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Britain can thrive as a vassal state The UK and EU are trapped by delusions of power

(Leon Neal/Getty Images)


June 8, 2023   4 mins

Disgruntled Remainers still furious about Brexit are beginning to morph into the very thing they have long accused their opponents of being: creatures trapped in nostalgic visions of a world that never existed. This strange transformation has been on full display this week, after Rishi Sunak arrived in Washington hoping to deepen American ties on technology, AI and trade.

Sunak’s trip has been dismissed as yet another embarrassing attempt by Brexit Britain to remain relevant when everyone knows it isn’t. But if there is one thing more hoary than the idea of the Special Relationship, it is the notion that Britain is uniquely deluded about its own importance. This is our own very form of exceptionalism.

Still, Brexiteers should not dismiss every diagnosis of the country’s post-Brexit predicament. Of course, Brexit Britain is not a “global power”, but nor was pre-Brexit Britain. Apart from the United States and China, no country on earth is a global power anymore — not even the EU. Battle lines are being picked and Britain is moving into line.

Yes, it is true that Washington really did like having Britain in the EU — which enough American officials have told me to know it is true — because it meant having an ideological ally at the centre of an important trade bloc. Though the degree to which this ever gave Britain much influence in Washington is moot — as is whether Britain should really be basing its foreign policy around its usefulness to America.

More importantly, Brexit has left Britain more exposed to the dangers of great-power protectionism than before. But the purpose of foreign policy is to manage a country’s vulnerabilities. Outside the EU, Britain has different challenges and must therefore pursue a different foreign policy. This is obvious.

Perhaps less obvious is the fact that a perfectly sensible foreign policy has opened up to Britain. The problem for Remainers is that each sensible step down this road, dealing with Britain’s vulnerabilities, makes it increasingly hard to return to the European Union: joining a Pacific trade bloc, aligning with American regulations, agreeing a free trade deal with Australia. And yet, to not take such steps is to give in to exactly the kind of nostalgic longing they believe fuelled Brexit, focused on rejoining a world that has already moved on.

Britain’s negotiations with Washington, then, are best understood not as an attempt to resurrect a lost world, but to build something, piecemeal, that helps it survive in the real one that is emerging today. As one senior British official told me, outside the EU, Britain has little choice but to “internationalise its approach” to reduce its dependencies, strengthening its security partnerships with allies and then to slowly develop them into economic partnerships. Such a world dovetails with America’s plan to create a grand alliance that will block China’s attempts to become the world’s new hegemon. In this vision, economic and security interests are merged — no longer kept separate, as in most EU countries, by outsourcing the latter to Nato. The second core plank of British foreign policy, therefore, must be to nail its colours to the American mast in its competition with China.

Add these together and a strategy emerges. Britain must work with other like-minded powers who are also part of America’s grand alliance. It must think about security and economics as one and turn itself into a “vanguard nation”, moving quickly and forcefully on everything — not in a vain bid to protect the sense of global power it had in the 20th century, but to turn itself into a successful mid-sized power in the 21st: an Atlantic Japan or North Sea Israel. It must align with the US on core questions of national security, turning questions of global trade into wider questions of Western interests. It must place itself in a web of similar countries with similar aspirations, all happy to be independent, junior partners in an American world with no interest in being separate poles of power.

For those paying attention, such a strategy has been building for some time. First came Aukus, the alliance between Britain, Australia and the United States that did so much to annoy the French. Then came Britain’s accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, anchoring the UK into a different global trading alliance. And then, last month, the Hiroshima Accord was signed, a deal between Britain and Japan that deepened industrial cooperation between the two countries, particularly in that most contested of areas: the manufacture and supply of semiconductors. Each policy was significant in itself, but together they start to look like a coherent tactical shift, particularly when added to Britain’s almost hyperactive policy toward Ukraine.

And yet, without an agreement with the United States, such a plan does not make sense: hence Sunak’s visit to Washington this week. The point is not how big or small the agreement will be on GDP, or whether it showcases British “influence” or replaces any lost trade with the EU — but whether it adds another layer to this wider post-Brexit strategy.

But let’s not kid ourselves, though. The EU has significant advantages over the UK. It is an economic giant whose clout offers it a good deal of security against American protectionism. And it’s sheer size means it can pump money into important areas in a way the UK simply cannot.

Yet, the EU has weaknesses of its own. Despite the war in Ukraine, many of the EU’s leading politicians still believe they should — and could — pursue a policy of strategic autonomy from the United States. But as Helen Thompson has pointed out, it is hard to see how it does this

The EU is in a weak position when it comes to energy security, access to raw materials and semiconductors, technological innovation, high-performing universities and, most important of all, any real security presence. The EU aspires to be a world power but cannot defend itself. Rather than becoming an AI superpower, it seems destined to remain dependent on the US. Perhaps even more damagingly, it does not have the collective will to pursue such autonomy, and so faces many of the same fundamental dilemmas as Britain when looking at a world split between the US and China.

And so, for those who believe the UK is living in a world that has disappeared, it is worth pausing at least to ask whether the EU might be trapped in similar delusions itself. If the disastrous handling of Brexit has achieved anything, it is to rob most Brits of any lingering aspirations to global power. The irony is this might be a good thing.


Tom McTague is UnHerd’s Political Editor. He is the author of Betting The House: The Inside Story of the 2017 Election.

TomMcTague

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Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
11 months ago

This is exactly how I saw Brexit. It was never a question of splendid isolation or unlimited sovereignty but a choice between which of two imperial structures we sat under, the continental Franco-German EU or the global maritime US. (I tend to view the EU as an empire with in an empire, which the larger American empire tolerates)

It always seemed to me that Britain, a maritime nation with geography well suited to international trade had made a huge mistake when out of despondence and declinism, we threw away our natural advantages and tied ourselves to a protectionist continental economic model which brought limited benefits and reduced our access to a global trading system built around the Anglophone world we founded.

It is often forgotten what a bizarre construction the EU really is. A modern political construct that supposedly pools sovereignty, run by a class of bureaucratic overseers whose loyalty is explicitly stated to be to the institution, not their home country, which resembles something more like the medieval papacy than its democratic cousins around the world.

It’s true America has not welcomed us with open arms into this arrangement. As the article correctly states they were happy with the UK acting as there man in the inside but more so we’ve just had the misfortune of being caught up in the ugly political civil war consuming America. Brexit’s association with Trump’s populist revolt and Joe Biden’s faux Irish bigotry is delaying what is certainly in America’s long term interests, to draw the UK closer into its coalition of democratic, maritime, trading nations such as Japan, South Korea and Australia.

America asks for free trade and joint defence policies to sit under its umbrella. It does not request control of your immigration policies, the abandonment of monetary autonomy, control of foreign trade, the judicial supremacy of its courts or the subjugation of your legislator in order to co-exist with it. In the end, the price of American imperialism is far less than the of the EU’s.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

As the article correctly states they were happy with the UK acting as there man in the inside but more so we’ve just had the misfortune of being caught up in the ugly political civil war consuming America. Brexit’s association with Trump’s populist revolt and Joe Biden’s faux Irish bigotry is delaying what is certainly in America’s long term interests…”
Great point but I think this issue is tied to America’s general tendency to view the world through the prism of its own domestic neuroses rather than engage with the facts on the ground. This excellent article, which was part of an UnHerd link collection talks about exactly that: https://www.thepullrequest.com/p/we-are-no-longer-a-serious-people
Simone de Beauvoir also complains about this tendency in her diary of her trip to the States in 1947 (“America Day By Day”).

polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

“Great point but I think this issue is tied to America’s general tendency to view the world through the prism of its own domestic neuroses rather than engage with the facts on the ground”
Well said and to over-egg it a bit, my neighbour’s neuroses can easily become my discomfort.

polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

“Great point but I think this issue is tied to America’s general tendency to view the world through the prism of its own domestic neuroses rather than engage with the facts on the ground”
Well said and to over-egg it a bit, my neighbour’s neuroses can easily become my discomfort.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

The US will likely ask for Britain to follow its product standards (hormone-fed beef, anyone?), and allow full access for its big corporations (US drug prices? NHS privatisation?), privacy regulation (full access for all data to any US corporation?) … It is not obvious that the UK will have more say over its own destiny as an American vassal than as a leading member of the EU collective, so what price ‘Take back control!’? Are you really sure the UK will feel more comfortable aligning with Alabama than with Bretagne?

