February 17, 2005

Book Seminar

There will be a Book Seminar at The Hudson Institute on February 24th, 10 AM through 11:30, open to the public.

Seminar topic:

"Mr. Bennett's book sets forth an original and
thought-provoking thesis regarding the nature of
America and its fellow English-speaking nations and
their role in the Twenty-first Century. It argues
that in the wake of the Cold War and acceleration of
technological progress, the relative flexibility and
friendliness to innovation of the English-speaking,
Common Law-based societies (the "Anglosphere")
relative to the Continental European societies and
their imitators will result in a widening of the
economic gap between the two groups of nations,
particularly in the face of the unresolved and
worsening structural and demographic problems of
Continental Europe. Thus, the existing decline in
political and military power of Continental European
nations relative to the rest of the world is likely to
continue and accelerate. The process of European
integration will not, as some predict, reverse these
trends, and to the extent that a unified Europe fails
to implement structural reforms, it will exacerbate

Bennett draws upon recent historical and sociological
research to suggest that theories of American
exceptionalism have exaggerated American uniqueness,
but that the older perceptions of significant
exceptionalism of English-speaking nations in general
relative to the rest of the world are now demonstrated
to have a basis in fact, although the various
ethno-racial and religious explanations of this
exceptionalism (the "Anglo-Saxonism" of Cecil Rhodes,
Kipling, et. al., or various religious theories of
"British Israelism") popular in past periods were
without basis. This conclusion suggests in turn that
the growing Anglosphere-Eurosphere gap will not be
reversed by short-term programmatic changes in
European politics.

Bennett's book draws a number of policy conclusions
and recommendations. These include the conclusion
that American policy supporting the closer integration
of the United Kingdom into European structures is
wrong-headed and self-defeating, and that the US
should adopt a strictly neutral posture on the
upcoming referendum on the European Constitution.
Bennett suggests that the growing phenomenon of
international cooperative structures in trade,
defense, and elsewhere is moving toward the emergence
of what he terms "network commonwealths", permanent
international coalitions of nations with shared
institutions of civil society. He makes the case that
the English-speaking nations contain the potential for
an early example of this phenomenon. The old concept
of an informal "special relationship" between the US
and the UK mediated by the personal relationships of
the socio-political elites of both nations has been
overtaken by events, and that the more open,
meritocratic, and multiethnic nature of the
English-speaking nations now requires a more open,
formalized, and explicitly-negotiated relationship,
such as the network commonwealth would provide.

In larger geopolitical considerations, Bennett
suggests that the alignment of English-speaking
nations has the potential to enjoy a special
relationship with India, based primarily upon the
close links now being forged with the United States
and other English-speaking nations based on
immigration, trade, and a growing security
partnership. Because of India's longer history of
functioning democratic institutions and civil society,
India is more likely to forge close and enduring
relationships with the US in the coming century than
China. A partnership of the Anglosphere nations,
India, and Japan is likely to be a significant core
alignment in this century, an alignment foreshadowed
by the speed and ease of formation of the
US-Australian-Indian-Japanese aid coalition in the
wake of the recent Indian Ocean tsunami disaster."

Posted by Jim Bennett at February 17, 2005 06:01 PM