November 17, 2005

Isolationism or Anglospherism?

According to a new research report from Pew Research, Americans are growing more isolationist, with 42% now saying that the U.S. should "mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own." In addition, American views about allied nations have changed. Strong pluralities think that Germany and especially France will become less important American allies in the future, while India, China, Britain, and Japan are perceived as probably becoming more important. Other than China, all of these allies are part of what Jim Bennett calls the "cricket and baseball alliance" -- which, for instance, was quite instrumental in providing assistance after the Asian tsunami last year (we must also include the Aussies in that honor roll). The poll results point in a somewhat imprecise fashion to the emergence of a stronger sense of Anglospheric identity, though one would need to ask a different set of questions to get at the heart of the matter. Furthermore, the poll results indicate that Americans are increasingly skeptical about the prospects for transplanting "democracy" to Iraq or other nations in the Middle East. To me, this seems a reasonable extension of the fact that Middle Eastern cultures have very little base of consensual government, civil society, volunteerism, markets, objective law, entrepreneurship, individualism, engineering, or science on which to build. As I've hinted before, I think it would be better to work more intimately with countries and cultures that are closer to these broadly Anglospheric habits, practices, and attitudes (most centrally Britain, Australia, and Canada, but also Ireland, India, South Africa, etc.) than to try transplanting market liberalism into less hospitable soil.

(Cross-posted at one small voice.)

Posted by Peter Saint-Andre at November 17, 2005 10:18 PM

Won't your proposal have the accidental effect of creating castle Anglosphere? in other words, the non-Anglopsheric countries will desperately try to imitate the success of the Anglopshere but will hit the brick wall of their history as well as never overcoming their hedgehog's traits? The consequence is that the gap between the Anglopshere and the rest of the world will become so wide that it'll cause even more instability because many countries will deeply jealous and frustrated that no matter how hard they try, they set themselves up for failure.
Fracasomania is an extremely delibitating psychological condition for countries to suffer.

Posted by: xavier at November 18, 2005 06:34 AM

The proposal will have the intentional effect of creating a community that actually functions and keeps its agreements. This is more or less what we do now. Anayway, we believe in free trade, and anyone who wants to sell us anything or buy our stuff is free to do so.

The "deep jealousy and frustration" of non-Anglosphere countries can motivate them to reform themselves and do their best with what they've got.

Posted by: Lex at November 18, 2005 07:19 AM

Or motivate them to support those who would blame us for their relative lack of success and attempt, directly or indirectly, to hobble us or bring us down.

I would have agreed with this strategy 5 years ago. Now, I think we have little choice but to try to spread at least the beginnings of our socio/eco/political way of life to other countries so that at least they have enough to occupy their citizens on tasks other than our destruction.

That said, emphasizing ties with the anglosphere is still something that must be done.

Posted by: Big D at November 18, 2005 07:32 AM

Lex: "The 'deep jealousy and frustration' of non-Anglosphere countries can motivate them to reform themselves and do their best with what they've got."

Well, Lex, it "can" motivate them to reform themselves, but so far it hasn't. Rather, per human nature, the 'deep jealousy and frustration' is blamed on the outsider (here, the Anglosphere in particular or Western Civ in general). Thus, we're left in a conundrum: Do we impose a Western-style structure on the dysfunctional societies of the World (What hubris! What arrogance! say the Cultural Relativists) or do we sit back and watch the cancer metasticize, waiting for it to explode? I choose the former, because at least there Western societies have some modicum of control over there own destiny.

Posted by: JABBER at November 18, 2005 07:39 AM

I simply cannot go along with China and Japan. They are culturally not even close to our mindset. They don't share our language, which separates them from us irretrievably. Except for the last 60 years or so, they don't share our hundreds of years of history. China has thousands of years of history as the Middle Kingdom. Japan has also been an overlord of the N Pacific since god knows when. I think it is utterly unrealistic to try to dilute the Anglosphere with elements that are so utterly foreign to it. (For example, neither country has much regard for human life. Ten seconds' contemplation of Japan's behaviour during the last war should be enough to veto the notion forever.)

These people are not one of us and trying to shoehorn them in would be disastrous to the whole Anglosphere alliance. China, Japan, a united Korea and Mongolia are too large a chunk of alienness to digest. They don't have our language. They don't share a single one of our traditions. They don't share our law. Their religions are alien. In addition, I cannot see any reason why they would want to join an organisation that was so alien to them and their cultures. Why not accept that they will eventually form their own gigantic sphere, and let us hope we can stay on friendly trading and defence terms? I believe this is the way to stability - not trying to incorporate every Mee-Ling, Goh and Kamakura.

