"The Empire Strikes Back: Liberal Imperialism, Anglosphere and Anglo-Saxonism"
The post below is the first of several that provide a broader context than party politics for understanding the relationship between
In The Breaking of Nations (2003), Robert Cooper, Tony Blair's pro-imperial former foreign policy adviser, called for a return to colonialism by advanced states to mop up the problems caused by 'failed states'. Right wing historian, Robert Conquest, calls for an Anglosphere, a union of English-speaking nations with Anglo values, to be constructed in the world, to promote order, peace and progress. Anglo-Canadian press magnate, Conrad Black, along similar lines, argues that
Cooper's essay caused a storm of controversy in Labour and other leftist circles, being denounced as a return to slavery, colonial oppression and militarism. But his views resonate with some sections of the publics of Anglo-America, and the press and politicians who exert so powerful a hold on opinion. The argument goes thus: there are 'failed', 'rogue' and 'weak' states in the world that are, in varying ways, brutalising and killing their own people, disrupting regional stability, developing weapons of mass destruction, engaging in acts of terror or are linked with violent anti-Western terrorist organisations, such as Al-Qaeda. In such cases, it is the moral duty of successful states, such as
Robert Conquest and, even more, the American internet entrepreneur, James C. Bennett, enthuse about the importance of Anglo-Saxon civilisation and the benefits of exporting it to the rest of the world. Federal Europe divides the civilised world and is anti-American, Conquest claims. The "natural" alternative is an association of like-minded countries, an "English-Speaking Union". "We are… the main bastion against the various barbarisms that have reared their heads so devastatingly in the past half century," Conquest argues. However, this is not a racial union but one based on a "shared commitment to concepts of Law and
Interestingly, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, no less, has endorsed the idea of an Anglosphere – a union of English-speaking nations – to lead the world.
In the late 1930s and early 1940s, many Anglo-American 'idealists' - such as Lionel Curtis and Clarence Streit - proposed a Federal Union of the
The anti-Nazi war, the Cold War, and decolonisation, appeared to have destroyed the credibility and respectability of Anglo-Saxonism, although, under the guise of the Anglo-American 'special relationship', the central ideas of cultural superiority were kept on a backburner. Yet, with the end of the Cold War, a clear opportunity presented itself as 'new' rationales for
The war against the terrorist Al-Qaeda network, Osama Bin Laden and the Taleban followed 9/11, although Iraq was seen as the hidden hand behind the attacks on New York and the Pentagon: a 'rogue state', brutal in the extreme, aggressive and expansionist, linked to terror groups, and constituting an "imminent threat" to the US and Britain.
Anglo-Saxonism remains an influential current in Anglo-American thought. As noted above, it has support at the very top of British government and politics. This is not to suggest that an Anglosphere will result: it merely serves to illustrate the point that there are deeper currents than party politics and accusations of ‘slavishness’ and poodle-ism’ that animate Anglo-American relations.