Last edited 11 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
Matt M
Matt M
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Of course we are more comfortable with Americans than the French. That much is obvious to everyone in Britain. We are essentially the same people as the Americans, Aussies, Kiwis etc.

As for alignment on those things, why not if they gave us greater access to the American markets? The Aussies, the Canadians and the Japanese all have FTAs with the US and seem to have thriving agricultural and healthcare sectors.

Last edited 11 months ago by Matt M
Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Totally agree. Although the US is a mix of European peoples – there are plenty of originally German, French, Scandinavian, Irish, Polish and other peoples who would numerically outnumber British settlers. But that said, it’s clearly an Anglo-Saxon culture like ours with a shared heritage in things like common law and business practices.
All this noise about food standards. Yet no one who holidays in Florida or California and eats this “dreadful food” seems to complain while they are there or suffer any adverse consequences. It’s rather like people complaining about global warming and choosing to holiday in hot countries.

Matt M
Matt M
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Immigrants from those countries did arrive in huge waves but generally after the British had been there for 200 years. The most common ancestry in the US is English-American but nowadays is the least talked about. I suppose it lacks the glamour of pretending to be Rob Roy or Wolfe Tone.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Biden’s latest pursuit is ‘white supremacy’ – he’s having none of the Anglo-Saxon relationship.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Biden’s latest pursuit is ‘white supremacy’ – he’s having none of the Anglo-Saxon relationship.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Did you not hear the latest bulletin from Cambridge, there was never any such thing as Anglo-Saxons?

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago

Thanks for the update. I live fairly close to Cambridge, but this news had not yet penetrated out to the sticks 15 miles away. In fact I was in the city yesterday and no one mentioned this very exciting news to me …

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

I think it was the ‘Cambridge’ on the other side of the Pond.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago

Cambridge is seemingly getting dumber by the day.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago

Thanks for the update. I live fairly close to Cambridge, but this news had not yet penetrated out to the sticks 15 miles away. In fact I was in the city yesterday and no one mentioned this very exciting news to me …

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago

Cambridge is seemingly getting dumber by the day.

Phineas
Phineas
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Oh and lack of gun control in the US? School children sot down. Yes Johnson was bad but Trump in another league. Canada more like the UK but disgraceful on help for Ukraine under Trudeau.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

You make two points in two paragraphs..
1. So all Americans have lost their individual European heritages? ..and adopted Anglo Saxon ideals (whatever they are? Angles + Saxons hailed from Germany fgs!). The Irish influence is alive and well. Ask Joe Biden!
And didn’t I read somewhere that the Anglo-Saxons were smashed by the French Normans? ..not to mention the Vikings in the North if England? Anglo-Saxon heritage is a myth in England. It’sa faery take in NY.
2. If you assume Brits are okay with GM foods, hormone ridden beef and chlorinated chicken you’re deluded. And if you think the only effect of global warming is nice warm weather you must be living on another planet, literally!

Matt M
Matt M
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Immigrants from those countries did arrive in huge waves but generally after the British had been there for 200 years. The most common ancestry in the US is English-American but nowadays is the least talked about. I suppose it lacks the glamour of pretending to be Rob Roy or Wolfe Tone.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Did you not hear the latest bulletin from Cambridge, there was never any such thing as Anglo-Saxons?

Phineas
Phineas
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Oh and lack of gun control in the US? School children sot down. Yes Johnson was bad but Trump in another league. Canada more like the UK but disgraceful on help for Ukraine under Trudeau.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

You make two points in two paragraphs..
1. So all Americans have lost their individual European heritages? ..and adopted Anglo Saxon ideals (whatever they are? Angles + Saxons hailed from Germany fgs!). The Irish influence is alive and well. Ask Joe Biden!
And didn’t I read somewhere that the Anglo-Saxons were smashed by the French Normans? ..not to mention the Vikings in the North if England? Anglo-Saxon heritage is a myth in England. It’sa faery take in NY.
2. If you assume Brits are okay with GM foods, hormone ridden beef and chlorinated chicken you’re deluded. And if you think the only effect of global warming is nice warm weather you must be living on another planet, literally!

polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

“We are essentially the same people as the Americans, Aussies, Kiwis etc.”
I’m sorry Matt but that is delusional. Just because we speak the same language does not mean that we have the same interests.

Matt M
Matt M
11 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I didn’t say we had the same interests. Of course American politicians will look out for the US’s interest just like the French government looks out for France’s. But culturally and historically we are closely related. I work with many Americans, Aussies, Kiwis, white South Africans etc. There are differences but they are very minor. I actually think we have more in common culturally with people of Indian heritage than with the French and Germans (though they are fine people and France and Germany are great countries to visit).
And don’t knock the fact that we speak the same language. British people almost never speak foreign languages which means that in Europe (aside from the European upper classes) we cannot speak to each another in a meaningful way. Whereas I can go to Denver or Dunedin tomorrow and start chatting to the neighbours.
And I think there is a level of trust between the English-speaking nations that doesn’t exist between the European ones. I think the AUKUS and 5Eyes pacts are testament to that. Also being on the same side in every war of the 20C helps.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
11 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

He wasn’t saying that to be fair. There is enough common heritage generally with America and Europe to be able to do meaningful business although our hertigage is changing now that the Tories have brought in Woke.

Matt M
Matt M
11 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I didn’t say we had the same interests. Of course American politicians will look out for the US’s interest just like the French government looks out for France’s. But culturally and historically we are closely related. I work with many Americans, Aussies, Kiwis, white South Africans etc. There are differences but they are very minor. I actually think we have more in common culturally with people of Indian heritage than with the French and Germans (though they are fine people and France and Germany are great countries to visit).
And don’t knock the fact that we speak the same language. British people almost never speak foreign languages which means that in Europe (aside from the European upper classes) we cannot speak to each another in a meaningful way. Whereas I can go to Denver or Dunedin tomorrow and start chatting to the neighbours.
And I think there is a level of trust between the English-speaking nations that doesn’t exist between the European ones. I think the AUKUS and 5Eyes pacts are testament to that. Also being on the same side in every war of the 20C helps.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
11 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

He wasn’t saying that to be fair. There is enough common heritage generally with America and Europe to be able to do meaningful business although our hertigage is changing now that the Tories have brought in Woke.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

We may be MM, but clear no trade deal with US anytime soon and we continue to do majority of our trade with EU. Plus foreseeable trade with China going to have some complications in coming years, esp if tying ourselves more to US policy.
So we’ve a dichotomy – we align more with US but tied financially to Europe. That ain’t changing quickly, and one can discern Govt recognises this reality

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

In what way exactly are we “tied financially to Europe” ? Did we join the Euro ? Did the EU ever implement the single market for services so that our superior financial services would dominate the EU market ? I must be missing something.
In fact, that’s the single strongest reason I had for getting out of the EU – so we are not financially tied to Europe. The last thing we need is to be on the hook when the debt mutualisation begging bowl comes round. Which it will. Tony Blair’s on record as saying that EU debt sharing is a good thing. That means us bailing out the profligates. No thanks !

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

42% of our total exports and 48% of total imports ties us v tightly PB. The TCA ties us. The Windsor Framework ties us. Our Businesses lobby to not digress as it’ll increase their costs etc etc
And when you do that much trade with a much larger bloc they always have leverage you don’t.
I think this is a major prob leave supporters never quite grasped and yet it’s so obvious. We’re tied and opted to have less influence too. Genius.
Clearly the outlet of doing more with China to reduce the imbalance with EU not going to be easy as we tie ourselves to the US. they will expect we align on their approach to China trade.
Separate to trade issues one other example – £480m paid to Macron to get a few more beach patrols. Good value? Who has the leverage here? Who’s tied?

