Day By Day

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hitch on the Future of the Anglosphere

Well, I finally got back to internet service, sort of. More, better, posting later when I get back to a high speed hookup.

For now, I note that Chistopher Hitchens has an interesting piece on the "Anglosphere" and its importance to the world.

First, he favors an expansive understanding of the scope of the Anglosphere, consisting essentially of all nations with English-speaking traditions and long experience with the Anglo-American civil traditions. This would include, for instance, India, the Philippines and South Africa as well as Canada, the US, Australia and other areas actually settled by the British.

He also notes that this broad coalition has stood together successfully against tyrannies in the past.

He also sees no realistic alternative for effective international cooperation.
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.
All in all, Hitchens sees the informal, and even contentious, familial relationship among the various nations of the Anglosphere as the best vehicle for combating the global challenge posed by Jihadism.

I am broadly sympathetic to this perspective, but would argue that President Bush's approach (forming ad-hoc coalitions of countries with similar interests -- sort of a voluntary association of interested countries -- to deal with specific situations like Iraq or North Korea) is superior. But I recognize that Hitch has a point in that such associations will necessarily have at their core, participation by Anglospheric nations.

Read the piece here.