Finally, we may have to consider a weaker sister - the Hispaniosphere. This is another vast chunk of people who share a language (I know Brazilians speak Portuguese, but they can all understand one another)and 500 years of history.

This would give us a tripartate set-up - one in whose interest it would be to keep the peace in their own arenas, and encourage development in backward countries for purposes of trade.

Posted by: Verity at November 18, 2005 07:44 AM

i'm not sure i buy that Japan is an "anglo" country. Sure they play baseball, but so what? They play basketball on continental Europe.

Posted by: pietro at November 18, 2005 07:47 AM

Japan is more Americanized than any other country in Asia, much more so than even the Philippines. With the exception of Australia and New Zealand, Japan may be the most "anglospheric" nation in the Eastern hemisphere, more so than even India.

Posted by: Citizen Grim at November 18, 2005 08:06 AM

Regarding your comment about Middle Eastern cultures having no basis for consensual government;

Neither did Japan or Korea 50 years ago; or India 200 years ago -- cultures that were even more different from the west than the middle east.

Yet the import "took". It can be done.

Posted by: Tom Paine at November 18, 2005 08:18 AM

The central problem with isolationism in any form is that there is no longer any "over there" to isolate ourselves from. Technology has "shrunk" the world making everywhere next door to everywhere else. I think it important to remember that the 9/11 attacks originated from Afghanistan which lays at the far end of any spectrum of spatial, political, cultural or economic differences you care to define.

We simply can't think of any corner of the world as a distant place with no ability to significantly affect us.

Posted by: Shannon Love at November 18, 2005 08:27 AM

Tom Paine - The import "took" because we occupied them and imposed it on them.

I don't care how much baseball they play in Japan, or how much surface glitz and modernity it has, when you are in Japan, you are in a very, very alien environment. They have nothing in common with us. When you are in India, you are certainly in an exotic environment, but the mindset is familiar and comfortable.

It's not that I dislike Japan or Korea - in fact, I like Korea very much - but to pretend they have a history of Western enlightenment and the fraternal understanding that comes from a deep knowledge of a shared language is ridiculous.

Posted by: Verity at November 18, 2005 08:32 AM

Also, English is emerging as a second language in South Korea now, thanks in no small part to their "wired" culture. South Korea has one of the world's highest per-capita Internet usage rates, and English has always been the lingua franca of the Internet.

Posted by: Joshua at November 18, 2005 08:32 AM

Joshua - Newsflash: English is the second language of every country in the world. That doesn't give them Anglo-Saxon values.

Posted by: Verity at November 18, 2005 08:52 AM

Don't underestimate Japan. The idea of an 'Anglosphere' must include a bit of flexibility if it is to move from abstract cultural continuity to some manner of viable international institution. Lacking that, all you have is a superficial racist preference. Japan's 'Americanization' notwithstanding, they are in the best position of any East Asian country to honor commitments and alliances, along with mutually reinforcing economic exchanges.

Don't take my word for it, the other option is to learn to love the good news coming from China.

Posted by: Sunguh at November 18, 2005 08:53 AM

I am favorable to the theses put forth by numerous writers regarding the Anglosphere. However, I take issue with the inclusion of Canada. That country is lost to the Anglosphere. They speak with pride about how they are leaning towards a European-style social democracy. The political class in Canada would be loathe to follow anything which is led by the US. If we explore this further, I would add the Irish and the Kiwis to the excluded list for similar reasons.

Posted by: ClydeLane at November 18, 2005 08:55 AM

Sunguh - No one is dismissing Japan per se. But if the term Anglosphere is not to be rendered utterly meaningless, Japan does not qualify. Neither do Mongolia or Russia.

Anglosphere countries are Anglophone and share a legal system based on English Common Law. And they have an intertwined history.

Posted by: Verity at November 18, 2005 09:08 AM

Alberta is not lost to the Anglosphere. The other three western provinces are touch-and-go. Canada as a whole, however, is already long gone. Forty years of political domination by Quebec and its issues has seen to that. Every Prime Minister since 1968 (with a few minor temporary placeholder exceptions ... Kim, John and "Joe WHO ?") has been from Quebec.