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

I don’t think you actually understand how trade works.
By the way, you are aware that France (Mayotte is in metropolitan France) is currently turning back the small illegal migrant boats from the other Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean ? Exactly the same scenario as we have with France. Only they’re doing what they wouldn’t accept us doing.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

I am aware of Comoros. Newsnight covered it some months ago making same point you are about inconsistency – which of course has some validity. Which just shows we don’t have the leverage given the other choke points France and EU hold on us to get away with the same in the Channel, even if we thought that appropriate. You kind of underlined the point for me.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

I am aware of Comoros. Newsnight covered it some months ago making same point you are about inconsistency – which of course has some validity. Which just shows we don’t have the leverage given the other choke points France and EU hold on us to get away with the same in the Channel, even if we thought that appropriate. You kind of underlined the point for me.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

I don’t think you actually understand how trade works.
By the way, you are aware that France (Mayotte is in metropolitan France) is currently turning back the small illegal migrant boats from the other Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean ? Exactly the same scenario as we have with France. Only they’re doing what they wouldn’t accept us doing.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

42% of our total exports and 48% of total imports ties us v tightly PB. The TCA ties us. The Windsor Framework ties us. Our Businesses lobby to not digress as it’ll increase their costs etc etc
And when you do that much trade with a much larger bloc they always have leverage you don’t.
I think this is a major prob leave supporters never quite grasped and yet it’s so obvious. We’re tied and opted to have less influence too. Genius.
Clearly the outlet of doing more with China to reduce the imbalance with EU not going to be easy as we tie ourselves to the US. they will expect we align on their approach to China trade.
Separate to trade issues one other example – £480m paid to Macron to get a few more beach patrols. Good value? Who has the leverage here? Who’s tied?

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

In what way exactly are we “tied financially to Europe” ? Did we join the Euro ? Did the EU ever implement the single market for services so that our superior financial services would dominate the EU market ? I must be missing something.
In fact, that’s the single strongest reason I had for getting out of the EU – so we are not financially tied to Europe. The last thing we need is to be on the hook when the debt mutualisation begging bowl comes round. Which it will. Tony Blair’s on record as saying that EU debt sharing is a good thing. That means us bailing out the profligates. No thanks !

Martin Layfield
Martin Layfield
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

In the past I may have believed this but given how insane American liberalism is now and how ‘wokified’ most American mass culture is becoming I have to admit to being more comfortable with the French than America now.

And then other Anglosphere states like Canada, New Zealand, Australia seem even more woke than the US as well! Sad times.

Matt M
Matt M
11 months ago

But the opposition to Wokery is also strongest in the USA. Pretty soon the Woke trend will die a death and the stake through the heart will be administrated by an American. I think we are already passed peak-woke.

Wesley Rawlings
Wesley Rawlings
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Woke is crucial to American hegemony. It is already used to mark out the free Western good guys from the evil autocratic Eastern bad guys. ESG in particular will be used as a strategy to combat Chinese industrial power. You will not see the end of it in your lifetime.

Marissa M
Marissa M
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Agreed. We have passed ‘peak-woke’ mode. We have also passed ‘peak-Christianity’ mode. And I am glad to start to see the back of them both.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

I sincerely hope you are right Matt. It appears to me that there are some in the Tory party keeping it going. My bet is on Miriam Cates at the moment. One of the few with her head screwed on along with Priti Patel, Liz Truss and Suella Braverman. All women for some reason.

Wesley Rawlings
Wesley Rawlings
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Woke is crucial to American hegemony. It is already used to mark out the free Western good guys from the evil autocratic Eastern bad guys. ESG in particular will be used as a strategy to combat Chinese industrial power. You will not see the end of it in your lifetime.

Marissa M
Marissa M
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Agreed. We have passed ‘peak-woke’ mode. We have also passed ‘peak-Christianity’ mode. And I am glad to start to see the back of them both.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

I sincerely hope you are right Matt. It appears to me that there are some in the Tory party keeping it going. My bet is on Miriam Cates at the moment. One of the few with her head screwed on along with Priti Patel, Liz Truss and Suella Braverman. All women for some reason.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
11 months ago

Even Australia and NZ is going more Woke so we are all losing our original heritage mostly coming in with the Tories in power. A civilisation does not last forever without a meaningful input to revive what is good in our past.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

It’ll take more than woke rubbish to shut down Aussie blunt speaking and sledging. And quite right too. They’re over here next week to give us a reminder.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

In the USA, as well, there’s a ‘woke’ backlash’ and a hard core part of the population that thinks Biden and his ilk have cotton for brains.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

In the USA, as well, there’s a ‘woke’ backlash’ and a hard core part of the population that thinks Biden and his ilk have cotton for brains.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

It’ll take more than woke rubbish to shut down Aussie blunt speaking and sledging. And quite right too. They’re over here next week to give us a reminder.

Phineas
Phineas
11 months ago

Yes. I live in Canada and under Trudeau very woke and into to promoting transgender and guilty about the First Nation people . A mediocre country

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
11 months ago

Sadly as an American I agree.

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
11 months ago

Yes sadly I agree about that. As a Canadian I’m much more at home in the uk and Europe than I am in Canada. The stuff happening over there is socking.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago

I think we are near peak woke. There is quite the backlash brewing here (in Canada). People – especially parents – are starting to openly push back.

Matt M
Matt M
11 months ago

But the opposition to Wokery is also strongest in the USA. Pretty soon the Woke trend will die a death and the stake through the heart will be administrated by an American. I think we are already passed peak-woke.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
11 months ago

Even Australia and NZ is going more Woke so we are all losing our original heritage mostly coming in with the Tories in power. A civilisation does not last forever without a meaningful input to revive what is good in our past.

Phineas
Phineas
11 months ago

Yes. I live in Canada and under Trudeau very woke and into to promoting transgender and guilty about the First Nation people . A mediocre country

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
11 months ago

Sadly as an American I agree.

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
11 months ago

Yes sadly I agree about that. As a Canadian I’m much more at home in the uk and Europe than I am in Canada. The stuff happening over there is socking.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago

I think we are near peak woke. There is quite the backlash brewing here (in Canada). People – especially parents – are starting to openly push back.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

So long as that does not open us up to WEF.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

..a tad racist je pense?

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Totally agree. Although the US is a mix of European peoples – there are plenty of originally German, French, Scandinavian, Irish, Polish and other peoples who would numerically outnumber British settlers. But that said, it’s clearly an Anglo-Saxon culture like ours with a shared heritage in things like common law and business practices.
All this noise about food standards. Yet no one who holidays in Florida or California and eats this “dreadful food” seems to complain while they are there or suffer any adverse consequences. It’s rather like people complaining about global warming and choosing to holiday in hot countries.

polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

“We are essentially the same people as the Americans, Aussies, Kiwis etc.”
I’m sorry Matt but that is delusional. Just because we speak the same language does not mean that we have the same interests.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

We may be MM, but clear no trade deal with US anytime soon and we continue to do majority of our trade with EU. Plus foreseeable trade with China going to have some complications in coming years, esp if tying ourselves more to US policy.
So we’ve a dichotomy – we align more with US but tied financially to Europe. That ain’t changing quickly, and one can discern Govt recognises this reality

Martin Layfield
Martin Layfield
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

In the past I may have believed this but given how insane American liberalism is now and how ‘wokified’ most American mass culture is becoming I have to admit to being more comfortable with the French than America now.

And then other Anglosphere states like Canada, New Zealand, Australia seem even more woke than the US as well! Sad times.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

So long as that does not open us up to WEF.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

..a tad racist je pense?

polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You are correct – That will be the direction of travel.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

It’s almost cute how the same two issues of agricultural products are constantly dragged up! (What’s actually wrong with chlorine washed chicken anyway…?) You can exempt items in specific negotiations as I am sure the Americans also will.

However, this will not result in US law becoming superior to British, or our having to accept free movement, or even (as if we rejoined the EU) in Britain having to transition to adopting the dollar ….

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Even the Americans no longer have a meaningful say over their own country under Biden. What chance would we have? I believe in Brexit with all my heart but I realise that there are two Conservative parties one of them ready to take full advantage of Brexit the other hankering after the EU and also taking on all the Woke in our schools etc. I don’t know the outcome of this but it appears like a lost ship going in circles.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Biden is not forever and might be gone sooner than we think.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Biden is not forever and might be gone sooner than we think.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Well said.. and congratulations on all your downticks from this platform’s prolific Little Englanders.. a sure sign you’re on the right track!

