapore run by gangs of Jews and Scotchmen. (This is from the first part of Orwell's trilogy about Burma - Burmese Days. Hitchens notes it was followed up by 1984 and Animal Farm)

The British heritage remains ambiguous. The old imperial slogans, Dieu et mon Droit, and Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense, are possibly best translated as what Hitchens coyly calls "a famously pungent injunction". I rather blush to explain this one (Fuck Off). At least the sun never sets on soccer.

Christopher Hitchens wrote:
An Anglosphere Future
Christopher Hitchens
http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_4_anglosphere.html

How a shared tradition of ideas and values—not bloodlines—can be a force for liberty

Having devoured the Sherlock Holmes stories as a boy, I did what their author hoped and graduated to his much finer historical novels. The best of these, The White Company, appeared in 1890; it describes the recruitment and deployment of a detachment of Hampshire archers during the reign of King Edward III, a period that, as Arthur Conan Doyle phrased it, “constituted the greatest epoch in English History—an epoch when both the French and the Scottish kings were prisoners in London.”

This book, it’s of interest to note, also influenced Dwight Eisenhower’s boyhood (I owe this information to the extraordinary Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters, edited by Jon Lellenberg, Daniel Stashower, and Charles Foley). For there came a time when this child of German-American parents also had to muster a considerable force from Hampshire headquarters, and launch them across the Channel in one of the greatest military interventions in history. Of course, on D-day, Eisenhower took care to have a French leader on his side (admittedly a turbulent and mutinous one), and Scottish regiments were as usual to the fore in the storming of the Atlantic Wall. But it’s funny how one somehow can thrill to the same tradition, whether it’s the medieval yeomen and bowmen of Anglo-Saxondom or the modern, mechanized, multinational coalition against fascism.

Doyle was only a few years from his first trip to the United States when he published The White Company, which he dedicated as follows: “To the hope of the future, the reunion of the English-speaking races, this little chronicle of our common ancestry is inscribed.” Around the same time, two other renowned figures—Cecil Rhodes and Rudyard Kipling—made similar pitches. Two monuments, the Rhodes scholarships and the poem “The White Man’s Burden,” still survive in American life. The purpose of the scholarships was to proselytize for the return of the U.S. to the British imperial fold. The poem, written for Theodore Roosevelt, who passed it to Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, sought to influence the vote of the U.S. Senate on the annexation of the Philippines. (The poem’s subtitle was “The United States and the Philippine Islands.”) In urging the U.S. to pick up the scepter of empire, Kipling had one hope and one fear: hope of Anglo-American solidarity against rising German power; and fear of a revival of the demagogic atmosphere of 1894 and 1895, in which America and Britain almost went to war after the U.S., citing the Monroe Doctrine, intervened in a border dispute between Britain and Venezuela.

Doyle’s visit coincided with the height of this anti-British feeling, and at a dinner in his honor in Detroit he had this to say:

You Americans have lived up to now within your own palings, and know nothing of the real world outside. But now your land is filled up, and you will be compelled to mix more with the other nations. When you do so you will find that there is only one which can at all understand your ways and your aspirations, or will have the least sympathy. That is the mother country which you are now so fond of insulting. She is an Empire, and you will soon be an Empire also, and only then will you understand each other, and you will realize that you have only one real friend in the world.
After Detroit, Doyle spent Thanksgiving with Kipling and his American wife, Carrie, in Brattleboro, Vermont. It is of unquantifiable elements such as this that the Anglo-American story, or the English-speaking story, is composed.

To a remarkable extent, Americans continue to assume a deep understanding with the English—one that, in their view, reflects a common heritage much more than it does anything as mundane as a common interest. This assumption, at least as exemplified in the Bush-Blair alliance that sent expeditionary forces to Afghanistan and Mesopotamia, has recently taken a severe bruising on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as north of the U.S. border and in the countries of the antipodes: the historical homelands of the “English-speaking” adventure. The conservative British historian Andrew Roberts, author of the important new book A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900, regards this as a matter of regret, as do I, though for different reasons. For no less different reasons, he and I believe that the “Anglosphere,” to give it a recently updated name, may have a future as well as a past.

The idea is certainly in the air. Earlier this year, President Bush hosted a lunch for Roberts in the Oval Office, with senior advisors Karl Rove, Stephen Hadley, and Josh Bolten in attendance, and Dick Cheney was seen holding Roberts’s book on a trip to Afghanistan. Other writers, including John O’Sullivan, have recently written about the unique virtues of Anglo-Americanism.