Most particularly the sixteen Trudeau years fairly effectively demolished the Canada that once had aircraft carriers, the best fighter-interceptor in the world, innovative destroyer design, and a 450-ship Navy. The Canadians had their own beach at Normandy and were the only invading force to attain their 24-hour objectives.

During that period Quebec had the ongoing Duplessis dictatorship and its citizenry was almost universally opposed to involvement in WWII.

Those cultural roots run deep, and we shouldn't be surprised when after 40 years of Quebec-dominated rule Canada as a whole now thinks and behaves much more like France than England.

Posted by: Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) at November 18, 2005 09:13 AM

But if the term Anglosphere is not to be rendered utterly meaningless, Japan does not qualify. Neither do Mongolia or Russia.

Anglosphere countries are Anglophone and share a legal system based on English Common Law. And they have an intertwined history.

And what about India? Does it qualify? Or South Africa?

If so, then Japan or Korea may one day be a "full member" even if not one already. 200 years ago India was arguably as alien as Japan or the Middle East. 200 years ago, South Africa was a Dutch colony and 100 years ago, vast tracks of it were still controlled by Dutch settlers.

Moreover, as others have said, perhaps Anglosphere is the wrong term, because what we really need is a group of nations and cultures willing to agree to some basic shared values: rule of law, economic and political freedom, a commmitment to scientific progress, and an interest in peace and stability over conflict and expansion.

On those counts, I think the Japanese, Koreans, etc. can certainly qualify, as can India and certain parts of Oceania and South America. As was said, what we need is not an ethnic or cultural conformity, but the ability to commit to a shared vision of the world.

Posted by: Dwight in IL at November 18, 2005 09:38 AM

More like a Football & Rugby alliance rather than Baseball & Cricket. In my opinion, Rugby and American, Gallic, and Aussie football better personify the blue collar, hard working, rough and tumble heart of the Angloshpere nations.

Posted by: Ken at November 18, 2005 09:38 AM

"full member", "qualify" -- Verity, the Anglosphere is not a club you can join. It is an empirical reality, based on common history and language and institutions, which does not have any unitary political identity. It is not a military alliance, like NATO, or a free trade area like NAFTA. Rather it is a linguistic and cultural zone. The Anglosphere is more like, for example, the northern-tier accent zone in the USA, which is an identifiable region which has a specific historical origin (Yankee New England) and measurably similar cultural traits, but does not have a particular political identity. The Anglosphere is composed of some areas which are organized as states, such as England or Alberta or Queensland, or national governments like the USA or UK or Australia. There are also parts of the Anglosphere which are not countries or do not share all of its characteristics -- the Anglophone population of India and its diaspora communities throughout the world, for example, are to some degree part of the Anglosphere -- and are critically important to its future, as you have noted on this blog.

The question going forward is what institutional arrangements will the Anglosphere communities have among themselves? Jim Bennett has proposed a "Network Commonwealth" which would build on existing ties. This part of his analysis gets too little attention, I think.

People too often mix up the idea of the Anglosphere with the idea of a future military or political alliance. They are not the same thing.

Canada is a construct which may or may not continue in its current form. An Anglo-Canada either free of Quebec, or with "home rule" arrangements for its components, could well gravitate more toward the other parts of the Anglosphere. Anyway, Canada has always been more state-minded than the USA, for example, and has had long bouts of defense free-riding, but has had an aptitude for military excellence when it wants to devote the human and material resources it takes. Canada is a work in progress. Do not despair, dear friends, the Red Ensign may yet wave in the wintry north.

As to Japan, Verity, of course it is not part of the Anglosphere. It is a civilization unto itself, as Samuel Huntington correctly observed. It is an ally and trading partner. That said, Japan shares some important characteristics with the Anglosphere, such as a a high radius of trust society with a strong non-kin-based civil society -- radically unlike China, for example. So, Japan has various cultural characteristics which allow it to work well with the Anglosphere. Japan is also a country focused on trade and maritime security as a foundation for oceanic trade. Japan is also concerned about the rise of China. So Japan shares security concerns with the Anglosphere -- particularly the USA and Australia. Some countries work better with us than others. Japan and Britain, after all, were allied as far back as 1902, and Japan was a very valuabel ally with a large and high-quality navy throughout the Cold War. The regrettable episode that ended in 1945 is not the whole story by an means.