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Yawn

Matt M
Matt M
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Of course we are more comfortable with Americans than the French. That much is obvious to everyone in Britain. We are essentially the same people as the Americans, Aussies, Kiwis etc.

As for alignment on those things, why not if they gave us greater access to the American markets? The Aussies, the Canadians and the Japanese all have FTAs with the US and seem to have thriving agricultural and healthcare sectors.

Last edited 11 months ago by Matt M
polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You are correct – That will be the direction of travel.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

It’s almost cute how the same two issues of agricultural products are constantly dragged up! (What’s actually wrong with chlorine washed chicken anyway…?) You can exempt items in specific negotiations as I am sure the Americans also will.

However, this will not result in US law becoming superior to British, or our having to accept free movement, or even (as if we rejoined the EU) in Britain having to transition to adopting the dollar ….

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Even the Americans no longer have a meaningful say over their own country under Biden. What chance would we have? I believe in Brexit with all my heart but I realise that there are two Conservative parties one of them ready to take full advantage of Brexit the other hankering after the EU and also taking on all the Woke in our schools etc. I don’t know the outcome of this but it appears like a lost ship going in circles.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Well said.. and congratulations on all your downticks from this platform’s prolific Little Englanders.. a sure sign you’re on the right track!

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Yawn

Jonathan Story
Jonathan Story
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

“In the end, the price of American imperialism is far less than the of the EU’s.” Well. It was the US who strong armed the weak and wobbly MacMillan into seeking EEC membership. MacMillan had no concept of UK interests, ie build up the industrial and economic base as goal No 1, 2, 3, 4 and for ever. It is also worth remembering that the State Depa rtment could never care one toss for the UK constitution. To State, it was a joke. Hence the ludicrous critique of Brexit that it was all about nostalgia.
No. Yanks. Its about us Brits wanting to govern ourselves. if you don”‘t like it, shove off.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
11 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan Story

That would all change with Trump. So it appears to depend on which party is in power. We would thrive more under Republicanism but the Democrats would destroy all that is good in Britian if Starmer doesn’t do it first.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
11 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan Story

That would all change with Trump. So it appears to depend on which party is in power. We would thrive more under Republicanism but the Democrats would destroy all that is good in Britian if Starmer doesn’t do it first.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

From a European point of view Brexit did at least weaken the increasingly pernicious influence of the USA and in particular their racial and gender politics

T Bone
T Bone
11 months ago

In our defense, the Woke 19th century Germans started it all! We will be permanently stained by this Marxism with American characteristics but you Brits should have never given Marx safe haven in the first place lol.

Last edited 11 months ago by T Bone
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

You are entirely correct

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

You are entirely correct

T Bone
T Bone
11 months ago

In our defense, the Woke 19th century Germans started it all! We will be permanently stained by this Marxism with American characteristics but you Brits should have never given Marx safe haven in the first place lol.

Last edited 11 months ago by T Bone
Johnathan Galt
Johnathan Galt
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Hilarious! The collectivists are clearly threatened by any movement towards autonomy. Liberty is always an existential threat to totalitarians.

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

‘America asks for free trade and joint defence policies to sit under its umbrella. It does not request control of your immigration policies, the abandonment of monetary autonomy, control of foreign trade, the judicial supremacy of its courts or the subjugation of your legislator in order to co-exist with it. In the end, the price of American imperialism is far less than the of the EU’s.’
America doesn’t need control over the UK’s immigration policies: it has an ocean (not a mere Manche) between us and itself, and a formidable immigration system of its own. ‘Monetary autonomy’ for the pound, euro or any other monetary jurisdiction is also somewhat illusory; the policies of the Federal Bank determine what those of us in the rest of the world must do in response. America DOES control the foreign trade of its allies, through embargoes that suit America’s view of the world. And it DOES demand not only judicial supremacy for its courts but worldwide jurisdiction over anything that has affected American interests or citizens, without proportional reciprocation – hence the extradition of British subjects for ‘crimes’ that are not criminal under our own laws. The only part of that paragraph that is accurate is the last one – but that alone is worth the pain of extricating Britain from the EU. An EU which, despite its pretensions, is subject to all the American influences listed above while trumpeting its imagined independence.

John Riordan
John Riordan
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

A comment that is at least as good as the article itself.

I wholly agree on all points.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

If you remove the wishful thinking your contribution would thin out dramatically. If you placed more emphasis on reality – America’s hegemonic and monetary domination (only it gains: it’s vassals lose) and America’s less than warm welcome of the UKs obsequious attempt to cosy up – your assertions thin out even more.
Most important of all you make no mention of the blatantly obvious imminent decline of the USA and it’s growing isolation and alienation from the BRICS+ OPEC and Africa. You are backing the wrong horse!

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

As the article correctly states they were happy with the UK acting as there man in the inside but more so we’ve just had the misfortune of being caught up in the ugly political civil war consuming America. Brexit’s association with Trump’s populist revolt and Joe Biden’s faux Irish bigotry is delaying what is certainly in America’s long term interests…”
Great point but I think this issue is tied to America’s general tendency to view the world through the prism of its own domestic neuroses rather than engage with the facts on the ground. This excellent article, which was part of an UnHerd link collection talks about exactly that: https://www.thepullrequest.com/p/we-are-no-longer-a-serious-people
Simone de Beauvoir also complains about this tendency in her diary of her trip to the States in 1947 (“America Day By Day”).

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

The US will likely ask for Britain to follow its product standards (hormone-fed beef, anyone?), and allow full access for its big corporations (US drug prices? NHS privatisation?), privacy regulation (full access for all data to any US corporation?) … It is not obvious that the UK will have more say over its own destiny as an American vassal than as a leading member of the EU collective, so what price ‘Take back control!’? Are you really sure the UK will feel more comfortable aligning with Alabama than with Bretagne?

Last edited 11 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
Jonathan Story
Jonathan Story
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

“In the end, the price of American imperialism is far less than the of the EU’s.” Well. It was the US who strong armed the weak and wobbly MacMillan into seeking EEC membership. MacMillan had no concept of UK interests, ie build up the industrial and economic base as goal No 1, 2, 3, 4 and for ever. It is also worth remembering that the State Depa rtment could never care one toss for the UK constitution. To State, it was a joke. Hence the ludicrous critique of Brexit that it was all about nostalgia.
No. Yanks. Its about us Brits wanting to govern ourselves. if you don”‘t like it, shove off.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

From a European point of view Brexit did at least weaken the increasingly pernicious influence of the USA and in particular their racial and gender politics

Johnathan Galt
Johnathan Galt
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Hilarious! The collectivists are clearly threatened by any movement towards autonomy. Liberty is always an existential threat to totalitarians.

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

‘America asks for free trade and joint defence policies to sit under its umbrella. It does not request control of your immigration policies, the abandonment of monetary autonomy, control of foreign trade, the judicial supremacy of its courts or the subjugation of your legislator in order to co-exist with it. In the end, the price of American imperialism is far less than the of the EU’s.’
America doesn’t need control over the UK’s immigration policies: it has an ocean (not a mere Manche) between us and itself, and a formidable immigration system of its own. ‘Monetary autonomy’ for the pound, euro or any other monetary jurisdiction is also somewhat illusory; the policies of the Federal Bank determine what those of us in the rest of the world must do in response. America DOES control the foreign trade of its allies, through embargoes that suit America’s view of the world. And it DOES demand not only judicial supremacy for its courts but worldwide jurisdiction over anything that has affected American interests or citizens, without proportional reciprocation – hence the extradition of British subjects for ‘crimes’ that are not criminal under our own laws. The only part of that paragraph that is accurate is the last one – but that alone is worth the pain of extricating Britain from the EU. An EU which, despite its pretensions, is subject to all the American influences listed above while trumpeting its imagined independence.

John Riordan
John Riordan
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

A comment that is at least as good as the article itself.