Roberts’s book, though, exhibits some of the potential problems that can befall a defense of the Anglosphere. One shows up in its title. You will notice that Arthur Conan Doyle referred to the English-speaking “races.” On the model of Winston Churchill’s famous book of almost the same name, Roberts prefers the term “peoples.” But this is to make a distinction without much difference. No such thing as an Australian or a Canadian “race” exists, so one either means to describe people of originally Anglo-Saxon “stock” (as we used to say) or one doesn’t. It hasn’t been very long since Lionel Trilling was denied tenure on the grounds, frankly stated, that a Jew could not understand English literature. Without an appreciation of the ways in which the language and ethnicity are quite distinct, a kind of imperialist nostalgia is likely.

Regrettably, Roberts doesn’t always avoid such nostalgia, devoting a major portion of his book to vindicating episodes in the British colonial past that most Tories long ago ceased to defend. He represents General Reginald Dyer’s massacre of protesters in the Indian city of Amritsar in 1919, for example, as a necessary law-and-order measure. He defends the catastrophic Anglo-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt in 1956: a folly that Eisenhower had to terminate. He writes leniently about the white settler regimes in southern Africa. And he never misses an opportunity to insult Irish nationalism, while whitewashing the Tory and Orange policies that led first to rebellion and second to bloody partition.

Determined to shoehorn everything into one grand theory, Roberts also flirts with tautology. For example, he mentions the opening of the Hoover Dam at Boulder City and comments: “The English-speaking peoples had long excelled at creating the wonders of the modern industrial world: the Great Eastern, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Sydney Bridge, the American, Canadian and Australian transcontinental railroads, the Panama Canal among them.” A theory that tries to explain everything explains nothing: we can all think of other countries that have accomplished industrial and engineering marvels.

Further, the many advances in physics and medicine attributed to Jewish refugees in America (especially, for some reason, from Hungary) are slighted if credited to the genius of Englishness. Roberts describes radar as “another vital invention of the English-speaking peoples”—an insult to international scientific cooperation. One might add that Ferdinand de Lesseps did not shout orders in English when he organized the building of the Suez Canal. And Magna Carta wasn’t written in English.

Nonetheless, properly circumscribed, the idea of an “Anglosphere” can constitute something meaningful. We should not commit the mistake of “thinking with the blood,” as D. H. Lawrence once put it, however, but instead emphasize a certain shared tradition, capacious enough to include a variety of peoples and ethnicities and expressed in a language—perhaps here I do betray a bias—uniquely hostile to euphemisms for tyranny. In his postwar essay “Towards European Unity,” George Orwell raised the possibility that the ideas of democracy and liberty might face extinction in a world polarized between superpowers but that they also might hope to survive in some form in “the English-speaking parts of it.” English is, of course, the language of the English and American revolutions, whose ideas and values continue to live after those of more recent revolutions have been discredited and died.

Consider in this light one of Nelson Mandela’s first acts as elected president of South Africa: applying to rejoin the British Commonwealth, from which South Africa had found itself expelled in the 1960s (by a British Tory government, incidentally) because of its odious racism. Many people forget that the Soweto revolt in the 1980s, which ultimately spelled apartheid’s downfall, exploded after the Nationalist regime made the medium of school instruction exclusively Afrikaans, banning the classroom use of English, along with Xhosa and Zulu.

More recently, in July 2005, Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh came to Oxford University to receive an honorary degree and delivered a speech, not uncontroversial in India itself, in which he observed that many of India’s splendors as a rising twenty-first-century superpower—from railroads to democracy to a law-bound civil service—were the result of its connection with England. “If there is one phenomenon on which the sun cannot set,” Singh observed, “it is the world of the English-speaking peoples, in which the people of Indian origin are the single largest component.” He added that the English language was a key element in the flourishing of India’s high-tech sector. Few would have wanted to point this out, but it was Karl Marx who argued that India might benefit in this way from being colonized by England and not (and he spelled out the alternatives) Russia or Persia or Turkey.