Posted by: Lex at November 18, 2005 09:51 AM

I will address Xavier's "Castle Anglosphere" question and related comments in a subsequent post. But I'd like to make some points about Japan and the question of non-Anglosphere nations in alliances with Anglosphere cores. It is true that including Japan in an Anglosphere in anything but the most peripheral fashion distorts the whole concept. Japan is of interest because it is a unique culture and civilization. We speak of "nation-states"; there are also "civilization-states" -- states that encompass the whole of a civilization. China and India come close to being this, but so does Japan. It is prrobably the world's smallest civilization-state. Just as the historian J.CA. Pocock described England as "European, but European with a difference", so Japan is "Asian, but Asian with a difference". It is not Confucian, nor entirely Buddhist, although both traditions influenced Japan. Due to the continuing influence of what is now called Shinto, and its unique sociology, Japan developed in a different direction, and probably had a stronger proto-civil society before the Black Ships came than any non-Western European culture. Thus it was able to create a parallel society with modern characteristics fairly easily during the Meiji period, and the American occupation was able to encourage the revival of the emerging civil society there fairly easily. (People interested in this question should read Alan Macfarlane's Making of the Modern World).

Thus although Japan should not be seen as part of the Anglosphere, it has the ability to work closely with Anglosphere nations, and we are a much better strategic choice for them to work with than any of their other options. Flexible alliances wth Anglosphere cores are likely to be major important tools of the Twenty-first century; the "tsunami team" of December 2004, with US, Australian, Indian, Singaporean and Japanese core members is probably a prototype of such alliances.

The Anglosphere idea is about understanding the roots of our successes and failures, and using that knowedge to create a realistic plan for dealing with the huge challenges we now face and are about to face in the coming decades. A clear understanding of such advises against automatically treating all Western Europeans as allies, while downgrading everyone else. But it does not mean pulling up the drawbridge and ceasing to deal with anybody else.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at November 18, 2005 09:59 AM

Hold on, Lex! *I* said the Anglosphere is *not* a club of which you can be a "full member" or "qualify" for in some way. The Anglosphere just is, as the Atlantic Ocean just is.

I have no opinion about Canada because I don't know enough about it, but it does seem to be becoming increasingly alien.

There are people above trying to shoehorn Japan in, thus rendering the term Anglosphere - meaning language, common cultural references, and the bedrock of criminal and civil law - pointless.

India qualifies unreservedly because of its 400 years of intertwined history with Britain (longer than any other country), its democratic legitimacy based on British democracy and its unifying use of English (despite that other languages are spoken). S Africa doesn't qualify because it was Dutch.

It is not possible to dilute the Anglosphere. Certainly as a Brit, I find the suggestion that Japan somehow shares a cultural reference with us verging on lunacy. And let me assure you that his notion will not find favour in Britain or Australia where our soldiers were tortured in the most horrendous,nightmareish ways by the Japanese.

We're already giving the US membership on a free pass, because you don't even play cricket.

Posted by: Verity at November 18, 2005 10:09 AM

BTW, you may also want to ask the Koreans about the Japanese as a conquering nation.

Posted by: Verity at November 18, 2005 10:11 AM

Thanks, I look forward to the post because I had in mind Latin America. I tend to concour with Claudio Véliz's point that the region is a hedgehog and when it's tried to imitate the fox, the results have been dismal. So the question I keep reflecting and will muse at my blog is: how can the hedgehog live in the age of the gothic fox without becoming frustrated or succumbing to fracasomania? How can the hedgehog contribute to the betterment of the world and be a positive influence to the fox?

I'll start with the controversial premise that the hedgehog isn't always wrong about change or innovation and the fox still has good points about change and innovation.

To reiterate, I look forward to the post and I'm sure it'll stimulate my incohate thoughts about how hedgehogs and foxes can share the world.

Posted by: xavier at November 18, 2005 10:12 AM

Look, I proposed three discrete areas of the world that are well-fitted to work in cooperation with one another to keep our planet peaceful and to advance the cause of commercial wellbeing for all.

The Anglsophere is indisputably the most important and influential in every aspect - including the internet and military power. And, with India's 1.2bn, sheer numbers sharing, with varying degrees of depth, a similar mindset.

China, Mongolia, Japan and Korea are another natural grouping, although they do not share a language and, more importantly, do not share a common philosophy. But they are still closer philosophically to one another than they are to us.