I wholly agree on all points.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

If you remove the wishful thinking your contribution would thin out dramatically. If you placed more emphasis on reality – America’s hegemonic and monetary domination (only it gains: it’s vassals lose) and America’s less than warm welcome of the UKs obsequious attempt to cosy up – your assertions thin out even more.
Most important of all you make no mention of the blatantly obvious imminent decline of the USA and it’s growing isolation and alienation from the BRICS+ OPEC and Africa. You are backing the wrong horse!

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
11 months ago

This is exactly how I saw Brexit. It was never a question of splendid isolation or unlimited sovereignty but a choice between which of two imperial structures we sat under, the continental Franco-German EU or the global maritime US. (I tend to view the EU as an empire with in an empire, which the larger American empire tolerates)

It always seemed to me that Britain, a maritime nation with geography well suited to international trade had made a huge mistake when out of despondence and declinism, we threw away our natural advantages and tied ourselves to a protectionist continental economic model which brought limited benefits and reduced our access to a global trading system built around the Anglophone world we founded.

It is often forgotten what a bizarre construction the EU really is. A modern political construct that supposedly pools sovereignty, run by a class of bureaucratic overseers whose loyalty is explicitly stated to be to the institution, not their home country, which resembles something more like the medieval papacy than its democratic cousins around the world.

It’s true America has not welcomed us with open arms into this arrangement. As the article correctly states they were happy with the UK acting as there man in the inside but more so we’ve just had the misfortune of being caught up in the ugly political civil war consuming America. Brexit’s association with Trump’s populist revolt and Joe Biden’s faux Irish bigotry is delaying what is certainly in America’s long term interests, to draw the UK closer into its coalition of democratic, maritime, trading nations such as Japan, South Korea and Australia.

America asks for free trade and joint defence policies to sit under its umbrella. It does not request control of your immigration policies, the abandonment of monetary autonomy, control of foreign trade, the judicial supremacy of its courts or the subjugation of your legislator in order to co-exist with it. In the end, the price of American imperialism is far less than the of the EU’s.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
11 months ago

We are not a superpower, for sure, but nor are we simply a vassal state.
But in the C21st, what defines a Superpower?
Is it simply the size of a country’s standing army? If that was the case then India is a greater Superpower than the US, so it can’t be just that.
I certainly support additional defence spending in the UK because, as a newly sovereign global-facing Britain, it is right that we should have the capability to defend our interests at home and abroad.
But despite our currently much-reduced military capacity, there is surely more to being a superpower than military might alone.
Britain may no longer have its empire (which in truth is usually only something harped on about by the Remain lobby and the Brit-bashing left – or journalists wishing to tweak the pique of their readers) but, although we often portray ourselves as a damp, diminished little island, it is worth remembering where we stand globally – despite our relatively tiny size, geographically, we have the 6th largest economy in the world and the 6th largest defence budget, we’re a nuclear power. We have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and are a founding member and the 2nd most influential power in NATO. We are a key member of the G7 and G20, a member of AUKUS and Five Eyes Intel sharing, and the nexus of all Commonwealth countries.
We’re cultural world leaders in music, film and the arts. Our language is the most widely spoken on the planet and has become the adopted lingua franca of global trade. London – for now – vies only with New York as the financial capital of the globe and, by virtue of our historical, colonial and trading links, we have diplomatic relationships and ‘soft-power’ influence that are the envy (literally the seething, covetous envy) of most other European nations. That is not simply my judgement – the UK has been voted as the country with the greatest soft power influence on the globe, (in 2019, 2020 and 21 so ‘despite Brexit’) – and yet there are still those in our Parliament who’d have us believe that we’d be better off simply allowing all our foreign policy and trade to be conducted through Brussels. Or who feel we’d be better off just curling up at the first sign of trouble, like a hedgehog being nosed by a predator.
I know it pains many on the left to admit such a thing but “Western Liberal Values” are demonstrably better for the people that live under them, than the various other ideologies and regimes elsewhere in the world.
But what we would consider basic liberal values are NOT a default position for most of the world. If you want the world to adopt democracy, or universal suffrage, or equal rights, or any of the other things we are lucky enough to take for granted, then you need to support the idea of Western predominance – the West has lost influence due in large part because the West seems to have lost the confidence to demonstrate to the rest of the world that our values, our laws and our tolerance lead to better outcomes. And sometimes, to project the superiority of western liberal democratic values, and to protect our interests, that involves intervention.
Unpalatable as that may be, it is undeniable.
Whenever the UK or America intervenes in another country or region, they’ll inevitably face the opprobrium of the western liberal media.
Whenever the UK or America chooses not to intervene they’ll face criticism from the same media sources, accusing them of standing idly by while ‘XYZ’ is being perpetrated.
Damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
Too many people find it too easy to stand on the sidelines complaining.
Pick a team – and then back it.
Military power, now that we are beyond the era of empire building, is mainly about deterrence. Little about Biden’s panicky withdrawal from Afghanistan would deter anyone. Indeed, it merely invites attack. EU member states have long resisted the need to divvy up and pay their fair share to support NATO. Instead they seem to prefer the self-aggrandising pomp of forming their own EU army. If such a thing comes into being then we already know what Brussels’ common defence policy priorities are – we’ve seen the paperwork and budgets. Spending billions to build a shiny new headquarters, to house yet more wretched bureaucrats, and with all the strategic effectiveness of the Maginot line. Perhaps I’m being cynical but I have the suspicion that an EU army is just another item on the checklist so that Brussels can bolster its imperial pretensions – not as an effective fighting force, so much as a vanity project, a decorative show of pomp – decked out in suitably gaudy, faux-Prussian dress uniforms to parade outside the institution’s buildings with as much grandeur and ceremony as possible – to allow the preening panjandrums of the Berlaymont to feel even more self-important (if such a thing were possible).
We cannot look to the US for leadership whilst Biden is in office nor, thankfully, are we part of an EU pretending to be a superpower. But with a resurgent and belligerent Russia and China it is right that Britain – whilst not a superpower – is still seen as a country of global influence and significance that still punches well above its weight.

Last edited 11 months ago by Paddy Taylor
Jake Prior
Jake Prior
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Western Liberal values may also be demonstrably self defeating when you look at the prognosis for the populations of those that were born into those values and might be assumed to hold them most dearly. I’m afraid those living with other values hold with equal certainty that their values are demonstrably better than ours. They just use different parameters, which in their cultures might really be more important for them. For instance a highly religious culture might use the depth of faith in the population as a defining feature, or social cohesion, or any number of things we look pretty bad at. The evangelical zeal with which Tony Blair still justifies the Iraq war along lines not far from the superiority of Western values leaves me shaking with rage and, along with our numerous catastrophic interventions, leaves me deeply unsure of this assumption at the very least in terms of it’s applicability to historically and culturally completely different societies. You might argue who’s right and who’s wrong, but the likelihood is never the twain shall meet and in 100 years time demographics will provide the answer.

Last edited 11 months ago by Jake Prior
polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“is still seen as a country of global influence and significance that still punches well above its weight”
There were boxers in my family – nobody punches above their weight.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“ but nor are we simply a vassal state.”

Whilst I am delighted that you should think that, I must reluctantly disabuse you of that patriotic notion.

We have been completely beholden to the US ever since Lord Balfour’s timely visit to the US in late 1916 to beg for funds to continue the conflict. The antics of WSC in late 1940 further exacerbated the problem.

When ‘push came to shove’ we meekly obeyed the UN/US resolution to abandon Palestine in 1948, and cease operations at Suez in 1956.
In between we answered the call in Korea, 1950-3.

We shall have to disagree over Vietnam, but our recent obsequious behaviour over Iraq was truly disgraceful. As to N Ireland was the GFA the work of the Blair creature or in reality the diktat of one Bill Clinton?
The Falklands War mini war would NOT have been possible without the wholehearted acquiescence of Ronald Reagan.

Finally to our so called independent nuclear deterrent. There is no possibility that it could be used unilaterally!* All the ‘software’ is US made and I doubt that if our submarine commander pressed the dreaded ‘red button’ it would actually work without the necessary ‘go code ‘ from the US.

Frankly I feel as disappointed about all this as you obviously do, but at the end of the day we only have ourselves to blame. After more than three very happy centuries of plunder and profit, “we lost it” in 1914, and have never fully recovered.
Sadly “History takes no prisoners “.**

ps. A a definition of a superpower may I offer ‘a superpower is one that can a fight super war from its own resources ’. (Something we abjectly failed to do in both 1914-18 and again in 1939-45.)