We owe the term “Anglosphere” in large part to the historian and poet Robert Conquest, who this summer celebrated his 90th year of invincible common sense and courage in the fight against totalitarian thinking. In an appendix to his marvelous 2005 book The Dragons of Expectation: Reality and Delusion in the Course of History, he offers a detailed proposal for a broad Anglosphere alliance among the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, and the Caribbean, with the multiethnic English-speaking island of Bermuda as the enterprise’s headquarters. Though he unfortunately does not include India, he does find it “perfectly conceivable that other countries particularly close to our condition might also accede—for example Norway and Gambia, in each of which English is widely understood and in each of which the political and civic structure is close to that of the rest of the states.” Quixotic as all this may sound, it probably understates the growing influence of English as a world language—the language of business and the Internet and air-traffic control, as well as of literature (or of literatures, given the emergence, first predicted by Orwell, of a distinct English written by Indians).

The shape of the world since September 11 has, in fact, shown the outline of such an alliance in practice. Everybody knows of Tony Blair’s solidarity with the United States, but when the chips were down, Australian forces also went to Iraq. Attacked domestically for being “all the way with the USA,” Australian prime minister John Howard made the imperishable observation that in times of crisis, there wasn’t much point in being 75 percent a friend. Howard won reelection in 2004. Even in relatively neutralist Canada, an openly pro-U.S. government headed by Stephen Harper was elected in 2006, surprising pundits who predicted that a tide of anti-Americanism made such an outcome impossible.

Howard’s statement has a great deal of history behind it. Roberts defines that history as an intimate alliance that defeated German Wilhelmine imperialism in 1918, the Nazi-Fascist Axis in 1945, and international Communism in 1989. This long arc of cooperation means that a young officer in, say, a Scottish regiment has a good chance of having two or even three ancestors who fought in the same trenches as did Americans and New Zealanders. No military force evolved by NATO, let alone the European Union, can hope to begin with such a natural commonality, the lack of which was painfully evident in Europe’s post-1989 Balkan bungling (from which a largely Anglo-American initiative had to rescue it).

The world now faces a challenge from a barbarism that is no less menacing than its three predecessors—and may even be more so. And in this new struggle, a post-9/11 America came—not a moment too soon—to appreciate the vital fact that India had been fighting bin-Ladenism (and had been its target) far longer than we had. That fact alone should have mandated a change of alignment away from the chronically unreliable Pakistani regime that had used the Taliban as its colonial proxy in Afghanistan. But it helped that India was also a polyethnic secular democracy with a largely English-speaking military, political, and commercial leadership. We’re only in the earliest stages of this new relationship, which so far depends largely on a nuclear agreement with New Delhi, and with the exception of Silicon Valley, the U.S. does not yet boast a politically active Indian population. But the future of American-Indian relations is crucial to our struggle against jihadism, as well as to our management of the balance of power with China.

In considering the future of the broader Anglosphere tradition, especially in the context of anti-jihadism, it may help to contrast it with the available alternatives. As a supranational body, the United Nations has obviously passed the point of diminishing returns. Inaugurated as an Anglo-American “coalition of the willing” against Hitler and his allies, the UN—in its failure to confront the genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur and in its abject refusal to enforce its own resolutions in the case of Iraq—is a prisoner of the “unilateralism” of France, Russia, and, to a lesser extent, China. NATO may have been somewhat serviceable in Kosovo (the first engagement in which it ever actually fought as an alliance), but it has performed raggedly in Afghanistan. The European Union has worked as an economic solvent on redundant dictatorships in Spain, Portugal, and Greece, and also on old irredentist squabbles in Ireland, Cyprus, and Eastern Europe. But it is about to reach, if it has not already, a membership saturation point that will disable any effective decision-making capacity. A glaring example of this disability is the EU’s utter failure to compose a viable constitution. Roberts correctly notes that “along with over two centuries of amendments the entire (readable and easily intelligible) U.S. Constitution can be printed out onto twelve pages of A4-sized paper; the (unreadable and impenetrably complicated) proposed European Constitution ran to 265.” (Roberts doesn’t mention the lucidity and brevity of the British constitution, perhaps because the motherland of the English-speaking peoples has absentmindedly failed to evolve one in written form, and thus will, on the demise of the present queen, have as head of state a strange middle-aged man with a soft spot for Islam and bizarre taste in wives.)

But the temptation to construe the Anglosphere too narrowly persists. Another recent book, The Anglosphere Challenge, by James C. Bennett, expresses astonishment at the low price that the British establishment has put on its old Commonwealth and Dominion ties, and some hostility to the way in which European connections now take precedence. But viewed historically, it is surely neither surprising nor alarming that the British decided to reverse Winston Churchill’s greatest mistake—abstaining from original membership in the European common market—and to associate more closely with the neighboring landmass. As Roberts himself concedes, Britain now enjoys a unique Atlanticist partnership along with full and energetic participation in the councils of the European Union.

