I’ve often wondered if the near-future (next century) would produce a political/economic entity combing the US and the British Commonwealth, but of late I’ve wondered why there isn’t an English-speaking alternative to America. The Russians are the only viable competitor to America in space, and the EU, at least as an economic power, seems to have peaked around the turn of the millennium. Militarily, the EU still doesn’t have the power to manage a crisis on the scale of the Bosnian conflict of the '90’s, over which it seemed to plead, “Help us now while we’re still young.”
So is it more likely that the Commonwealth will ally with America in some new trading alliance (NAFTA) or the like? Or will some other Anglo force emerge on its own? Or am I completely off-base and a non-English-speaking force will emerge dominant in the next century?
I think you overestimate the importance and solidarity of the Commonwealth. It isn’t of any real significance in the modern age, more a social club for countries that had colonial ties to Britain.
Consequently, it consists of many nations, many of which have differing political and economic strategies for dealing with the world. I don’t think trade agreements with the Commonwealth countries as a whole make sense, given the wide disparity of countries. Trade agreements with Europe make sense, or with Australia and New Zealand as an entity, or with Southern Africa as an entity. But as the whole it would be a mess.
China is catching in space, although seeing that as a meaningful indicator seems rather outdated. Europe’s failure to act in the Balkans wasn’t due to lack of manpower (or firepower), but because of indecision over whether it was right to act at all. The question I’d like to ask the OP is why the English-speaking element is so crucial?
The Commonwealth is of little significance at all, British politicians treat it as a rather tiresome irrelevance which they are obliged to pay lip service to because the Queen is keen on it. “Europe is where our destiny lies”, they keep telling us.
I’ve just finished reading Stranger in a Strange Land and one of the setting constructs is a unified US/Commonwealth union called The Federation, which reminded me of my early-90’s ponderings around such a development. Without, admittedly, researching the numbers, it seams that the English-speaking slice of the human population should be able to support more than a solitary superpower. Or perhaps a combined conglomeration of what would be just short of a pair.
Not trying to be jingoistic, my familial ancestry does not hail to Britain. But as an American I am curious as to what alliances are best pursued, or pondered.
The fusion reactor is an international project. China and Russia are on, maybe India, I don’t remember the list of countries. Originally the USA was supposed to be in too, but later changed its mind. I can’t remember if the USA eventually choose to participate or not.
ITER(Originally this stood for International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor - now it is said to the latin for “The Way” 'cos people might be frightend by “nuclear” and “reactor” :rolleyes:) is a world project. The seven parties (together they include more than half the world population) are:
It is sited in France and the EU is paying the lions share of the cost. Frankly I’ve lost track of how much the US is contributing, on, off, on again. There may be something about stopping direct funding in 2008 but the bulk of the contribution will be in kind - each partner is meant to deliver certain completed components and systems rather than putting large amounts of cash into a central pot. This of course means most of the US conribution gets spent in the US which I guess will be more politically acceptable!
I don’t think ITER can be used as an example of Europe outstripping the US in science, the US is still at the forefront - with the EU and Japan - despite erratic funding decisions over many years. The LHC might be a case in point - the US equivalent was cancelled - except it’s not actually working yet. The big area where the US has dropped back has been in stem cell research and that is now set to change.
Being picky perhaps but it’s not called the British Commonwealth. It’s just “The Commonwealth”. These days, I don’t think that the UK is considered any more special than any other member. The Queen is the symbolic head of The Commonwealth but her heir (ie, Charles) will not automatically become Head.
It’s a ridiculous thought, of course, but I don’t think there is any fundamental reason why the US couldn’t join The Commonwealth. Many of it’s members are republics.
Geographically-based trade partnerships, like NAFTA and the Eurozone, make some sense, because it’s a lot easier to trade with folks nearby than with folks far away. Linguistically-based trade partnerships don’t make sense, though, because people in all countries still speak the language of money.
I suppose you could justify a closer relationship between the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand based on the fact that we’re all stable, industrialized democracies, but there are plenty of other stable democracies in the world that don’t speak English-- Why should we exclude them? Likewise, there are countries which speak English, but which aren’t all that stable or industrialized… Do we want to deal them in just because they talk like us?