(* David Cameron, of undying fame, claimed differently!)
(** The late Dr John Mann.)

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago

Charles, while it’s entertaining to regard our historical plunder and profit as something to be proud of, don’t you think that sort of thing just gives licence to the US and Russians to do more of the same ? And just what is your beef with the US here ? Don’t you rate them because they’re not up to it on the plunder and profit side ?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

You know as well as I that we were probably the most benign Imperial power there has ever been, with the possible exception of Ancient Rome. We ultimately ‘ploughed back’ into the Empire as much we took out.

I have no ‘beef’ with the Americans, they have ‘played their hand superbly, and are in many ways a most generous Hegemon it must be said.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago

Tend to agree. But not sure we’re the right people to “mark our own homework” on our record. I think in time a more balanced picture of our history will come through. Probably not one written by anyone British based on current trends. And will be more convincing if it comes from the countries who were colonised.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Well we do have this from the renowned Spanish philosopher George Santayana*, who taught at Harvard in his youth:-“

“Never since the heroic days of Greece has the world had such a sweet, just, boyish master. It will be a black day for the human race when scientific blackguards, conspirators, churls, and fanatics manage to supplant him.”

(*1863-1952.)

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago

Compared to the Spanish and Belgians et al, yes, for sure the BE was so nice.. in the same way the 3rd Reich was so much nicer than Pol Pot or Gengis Khan, who in turn were probably nicer thar Satan himself.. ’tis all relative Charlie.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago

Compared to the Spanish and Belgians et al, yes, for sure the BE was so nice.. in the same way the 3rd Reich was so much nicer than Pol Pot or Gengis Khan, who in turn were probably nicer thar Satan himself.. ’tis all relative Charlie.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Well we do have this from the renowned Spanish philosopher George Santayana*, who taught at Harvard in his youth:-“

“Never since the heroic days of Greece has the world had such a sweet, just, boyish master. It will be a black day for the human race when scientific blackguards, conspirators, churls, and fanatics manage to supplant him.”

(*1863-1952.)

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago

You got my downtick for para.1 – your plunder of India was a great example of ploughing back in!
But I gave you an uptick for para.2 but only because, like us, you guys are white, Christian (or a sort) with too low a prospect of stealing your oil. So yes, a generous Hegemon to you (and us).. TG we’re not brown, Muslim, and resource rich eh Charlie?

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago

Tend to agree. But not sure we’re the right people to “mark our own homework” on our record. I think in time a more balanced picture of our history will come through. Probably not one written by anyone British based on current trends. And will be more convincing if it comes from the countries who were colonised.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago

You got my downtick for para.1 – your plunder of India was a great example of ploughing back in!
But I gave you an uptick for para.2 but only because, like us, you guys are white, Christian (or a sort) with too low a prospect of stealing your oil. So yes, a generous Hegemon to you (and us).. TG we’re not brown, Muslim, and resource rich eh Charlie?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

You know as well as I that we were probably the most benign Imperial power there has ever been, with the possible exception of Ancient Rome. We ultimately ‘ploughed back’ into the Empire as much we took out.

I have no ‘beef’ with the Americans, they have ‘played their hand superbly, and are in many ways a most generous Hegemon it must be said.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago

Such honest from you Charlie. I’m overcome! What say you to doing a deal with China? ..but no opium this time!!

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago

Charles, while it’s entertaining to regard our historical plunder and profit as something to be proud of, don’t you think that sort of thing just gives licence to the US and Russians to do more of the same ? And just what is your beef with the US here ? Don’t you rate them because they’re not up to it on the plunder and profit side ?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago

Such honest from you Charlie. I’m overcome! What say you to doing a deal with China? ..but no opium this time!!

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I’m currently enjoying Dr Nigel Biggar’s book Colonialism… It ties in with your excellent observations… I understand better now.

P Branagan
P Branagan
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Sweet Lord the racism continues unabated but now under a different guise.
It’s SO unfashionable to think you’re superior because of the colour of your skin.
But now it’s OK to consider all other cultures and value systems to be inherently and irredeemably inferior to those developed by AngloSaxon brains.
‘Western Liberal Values” are demonstrably better for the people that live under them, than the various other ideologies and regimes elsewhere in the world.’
What arrogance!
Let us consider the many many tens of millions across the world killed directly or indirectly in support of promoting ‘Western Liberal Values’: Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen to name just some of the more egregious examples.

Not to recognise the outstanding success of China over the past 50 years, were over 650,000,000 people were lifted from dire poverty to comfortable middle class living shows deliberate ignorance or sheer willful blindness. The lifespan of the average Chinese has increased by over 30 years.
The success of China over that period is simply unprecedented in human history. That success is not only marginally superior to any previous wave of progress it is, at least, an order of magnitude better – measured by the number of humans who benefited and the short timescale of the achievement.
As for inalienable freedom and rights under Western Liberal Values it has been shown beyond reasonable doubt that they are a fiction. The response to Covid proved that our freedoms or rights – are contingent on the whims of the deep state.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  P Branagan

Largely nonsense.
If cultures are different – which you do not dispute – then there will be different strengths and weaknesses in each of them. In some situations, some cultures will do better relative to others.
There is nothing remotely contentious or “racist” about such an observation. It is nothing whatever to do with race.
No one is saying that a culture is “better”. We don’t need to. What is beyond dispute is that some are more successful than others. North vs South Korea is the most glaring example.
For example, Hong Kong became incredibly successful by adopting and turbo-charging many of the best aspects of British capitalism while filtering out some of the worst. Cultural assimilation is clearly not dependent on race – at least not the ability to do this where people are willing and motivated to learn and adapt.
In general, successful cultures today are those that emphasise learning and adaptation and de-emphasise ideology and rigid beliefs. They also prefer delayed gratification over instant rewards. They are also built around rule of law states.
You also neglect a few relevant facts.
Like the fact that Mao created and maintained much of the poverty in China.
And that the Indochina wars also involved interference by Russia and China (and France making a total pig’s ear of decolonisation – the Anericans got to clean up the mess the French left behind – and not for the first time).

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

I suppose it depends on how you define “success” and, most importantly, success fir whom? If you check you’ll find the 1% did well; the rest? …no so much!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

I suppose it depends on how you define “success” and, most importantly, success fir whom? If you check you’ll find the 1% did well; the rest? …no so much!

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
11 months ago
Reply to  P Branagan

I could simply dismiss your rebuttal as absolute twaddle, but in the spirit of good debate I’d ask you to consider – and try and refute – the following:
The great ideas of the West— the rule of law, equality before the law, freedom of conscience and expression, human rights, rationalism, self-criticism, the disinterested search for truth, the separation of church and state, liberal democracy—together constitute quite an achievement for any civilization, surely you’d accept?.
This basic set of principles remains the best and perhaps only means for all people, regardless of race or creed, to live in freedom and reach their full potential.
These values form the basis of the West’s self-evident economic, social, political, scientific and cultural success. When such Western values have been adopted by other societies, such as Japan or South Korea, their citizens have reaped benefits. You talk of China – well they advanced financially by copying western style capitalism – however I very much doubt you’d enjoy living there as a free-thinking citizen – precisely because China although they adopted Western capitalism, they failed to adopt Western values.
We in the west are free to think what we want, to read what we want, to practice our religion, to live as we choose – unless we throw it all away by allowing the neo-authoritarian-woke to dismantle this legacy,
It is the West that has liberated women, racial minorities and religious minorities, by recognizing their rights. 

And yet, all you got out of my comment was “Racism”? Really?