For most of my adult life, British prime ministers were classifiable as either Atlanticist or European in orientation. Thus, the conservative Edward Heath fixated on Brussels and distrusted Washington, while the Labour leaders Harold Wilson and James Callaghan were Euro-isolationists and little better than dittos to presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, respectively. In fact, with the notable exception of Margaret Thatcher, the Anglo-American relationship has fared rather better under the British center-Left. Perhaps this has something to do with the old devotion of the British Left, from Thomas Paine onward, to the ideals of the American Revolution. Of the defenders of the liberation of Iraq in the British media and political spheres, for example, most of the best-known spokesmen—Nick Cohen of the Observer, the Financial Times’s John Lloyd, and parliamentarians Denis MacShane, Peter Hain, and John Reid—belonged to the traditional Left. And it is many senior Conservatives who have recently gone the furthest in exploiting vulgar anti-American feeling among British voters. These are the ironies of history that Roberts’s instinctive Toryism often prevents him from seeing.

An important thing to recognize about Tony Blair is that he was as much at home with American style and popular culture as he was when vacationing in France or Tuscany: that for the first time, the British had a prime minister who regarded the Atlanticist/European dichotomy as a false one. Nor did it hurt that on one day he could give a decent public speech in French and then on the next rally his party to identify its historical internationalism with the cause of the United States. He could even visit Dublin and claim some Irish descent, while offering a few conciliatory words about the wrongs of British policy since the Famine. And—not forgetting the Commonwealth and the Third World—he committed British forces to uphold a treaty with Sierra Leone and drove out the child-mutilating warlords who had invaded from Liberia.

This is quite a lot to set against the old Commonwealth tradition of Australian prime minister Sir Robert Menzies, who in the 1950s objected to being in the same “club” as newly independent African states and who forbade “colored” immigration to Australia itself. One of Roberts’s Tory heroes, the late Enoch Powell, opposed immigration from nonwhite former colonies with the same fervor that he had once shown in opposing Indian independence. If he had stressed religion rather than race, he might have been seen as prescient; as it was, the majority of the British Right always openly favored Islamic Pakistan.

Today, the experience of true multicultural tolerance is something that needs defending, in Australia and Canada as much as in the U.K., against Islamist sectarianism and violence directed most virulently against Hindus and Jews. There is no way to fight this critical ideological battle on the imperial terrain of Kipling and Rhodes.

In late 1967, Britain’s rule in Yemen ended, bringing an end to its centuries of presence “East of Suez.” On the very last evening, the Labour defense minister Denis Healey shared a nostalgic sundowner with the British governor. As the shadows lengthened over the great harbor at Aden, the governor said that he thought the British Empire would be remembered for only two things: “the game of soccer and the expression ‘fuck off.’ ” Who can doubt that these phenomena have endured and become part of the landscape of globalization? But the masochistic British attitude to inevitable decline seems to have reversed itself, at least to some extent. And the recent election of fresh governments in France and Germany shows that other Europeans—increasingly English-speaking—would rush to embrace the special American connection if, by any short-term miscalculation, the British might look to discard or vacate it.

Roberts’s closing passage is his strongest. He gives a first-rate summary of the case for intransigent opposition to Islamist theocracy and to its cruel and violent epigones (as well as to its shady and illiterate apologists). He establishes all the essentials of the case for declaring our survival incompatible with totalitarianism and makes a crisp presentation of the urgency, necessity, and justice of the removal of Saddam Hussein. Along with William Shawcross’s book Allies, his pages on this theme will find themselves consulted long after the ephemeral and half-baked antiwar texts are discredited and forgotten.

I myself doubt that a council of the Anglosphere will ever convene in the agreeable purlieus of postcolonial Bermuda, and the prospect of a formal reunion does not entice me in any case. It seems too close to the model on which France gravely convenes its own former possessions under the narrow banner of La Francophonie. It may not be too much to hope, though, that, along with soccer and a famously pungent injunction, some of the better ideas of 1649 and 1776 will continue to spread in diffuse, and ironic, ways.

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and a visiting professor at the New School in New York. His book Blood, Class and Empire: Anglo-American Ironies has recently been reissued in paperback.