Finally, Xavier, the up and coming Hispanosphere. Again, along with Spain (and to a lesser extent, Portugal) they share a language, a common set of laws and a 500 year history.

These three giant blocs can advance the cause of raising the water level so everyone's boats go up. That includes enforcing free trade, so African farmers can get equal access to European and Asian markets, for example. Right now, the vile CAP keeps them out of Europe. Our three giant blocs should be able to dictate to France/Brussels that this be scrapped, thus giving African farmers a chance to enrich themselves and their continent.

Posted by: Verity at November 18, 2005 10:32 AM

"Japan somehow shares a cultural reference with us verging on lunacy" -- Take a look at Francis Fukuyama's book Trust, and the last section of Alan Macfarlane's book the Riddle of the Modern World, but more especially his book The Savage Wars of Peace. I am not making this stuff up about Japan.

Yes, I am acutely aware of Japan's reprehensible behavior in World War II. It does not change the analysis. Japan's behavior in the Russo-Japanese war was exemplary, especially their medical services and treatment of prisoners. They have behaved humanely, then brutally, and now seem to be back in the "good guy" posse.

I do not agree that India is the unambiguous case you see. But we have already gone back and forth on this one. We can agree to disagree. We do agree on this: Keep your eye on India.

Posted by: Lex at November 18, 2005 10:34 AM

Indeed we do, Lex.

Posted by: Verity at November 18, 2005 10:42 AM

Citizen Grim, what do you base yor asertion about Japan being the most anglospheric country in the east? I am not disagreeing with you, I'd just like you to amplify your thoughts a bit.

Posted by: Sean at November 18, 2005 11:07 AM

India's definitely Anglospheric, as far as I can tell from my friends here at A&M.

Posted by: seguin at November 18, 2005 11:14 AM

seguin - I just do not understand the reservations of people who don't think it is. I think this is a demurral only by people who've never been to India.

Posted by: Verity at November 18, 2005 11:21 AM

Why would anybody ever consider cricket as an element of the Anglospere? Anybody can hit a ball with a flat bat.

The Anglosphere already exists. It's the USA-England-Australia and the non-French part of Canada. I don't think that people are so much isolationist as they are at acknowledging that the expenditure of our blood and money is terribly unappreciated outside the Angloshpere.

Posted by: Peter Boston at November 18, 2005 11:22 AM

"India's definitely Anglospheric, as far as I can tell from my friends here at A&M." Ah, yes, they are -- and therefore IT is, in part. But such people represent a tiny portion of the Indian population. India is 1.1 billion people. Hundreds of millions of people do not speak English at all. The question about India and the Anglosphere is not "either/or" nor "in/out". Rather the questions are more like these: How much? What are the trends? How strong are its institutions? How strong is its civil society? How committed are they to freeing their economy?

What relationship India and the Anglosphere will have is open and developing. I hope it is strong and mutually beneficial. I think it is likely to be both.

Posted by: Lex at November 18, 2005 11:25 AM

Verity, Japan and Continental Asia are at least as different as England and Continental Europe, and by most objective criteria more so. Their cultural differences made for constant misunderstandings and heavy-handed administration during the period of Japanese domination of Korea and Manchuria, which created a legacy of dislike and distrust that remains strong today and would be a barrier to regional integration for some time to come. And let's not even get started on their record in Han China proper.

Japan also endured a schizophrenic mix of influences in the Meiji era -- they took their constitution, law and army organizational models from Prussia and France, but their commercial and naval models from England. Through the 1920s and 1930s, the English- and American-influenced commercial and naval elements argued against war and authoritarian rule, while the army and the governmental bureaucracy couldn't wait to shut down the Taisho democracy and begin invading new places. Japan was on the verge of outright civil war among these elements -- when Army fanatics siezed a building full of civilian political hostages in Tokyo in the early 1920s, the navy sent a squadron of battleships, under the command of Admiral Yamamoto, no less, up Tokyo Bay with orders to obliterate them.

Japan's behavior seems schizophrenic to us because very different threads have coexited in Japanese culture. Sometimes one has dominated, other times others. You get very different outcomes. It's really advisable for us to build strong links to Japan and encourage the outward-looking, commercial, and xenophilic strain. Pushing them into the arms of a hostile Continental Asian block is neither good history nor good strategy.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at November 18, 2005 11:37 AM

Peter Boston - A *flat* bat? How little you know! Cricket is the most skillful and complex of all bat and ball games. Other than that, I agree completely with your post.

Lex - India's institutions are as rock solid as those in the US or Britain. And they have had many of their institutions - like the Indian Civil Service - imposed on them around the same time America was settled. There may be as many as 400m people who do not speak English, slightly less than half the population - but they are taught English in school. So? All the major newspapers are in English. The government is in English. The courts - long established under the Raj and honourably conducted (I would have no fear of corruption being tried in an Indian court)are conducted mainly in English as are (I believe) court records. India's civil society is very stable indeed.

And now that the Gandhis have gone - please god forever - the economy is taking off at the speed of light. Google property prices in some of the big cities. There's a huge middle class - around 500m people who have at least one car in the family.

What is of further interest is, their military is superb. And their education system is superior.

Whether they would want to join a society that has educational systems inferior to their own, and whose military might, with the exception of the US, is dwindling and whose economies are turning into socialist quagmires, who knows?

Posted by: Verity at November 18, 2005 12:22 PM

"English- and American-influenced commercial and naval elements" -- Yamamoto went to Harvard. Too bad they didn't have that civil war in the 1920s. They'd had a harsh one in the early Meiji period, when the samurai went to war against the Emperor's newfangled western army. Bolt action rifles against swords -- Emperor 1, Samurai 0. By the 1920s they had just enough pluralism to buy off the different factions by giving them part of what they wanted. And the Army wanted to annex China. So the Navy had to prepare to fight the foreigners who were getting increasingly incensed about that -- especially the USA. A downward spiral. Too bad the Americans just kept things at the level of negotiating naval tonnages. Some kind of grand bargain in Asia might have been possible. Or, maybe better, if we had, in 1918, told the Japanese -- here's a deal, you go into Russia and finish off the Bolsheviks, and we will not object if you annex the maritime provinces of Russia on the Pacific and establish a protectorate over Siberia. That would have made the world a better place. The rising sun flying over the Kremlin in 1920?

Posted by: Lex at November 18, 2005 12:25 PM

"India's institutions are as rock solid as those in the US or Britain." I see contradictory things on this point. For example, Odom and Dujarric in their book say India's post-colonial institutions have decayed almost as much as those in former colonies in Africa. I have seen well-credentialled people refer to India as a "failed state" only marginally better than Pakistan. I don't believe that either. Indian friends from the USA who try to do business in India are very frustrated by the corruption and inefficiency of the government, courts, regulators, police, etc. in India. So I just do not think they are yet in the same league as the USA or Britain. They seem to be on the right road, but far from being there yet.

I have read or heard nothing by anyone which takes a stance as strong as you do here on this topic.

But, I wish them well and I hope you are right.

Posted by: Lex at November 18, 2005 12:32 PM

Lex - Were the people who said India is "a failed state" Indian? There is no snob like an Indian snob and they do like to sit around and bewail the state of the nation. It's one of those lofty middle class things - like Americans/Britons who opine that democracy in their own country is dead.

Which institutions have you read are failing? After 50 years of the Gandhi curse, some must be, of course. But not the courts. And not the education system. India, as you know, produces some of the best surgeons and doctors in the world, and it is interesting that many of them are now staying at home rather than looking overseas.

Of course it has quite a way to go. But in my opinion, it has excellent underpinnings and is well on track to join the first world, perhaps within 25 years.

I'm a cheerleader, of course, and if they allowed foreigners to buy property, I would be posting from India.

Posted by: Verity at November 18, 2005 12:52 PM

India can't seem to make up its mind.

This supports Lex's contention that India isn't a first tier Anglosphere country. But the way they're going about it does seem awfully Anglospheric.

Posted by: Richard Heddleson at November 18, 2005 12:56 PM

Verity, the "failed state" comment was from an Indian, but I cannot find the link. Odom and Dujarric are Americans, Odom is a retired general.

Your comment about foreigners buying property, and Richard's link show that there are still major steps to be taken. Foreign direct investment is restricted. The tech sector, as good as it is, is too small to lift the country into the front rank. India still needs to open the sari all the way.

Posted by: Lex at November 18, 2005 01:06 PM

Having lived and worked in a bilingual (English/French)environment I can attest to the fact that the anglosphere is vastly more productive, innovative, interesting and attractive than francophonie. During my quarter century in post-secondary education in French institutions, I can assert, and I do so without bias, that I had no value added to my intellectual portfolio from the French sector. Unilingual English speakers have no idea of just how rich and diverse their language community is and what it offers to both its first language elements as well as those who use it as a second language.
My father immigrated to Quebec from Russia because he had learned French in his homeland. The reason was that at the time French was a language of access to knowledge not available in his native tongue. French is no longer a language of access and like it or not English is and possibly the only such language in the world today. Therein lies the current power of the anglosphere.

Posted by: Millie Woods at November 18, 2005 01:09 PM

Yes, Millie. And I posted elsewhere that we are spoilt for choice with inventive slang from the United States, Britain and Australia. Anyone who can't find a rich choice of epithets to sling at someone, or a dismissive description from all that is a poor creature indeed.

Lex, yes, the comment had all the hallmarks of an upper middle class Indian.

I wish India would open itself up for foreign investment - especially property - but there may be reasons. In advanced, sophisticated Singapore, a foreigner cannot buy a house, however small, under any circumstances. Nor an apartment in a building that is under six stories in height. Why? Because it is a tiny island and they will not sell their soil to foreigners.

Posted by: Verity at November 18, 2005 01:28 PM

Canada not part of the anglosphere? Well, Quebec certainly isn't, and the degree to which Canada isn't is directly contingent on Quebec's influence in Canada. You can expect that should it splinter off, the remainder will be must closer.

And no matter what, Alberta is about as Anglospheric as you can get.

Posted by: Californian Albertan at November 18, 2005 01:49 PM

I understand that the Canadian west, ex-BC, is not representative of the muddled multicultural mindset of English Canada. If those provinces can fall comfortably within the Anglosphere, all the better. However, how can one state that Ontario can do the same? It most certainly can not. Ontarians, New Zealanders and, to some extent, the Irish would form a distinct subset of countries that, despite their anglo-centrism, could never be part of the Anglosphere. Their pacifism, statism and social democratic dependencies would make them too uncomfortable.

Posted by: ClydeLane at November 18, 2005 02:49 PM

The characteristics ClydeLane describes for Ontario, New Zealand, and Ireland are products of political circumstance, which changes, rather than underlying cultural characteristics, which are much more persistent. Ontario and New Zealand sent vast proportions of their populations to war in the Twentieth Century, more than the US, and Ireland sent a substantial portion into World War One. Quebec did not. Different circumstances will produce differnt policies in these places, while I doubt difference circumstances would change Quebec's atttitudes much.

Canadian columnist Andrew Coyne has written some interesting stuff on the "Westernization of Ontario", an analysis of shifting voting patterns in Ontario that he argues indicate a gradual swing to the right in Ontario politics. He makes a good case, and we'll look at the next election and see what happens. But I don't think you can write core parts of the Anglosphere like Ontario or New Zealand off on the basis of a few decades' political trends when the underlying culture has been 1500 years in the making.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at November 18, 2005 03:01 PM

No, you cannot write off core parts of the Anglosphere. "...pacifism, statism and social democratic dependencies..." Some parts of the Anglosphere have more of this than others. Massachusetts, where I grew up. It is a very dark blue state. But it is also a state with a lot of science-focused businesses and a strong civil society, strong educational institutions and a lot of local patriotism. And it has been at the front of most anti-war movements since 1812, but it vigorously supported the Civil War and to some degree caused it. These are old communities with deep roots. The last few generations are episodes in a long story.

The Anglosphere is not just the parts we happen to like. It is the Yankees as well as the Jacksonians, Manhattan as well as Suburban Atlanta, New Zealand as well as Alberta. Anyway, part of the idea here is that a Network Commonwealth is that it would be loosely-jointed, allowing cooperation between different communities on an issue-by-issue basis rather than a single over-arching government. Let the French do it that way.

As to Ireland, we must breathe a heavy sigh over what might have been. In 1801 it was made part of the UK, and the hope was that it would truly become party of a unitary country. By 1901 intransigence on all sides made that look less and less likely. After 100 years of division and violence, the Republic seems at last to be getting itself up to Anglospheric levels of economic development. Even the long and painful story of Ireland-within-the-Anglosphere has many more chapters yet to be written, and no doubt, some surprises in store.

Posted by: Lex at November 18, 2005 03:17 PM

Lex writes, re Ireland: "After 100 years of division and violence, the Republic seems at last to be getting itself up to Anglospheric levels of economic development."

No. Massive infusions of funds from the EU got it up to speed. Had it not been the most funded country in the EU for (I think) a decade, Ireland would still have been in 1947. We'll see where they go now that those massive transfers have been switched to the new Eastern European countries.

Posted by: Verity at November 18, 2005 03:54 PM

OK, true. It also true that you can "infuse" money into a place for decades and get nothing back for it. Ireland's current prosperity, from what I understand, is not just government funded jobs, for example. So, was it a state-funded blip before a regression to prior conditions, or a state-funded jump start to a new and more productive level of activity? Let's see how it looks in five years.

Posted by: Lex at November 18, 2005 04:10 PM

Good point, Lex. Sounds like some empirical research in in order. How much funding has the EU infused into (say) Greece, Portugal, and Ireland over the years, and what have been the results in each of these traditionally poorer cousins? As far as I can see, no one is talking about the Greek or Portuguese miracle, whereas Ireland has taken off like a rocket. Cultural differences? Perchance.

Posted by: Peter Saint-Andre at November 18, 2005 04:23 PM

Ireland started to benefit from EU money in the late 70s and 80s, and in particular the infrastructure improvements helped get it ready for the boom. But it was above all the low taxes and less insane regulation that attracted the international investment that really caused the takeoff.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at November 18, 2005 04:49 PM

However you draw the Anglosphere, It's core is going to be the 300 million Americans dominating it. That core can't be true to itself without proclaiming loudly that liberty and democracy are the birthright of ALL humanity.
That's the American Idea. If you want to say the people of the middle east aren't suited to democracy, for whatever reason, then you'll have to exclude America. For the Anglosphere to exist, it must include America, and therefore cannot be isolationist.

Posted by: Lorenzo at November 18, 2005 09:59 PM

"... with 300 million Americans dominating it."

I don't know that the other 1.1bn members of the Anglosphere will necessarily make that assumption. In fact, I can probably guarantee you that they won't.

How many of your 300m don't speak English, by the way?

Posted by: Verity at November 19, 2005 07:32 AM

Anglosphere = Fascism

Angosphere = Imperialism

Angosphere = Racism

Angosphere = Corporate Rule

Angosphere = Middle-Class rape of Poor & Indigenous peoples


Posted by: FREE MUMIA at November 19, 2005 07:54 AM

Ooops! Did I just hear a moonbat squeak? Yawn.

Posted by: Verity at November 19, 2005 08:14 AM

Lorenzo and Free Mumia each in their own way make valuable points.

I think that the major role of the USA cannot be denied, for now. However, the old core of the UK is still a very significant power, and could be much more so if it played its cards right. India is of course the wild card for the future. It already has more English speakers than the USA. So, Lorenzo's point is a snapshot of the moment, not a description of a permanent condition.

I thought about deleting Mr. Mumia's little rant. I usually don't tolerate that kind of thing. But it is such a self-parody that I will let it stand, as a reminder of everything we are against.

Posted by: Lex at November 19, 2005 10:26 AM

Peter Saint-André - You are correct to point to Greece and Portugal as fellow recipients of EU largesse at the same time as Ireland, and to point to the fact that Ireland used its money to create more wealth.

Also, Ireland is fortunately in the Anglosphere, meaning it was easy for factories to move to Ireland and for others, like creative people, who could enjoy the generous tax advantages that Ireland hands out. They also have English Common Law (I think I'm right in saying; an enforceable law of contracts is a powerful lure - and an educated workforce. So yes, I believe you are right to point out that they have done better than fellow recipients.

Posted by: Verity at November 19, 2005 02:00 PM

Lots of typos in Free Mumia's rant.

i guess it's kinda hard to use the keyboard when you don't have opposable thumbs.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at November 20, 2005 11:08 AM

Bennett, you fascist! Insisting on "correct" spelling is yet one more example white male oppressive patriarchy. If Mumia ever gets out of prison, you can be sure he will never use Spellcheck.

Posted by: Lex at November 20, 2005 10:55 PM

Three phrases should be among the most common in our daily usage. They are: Thank you, I am grateful and I appreciate.

Posted by: sizepro at February 13, 2006 06:34 AM

Three phrases should be among the most common in our daily usage. They are: Thank you, I am grateful and I appreciate.

Posted by: sizepro at February 13, 2006 06:55 AM