Last edited 11 months ago by Paddy Taylor
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I admire your patience!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Oh come off it! Deal with the real results, not the idealised, romanticised stuff of fiction. Focus on the actual effects on real people, not just the 1%. You’ll find the facts are very different to the pie in the sky, schoolboyish, wishful thinking. India was perhaps the wealthiest ‘country’ on Earth before it was plundered (from 28% of World GDP to 4%). Had you left it alone half of impoverished GB would be emigrating, illegally into India! And please don’t say you civilised the people of the Indus Valley!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I admire your patience!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Oh come off it! Deal with the real results, not the idealised, romanticised stuff of fiction. Focus on the actual effects on real people, not just the 1%. You’ll find the facts are very different to the pie in the sky, schoolboyish, wishful thinking. India was perhaps the wealthiest ‘country’ on Earth before it was plundered (from 28% of World GDP to 4%). Had you left it alone half of impoverished GB would be emigrating, illegally into India! And please don’t say you civilised the people of the Indus Valley!

T Bone
T Bone
11 months ago
Reply to  P Branagan

Remind us- What was the Origin of Covid?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Gain a function virology in Chapel Hill Lab, University of North Carolina.. the China episode was downstream. Check it out for yourself

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Gain a function virology in Chapel Hill Lab, University of North Carolina.. the China episode was downstream. Check it out for yourself

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  P Branagan

Would the imprisonment and psychological torture of Julian Assange be a good measure of the value if Western Liberal Values? Wasn’t JFK murdered by the CIA for espousing genuine WLD values? Didn’t those WLD values account for much of history’s genocides, slavery, forced famines and plunder? If so, maybe it’s not really superior in any way other than in beastial brutality?

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  P Branagan

Largely nonsense.
If cultures are different – which you do not dispute – then there will be different strengths and weaknesses in each of them. In some situations, some cultures will do better relative to others.
There is nothing remotely contentious or “racist” about such an observation. It is nothing whatever to do with race.
No one is saying that a culture is “better”. We don’t need to. What is beyond dispute is that some are more successful than others. North vs South Korea is the most glaring example.
For example, Hong Kong became incredibly successful by adopting and turbo-charging many of the best aspects of British capitalism while filtering out some of the worst. Cultural assimilation is clearly not dependent on race – at least not the ability to do this where people are willing and motivated to learn and adapt.
In general, successful cultures today are those that emphasise learning and adaptation and de-emphasise ideology and rigid beliefs. They also prefer delayed gratification over instant rewards. They are also built around rule of law states.
You also neglect a few relevant facts.
Like the fact that Mao created and maintained much of the poverty in China.
And that the Indochina wars also involved interference by Russia and China (and France making a total pig’s ear of decolonisation – the Anericans got to clean up the mess the French left behind – and not for the first time).

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
11 months ago
Reply to  P Branagan

I could simply dismiss your rebuttal as absolute twaddle, but in the spirit of good debate I’d ask you to consider – and try and refute – the following:
The great ideas of the West— the rule of law, equality before the law, freedom of conscience and expression, human rights, rationalism, self-criticism, the disinterested search for truth, the separation of church and state, liberal democracy—together constitute quite an achievement for any civilization, surely you’d accept?.
This basic set of principles remains the best and perhaps only means for all people, regardless of race or creed, to live in freedom and reach their full potential.
These values form the basis of the West’s self-evident economic, social, political, scientific and cultural success. When such Western values have been adopted by other societies, such as Japan or South Korea, their citizens have reaped benefits. You talk of China – well they advanced financially by copying western style capitalism – however I very much doubt you’d enjoy living there as a free-thinking citizen – precisely because China although they adopted Western capitalism, they failed to adopt Western values.
We in the west are free to think what we want, to read what we want, to practice our religion, to live as we choose – unless we throw it all away by allowing the neo-authoritarian-woke to dismantle this legacy,
It is the West that has liberated women, racial minorities and religious minorities, by recognizing their rights. 

And yet, all you got out of my comment was “Racism”? Really?

Last edited 11 months ago by Paddy Taylor
T Bone
T Bone
11 months ago
Reply to  P Branagan

Remind us- What was the Origin of Covid?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  P Branagan

Would the imprisonment and psychological torture of Julian Assange be a good measure of the value if Western Liberal Values? Wasn’t JFK murdered by the CIA for espousing genuine WLD values? Didn’t those WLD values account for much of history’s genocides, slavery, forced famines and plunder? If so, maybe it’s not really superior in any way other than in beastial brutality?

Iris C
Iris C
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Think for a moment! Who is going to invade us? Not the Russians or the Chinese! They have always only been concerned with their own borders and surrounding countries..
I believe that aligning ourselves with the USA which has invaded numerous countries far from their borders, both in the last century and since 2000 (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Libya and South American countries which did not toe their political line, is against our interest and stability..
The word “diplomacy” is not in its vocabulary…

Last edited 11 months ago by Iris C
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Iris C

Don’t worry too much about the possible invasion of GB by the USA (unless Biden goes overboard on his Irishness!) ..they tend to focus on brown Muslims with lots of easy to steal oil. GB is way down the list.. but as Muslims outnumber Christians in GB, in say 20 years time, yeah, maybe rotate the guns westward to be on the safe side!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Iris C

Don’t worry too much about the possible invasion of GB by the USA (unless Biden goes overboard on his Irishness!) ..they tend to focus on brown Muslims with lots of easy to steal oil. GB is way down the list.. but as Muslims outnumber Christians in GB, in say 20 years time, yeah, maybe rotate the guns westward to be on the safe side!

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Biden is a disappointment for sure. This too will pass.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Looks like another Paddy though, in the form of RFK jnr! So still no trade deal for you guys!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Looks like another Paddy though, in the form of RFK jnr! So still no trade deal for you guys!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

A tad one-sided, over-egged and replete with wishful thinking and a few glaring omissions.. but very well put if we ignore those minor shortcomings! One question:
Please explain what you mean by China’s “belligerence” compared to say, US belligerence and its attendant invasions, bombings, regime coups, assassinations, oil theft, war crimes and murderous sanctions.. the US death toll in the last 30 years of its benign hegemony stands (as of a US study) at 8 million and counting.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

it might be contentious to ask you to identify the least belligerent US president – by record- of the last century?

I guess having to admit that it was, for all his obvious faults, Donald Trump, might make your head explode

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

it might be contentious to ask you to identify the least belligerent US president – by record- of the last century?

I guess having to admit that it was, for all his obvious faults, Donald Trump, might make your head explode

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Western Liberal values may also be demonstrably self defeating when you look at the prognosis for the populations of those that were born into those values and might be assumed to hold them most dearly. I’m afraid those living with other values hold with equal certainty that their values are demonstrably better than ours. They just use different parameters, which in their cultures might really be more important for them. For instance a highly religious culture might use the depth of faith in the population as a defining feature, or social cohesion, or any number of things we look pretty bad at. The evangelical zeal with which Tony Blair still justifies the Iraq war along lines not far from the superiority of Western values leaves me shaking with rage and, along with our numerous catastrophic interventions, leaves me deeply unsure of this assumption at the very least in terms of it’s applicability to historically and culturally completely different societies. You might argue who’s right and who’s wrong, but the likelihood is never the twain shall meet and in 100 years time demographics will provide the answer.

Last edited 11 months ago by Jake Prior
polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“is still seen as a country of global influence and significance that still punches well above its weight”
There were boxers in my family – nobody punches above their weight.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“ but nor are we simply a vassal state.”

Whilst I am delighted that you should think that, I must reluctantly disabuse you of that patriotic notion.

We have been completely beholden to the US ever since Lord Balfour’s timely visit to the US in late 1916 to beg for funds to continue the conflict. The antics of WSC in late 1940 further exacerbated the problem.

When ‘push came to shove’ we meekly obeyed the UN/US resolution to abandon Palestine in 1948, and cease operations at Suez in 1956.
In between we answered the call in Korea, 1950-3.

We shall have to disagree over Vietnam, but our recent obsequious behaviour over Iraq was truly disgraceful. As to N Ireland was the GFA the work of the Blair creature or in reality the diktat of one Bill Clinton?
The Falklands War mini war would NOT have been possible without the wholehearted acquiescence of Ronald Reagan.

Finally to our so called independent nuclear deterrent. There is no possibility that it could be used unilaterally!* All the ‘software’ is US made and I doubt that if our submarine commander pressed the dreaded ‘red button’ it would actually work without the necessary ‘go code ‘ from the US.