ETA: From an interesting if not entirely coherent review: http://gaiawriter.blogspot.com/2007/10/ ... se-to.html questions the metaphysics of democracy in a way that illustrates the political content of this material.

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English is a form of force that open traditional cultures to the world. Tribal and feudal populations resent this imposition of language, seeing it as a manifestation of imperialism. The implication here is that not only does our language, but our presumptions about human nature, get enforced on dissident populations. Most of the people the West seeks to influence do not want democracy, education, or the edifice of scientific rationalism: they want jobs, community, shelter and clothing. So the mostly good predominance of English language can be used as a tool of oppression also.


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Post Re: An Anglosphere Future - (Page 99 of Arguably)
LOL

I got the same impression of Oceana. I don't have my book with me and I'm only half-way done with this article. And I also got the impression that we need to come back under the sphere of British control? As if America was a resource to be 'utilized'. As if England is the brains behind the operation and the rest of us need to return to and assume a subordinate role... no, no that's not what we mean, they say. Riiiiight.

RT, I don't understand why Australia has got itself involved in any war other than WWII (because you were attacked). You guys were in WWI and WWII in both Europe and Africa, right? You guys were all over the place! Why??... and then when the Japanese invaded, did you get comparable help? You had so many troops abroad you left yourselves completely vulnerable. Did the Brits send help to defend Australia? Friendship is supposed to work both ways. Subordinate colonies work one.

English speaking race, English speaking peoples... I think this is a dangerous game and can only be used to guilt countries into doing things that are probably not in their best interests. I'll have more later when I finish the article. In my opinion this all stems from 'belief' and 'belief' is more often than not the enemy of truth.



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Post Re: An Anglosphere Future - (Page 99 of Arguably)
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"In late 1967, Britain’s rule in Yemen ended, bringing an end to its centuries of presence “East of Suez.” Has Christopher not heard of the Crown Colony of Hong Kong, handed over by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the People's Republic of China in 1997? Perhaps it is understandable that he does not consider Solomon Islands "East of Suez", since it might be considered Far West as much as Far East, if not Far Out. I will leave it to others to remind readers of the glorious history of Honiara since it is so well known.


Wasn't Hong Kong just a lease? Not real ownership at all.

For sure the Solomon Islands are Far East not west as they are on the east side of the date line.


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as what Hitchens coyly calls "a famously pungent injunction". I rather blush to explain this one (Fuck Off).


You could have saved yourself the explanation and blush as Hitchens already did it for you....
Quote:
As the shadows lengthened over the great harbor at Aden, the governor said that he thought the British Empire would be remembered for only two things: “the game of soccer and the expression ‘fuck off.’ ”


Quote:
And I also got the impression that we need to come back under the sphere of British control? As if America was a resource to be 'utilized'. As if England is the brains behind the operation and the rest of us need to return to and assume a subordinate role... no, no that's not what we mean, they say. Riiiiight.


I think this has always been the British sentiment. I do wonder if somewhere down the road multiculturism will cause us grief, or will comon language alone be enough to make a cohesive group if allies are needed?



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Post Re: An Anglosphere Future - (Page 99 of Arguably)
President Camacho wrote:
LOL ... we need to come back under the sphere of British control? As if America was a resource to be 'utilized'. As if England is the brains behind the operation and the rest of us need to return to and assume a subordinate role... no, no that's not what we mean, they say. Riiiiight.
The Brits really can't get over their old imperial snobbishness about their superiority and their desire to rule the waves. Hitchens is an interesting case, because he shows some humility in terms of willingness to learn from other cultures, but the old racial arrogance keeps peeping through.
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RT, I don't understand why Australia has got itself involved in any war other than WWII (because you were attacked). You guys were in WWI and WWII in both Europe and Africa, right? You guys were all over the place! Why??... and then when the Japanese invaded, did you get comparable help? You had so many troops abroad you left yourselves completely vulnerable. Did the Brits send help to defend Australia? Friendship is supposed to work both ways. Subordinate colonies work one.
Australia is physically isolated, and has always relied on the alliance with a great and powerful friend for protection. Until 1942 it was the UK, and since then it has been the US. So the dominant view is that participation in global efforts to defend Civilization is the best way to secure our national interest. Until the Second World War, Australia considered Britain to be home and the mother country. So we automatically joined Britain's wars out of a sense of imperial loyalty. When England was on the ropes against Hitler we gave priority to their defence. Then, the supposedly impregnable fortress of Singapore fell in 1942, to Japanese riding pushbikes with no tyres through the jungles of Malaya, and suddenly the entire British imperial myth evaporated. Our Prime Minister then turned to the US for protection. The decisive encounter was the Battle of the Coral Sea, in which the US turned the tide of Japanese advance towards Australia. Without the US security umbrella Australia would be a tempting target for large Asian countries. This is why our flag represents British law on the high seas.
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English speaking race, English speaking peoples... I think this is a dangerous game and can only be used to guilt countries into doing things that are probably not in their best interests. I'll have more later when I finish the article. In my opinion this all stems from 'belief' and 'belief' is more often than not the enemy of truth.

The dominance of English as a world language reflects the robust qualities of England as a home of sound institutions, attitudes and laws that enabled it to conquer much of the planet. This appreciation of the British legacy comes out in the comment quoted by Hitchens from the Indian Prime Minister about how India benefited from the Raj. The countries today that are most hostile to Britain, such as Zimbabwe, Venezuela and formerly the Islamic autocracies, have that attitude because they reject democracy, transparency and equality before the law. England may not have built Blake's Jerusalem, but that popular English anthem reflects an idealism that for all its faults still remains admirable and productive.


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Post Re: An Anglosphere Future - (Page 99 of Arguably)
realiz wrote:
Wasn't Hong Kong just a lease? Not real ownership at all.
For sure the Solomon Islands are Far East not west as they are on the east side of the date line.
Hi Realiz - Hitchen's comment was not about ownership but presence. He asserted Britain had no presence East of Suez after giving up Aden in the 1960s. This is just wrong, as Hong Kong remained a crown colony until 1997 and Solomon Islands remained a British protectorate until independence in 1980. Similar with Vanuatu and Fiji. Is this error to be ascribed to indifference, amnesia, ignorance or deliberate snubbing? Why I raise it is that Hitchens seems to think the glorious days of the pink globe ended with the winds of change speech by MacMillan in the 1960s, but he is just wrong, as there was an extended whimper after that.

On the definition of 'Far East', I raised this with Dennis Dz from Taiwan, who kindly gave the following reply.
DennisDz wrote:
Like in your post, for me, the Far East is strictly Asian countries--China (but not even all of it), Korea, Taiwan, and Japan. I do somehow feel that Taiwan is a bridge between East and West, but I also felt that way in Korea as well. I don't consider India, Tibet, or Nepal part of the Far East at all.
I agree that the Far East isn't so far and neither is it so East. I mean, from California, it might even be the Near West?
Happy reading!


The Pacific Islands are not regarded as part of the Far East, because, as Dennis says, the Far East is strictly Asian countries. So it also includes South East Asia, but not any countries in the Pacific unless you want to count Philippines as Pacific.

These labels are about how peripheral places are perceived from the metropolitan center. The Solomon Islands is known in the US primarily for the battle of Gaudalcanal in WW2. So the American relation is west across the Pacific, not east via Asia.

Samoa will move from the east to the west side of the International Date Line on 29 December. Will that shift it from far west to far east by your criterion for Solomon Islands?

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You could have saved yourself the explanation and blush as Hitchens already did it for you....

Sorry I did not express that very well. My main point was meant to be that the British official Latin mottoes are euphemisms for the more crude and direct expression he discusses. :blush:

Image

And btw, Australia is currently hosting CHOGM (la cacophanie?) in Perth. Rwanda has just joined but they don't even play cricket.


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Post Re: An Anglosphere Future - (Page 99 of Arguably)
I think of 'near east' and 'far east' as euro-centric colonial terms with a cultural meaning - ie 'asian' or 'the orient' - I don't think these terms are connected to the date line but the line does separate east and west so makes sense in that way. There are also the 'east Indies' and 'west indies', also eurocentric colonial terms in my view. I've never heard of 'far west' .. only 'out west'!

And certainly Guadacanal was a significant WWII battleground as the Japanese penetrated southward toward Australia, lots of signs still including some amazing wartime ships sitting in the waters of Iron Bottom Sound off Honiara. John F Kennedy was rescued during the war by Solomon Islanders and there is still a special relationship with the US because of this. And the Japanese war memorial in Honiara is visited by Japanese to honour their war dead. Similarly Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya have interesting traces of wartime history, trails over mountain passes where the relics of soldiers, aircraft and other gear from both warring sides can be found. And stories of wandering soldiers lost in the bush who think the war is still on!



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