Frankly I feel as disappointed about all this as you obviously do, but at the end of the day we only have ourselves to blame. After more than three very happy centuries of plunder and profit, “we lost it” in 1914, and have never fully recovered.
Sadly “History takes no prisoners “.**

ps. A a definition of a superpower may I offer ‘a superpower is one that can a fight super war from its own resources ’. (Something we abjectly failed to do in both 1914-18 and again in 1939-45.)

(* David Cameron, of undying fame, claimed differently!)
(** The late Dr John Mann.)

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I’m currently enjoying Dr Nigel Biggar’s book Colonialism… It ties in with your excellent observations… I understand better now.

P Branagan
P Branagan
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Sweet Lord the racism continues unabated but now under a different guise.
It’s SO unfashionable to think you’re superior because of the colour of your skin.
But now it’s OK to consider all other cultures and value systems to be inherently and irredeemably inferior to those developed by AngloSaxon brains.
‘Western Liberal Values” are demonstrably better for the people that live under them, than the various other ideologies and regimes elsewhere in the world.’
What arrogance!
Let us consider the many many tens of millions across the world killed directly or indirectly in support of promoting ‘Western Liberal Values’: Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen to name just some of the more egregious examples.

Not to recognise the outstanding success of China over the past 50 years, were over 650,000,000 people were lifted from dire poverty to comfortable middle class living shows deliberate ignorance or sheer willful blindness. The lifespan of the average Chinese has increased by over 30 years.
The success of China over that period is simply unprecedented in human history. That success is not only marginally superior to any previous wave of progress it is, at least, an order of magnitude better – measured by the number of humans who benefited and the short timescale of the achievement.
As for inalienable freedom and rights under Western Liberal Values it has been shown beyond reasonable doubt that they are a fiction. The response to Covid proved that our freedoms or rights – are contingent on the whims of the deep state.

Iris C
Iris C
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Think for a moment! Who is going to invade us? Not the Russians or the Chinese! They have always only been concerned with their own borders and surrounding countries..
I believe that aligning ourselves with the USA which has invaded numerous countries far from their borders, both in the last century and since 2000 (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Libya and South American countries which did not toe their political line, is against our interest and stability..
The word “diplomacy” is not in its vocabulary…

Last edited 11 months ago by Iris C
Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Biden is a disappointment for sure. This too will pass.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

A tad one-sided, over-egged and replete with wishful thinking and a few glaring omissions.. but very well put if we ignore those minor shortcomings! One question:
Please explain what you mean by China’s “belligerence” compared to say, US belligerence and its attendant invasions, bombings, regime coups, assassinations, oil theft, war crimes and murderous sanctions.. the US death toll in the last 30 years of its benign hegemony stands (as of a US study) at 8 million and counting.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
11 months ago

We are not a superpower, for sure, but nor are we simply a vassal state.
But in the C21st, what defines a Superpower?
Is it simply the size of a country’s standing army? If that was the case then India is a greater Superpower than the US, so it can’t be just that.
I certainly support additional defence spending in the UK because, as a newly sovereign global-facing Britain, it is right that we should have the capability to defend our interests at home and abroad.
But despite our currently much-reduced military capacity, there is surely more to being a superpower than military might alone.
Britain may no longer have its empire (which in truth is usually only something harped on about by the Remain lobby and the Brit-bashing left – or journalists wishing to tweak the pique of their readers) but, although we often portray ourselves as a damp, diminished little island, it is worth remembering where we stand globally – despite our relatively tiny size, geographically, we have the 6th largest economy in the world and the 6th largest defence budget, we’re a nuclear power. We have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and are a founding member and the 2nd most influential power in NATO. We are a key member of the G7 and G20, a member of AUKUS and Five Eyes Intel sharing, and the nexus of all Commonwealth countries.
We’re cultural world leaders in music, film and the arts. Our language is the most widely spoken on the planet and has become the adopted lingua franca of global trade. London – for now – vies only with New York as the financial capital of the globe and, by virtue of our historical, colonial and trading links, we have diplomatic relationships and ‘soft-power’ influence that are the envy (literally the seething, covetous envy) of most other European nations. That is not simply my judgement – the UK has been voted as the country with the greatest soft power influence on the globe, (in 2019, 2020 and 21 so ‘despite Brexit’) – and yet there are still those in our Parliament who’d have us believe that we’d be better off simply allowing all our foreign policy and trade to be conducted through Brussels. Or who feel we’d be better off just curling up at the first sign of trouble, like a hedgehog being nosed by a predator.
I know it pains many on the left to admit such a thing but “Western Liberal Values” are demonstrably better for the people that live under them, than the various other ideologies and regimes elsewhere in the world.
But what we would consider basic liberal values are NOT a default position for most of the world. If you want the world to adopt democracy, or universal suffrage, or equal rights, or any of the other things we are lucky enough to take for granted, then you need to support the idea of Western predominance – the West has lost influence due in large part because the West seems to have lost the confidence to demonstrate to the rest of the world that our values, our laws and our tolerance lead to better outcomes. And sometimes, to project the superiority of western liberal democratic values, and to protect our interests, that involves intervention.
Unpalatable as that may be, it is undeniable.
Whenever the UK or America intervenes in another country or region, they’ll inevitably face the opprobrium of the western liberal media.
Whenever the UK or America chooses not to intervene they’ll face criticism from the same media sources, accusing them of standing idly by while ‘XYZ’ is being perpetrated.
Damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
Too many people find it too easy to stand on the sidelines complaining.
Pick a team – and then back it.
Military power, now that we are beyond the era of empire building, is mainly about deterrence. Little about Biden’s panicky withdrawal from Afghanistan would deter anyone. Indeed, it merely invites attack. EU member states have long resisted the need to divvy up and pay their fair share to support NATO. Instead they seem to prefer the self-aggrandising pomp of forming their own EU army. If such a thing comes into being then we already know what Brussels’ common defence policy priorities are – we’ve seen the paperwork and budgets. Spending billions to build a shiny new headquarters, to house yet more wretched bureaucrats, and with all the strategic effectiveness of the Maginot line. Perhaps I’m being cynical but I have the suspicion that an EU army is just another item on the checklist so that Brussels can bolster its imperial pretensions – not as an effective fighting force, so much as a vanity project, a decorative show of pomp – decked out in suitably gaudy, faux-Prussian dress uniforms to parade outside the institution’s buildings with as much grandeur and ceremony as possible – to allow the preening panjandrums of the Berlaymont to feel even more self-important (if such a thing were possible).
We cannot look to the US for leadership whilst Biden is in office nor, thankfully, are we part of an EU pretending to be a superpower. But with a resurgent and belligerent Russia and China it is right that Britain – whilst not a superpower – is still seen as a country of global influence and significance that still punches well above its weight.

Last edited 11 months ago by Paddy Taylor
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago

It’s a very long time since “most Brits” had “aspirations to be a global power” and i’ve no idea why supposedly intelligent and politically-savvy writers keep banging on along these lines.

This really does obfuscate the balancing act which the writer seems to have sought in the article and to some extent might have acheived, had it not been predicated on this old “global power” trope for which the term “straw-man argument” might’ve been invented.

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Murray
Matt M
Matt M
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I have never heard a Eurosceptic claim that Brexit would make us a “global power”. I think the author is confusing this with the slogan “global Britain” which relates to having a broader set of trading arrangements than possible within the EU.

If the case for Britain being in the EU was so strong, its advocates wouldn’t have to invent these straw-man arguments.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Bojo’s statement on Global Britain included – ‘blessed with a global network of friends <and> …our Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU gives us the freedom to do things differently and better, both economically and politically’. Certainly suggestive we were going to do lots of other deals enhancing our Global position, albeit the bit he couldn’t avoid was how key the TCA is too (and up for renegotiation next year).
His statement also went on about our largest warship ever, Queen Elizabeth patrolling the middle east and indo-pacific projecting our soft power etc So that links back to SM’s point on ‘aspirations’. You don’t have an aircraft carrier built so it can patrol the South China sea without aspirations on one’s world role.
Whether Sunak quite shares all this inheritance isn’t so clear, yet. But he sure ain’t getting a trade deal with US, and if any chance of being an AI governance leader (what he was there begging for) he has to go with broader US policy as he’s no EU leverage to deploy.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago