Dear Mr. McCullough,
As a political, essayist, blogger and founder of the Commonwealth, Realms & CANZUK Campaign, I recently read your article written on CANZUK with great expectations.
It was fair and explained a side, which, while I do not subscribe to, am very familiar with. I would point your readers towards the excellent article by the British economist Andrew Lilico, who explained why and where CANZUK made sense, and where it does not. You can read the article here, which I would consider the invaluable explanation for CANZUK in the debate.
I have had the honour to have had an essay published by CANZUK International, as well as working with them and other Commonwealth and CANZUK Groups, and while I acknowledge there can be nostalgic delusions, this is not the bedrock on which pro-CANZUK support is based.
There already exists a considerable level of joint research, cooperation and relations between Canada, Australia, the UK and New Zealand. When the US is added to the group, the number of joint projects grows to be very long:
For a start, there is the most famous of them all: Five Eyes. This is the intelligence sharing & cooperation community, which is the strongest of its kind in the world. Following FVEY, there are the ABCA Armies, AUSCANNZUKUS, ASIC (Air & Space Interoperability Council), and the TTCP (The Technical Cooperation Program). These provide similar fora for the nations’ armies, navies, air forces and research, with the goal of standardisation and greatly improved interoperability.
Unquestionably, then, the CANZUK nations work together on a governmental plane. What groups such as CANZUK International propose is that the cooperation should not merely benefit our nation’s governments, but also our citizens. This is regardless of how many people choose to migrate between the four nations, although it must be stated there are more Britons who have emigrated to Australia than all nations in the European Union combined. In fact, there are almost twice as many Britons living abroad in the three nations of Australia, Canada and New Zealand than there are in the 27 EU Nations. While the total number may have decreased slightly, this is hardly “dwindling migration”.
Further, just as the EU is not, has not, and was never supposed to be a purely economic arrangement, so is CANZUK, but with marked differences. Free Trade between the four nations would not be a goal of itself, but rather an aspect and a facet of CANZUK cooperation. The prominent economist, Mr Lilico has forecasted such a free trade agreement would lead to a quadrupling of trade between the four nations, based on previous trade statistics and economic growth. This isn’t about Britain replacing the EU, or Canada replacing the US; it is about augmenting extant relationships. It is about ensuring that not all our eggs are in one basket, to use a common expression.
Continuing, you suggest that a goal of CANZUK free movement was to create mass migration and that it was not suited for such a purpose. This is patently ridiculous. The entire goal is not to create mass migration, but to offer mutual opportunities to citizens, and for this reason, the equal GDP/capita and other statistics raised were a benefit and not a hindrance.
Yet the goal, or “soul” if you wish, of CANZUK is not economic. Not everything can be reduced to mere economics. If we were to follow the suggestion of making alliances with our primary trading partners, the US should leave NATO & Canada in favour of China, which whom it does more trade. The US also trades more with China than with Japan and South Korea. According to the same theory, the US should leave its treaties with them in favour of closer ties with China.
This is clearly absurd, as international alliances do not depend on trade as much as they do with shared positions, interests and ideologies.
The problem with making alliances with primary trading partners is even more obvious when we consider China. Their top two trading partners are the EU and the US, followed by Hong Kong (which is effectively domestic trade now), Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. None of those nations would be deemed Chinese allies.
We can, naturally, accuse the population of CANZUK of being racist xenophobes, who wish only to have people with whom they have a lot in common with immigrating into their countries, yet there must be a reason for such a position. The BBC recently published a research article that found young children will want the company of those who sound like them, regardless of race or colour, and it would be unwise to presume that culture does not play a part for the support of CANZUK free movement & closer ties.
Yet CANZUK is not some “whites only” idea like some suggest. New Zealand has a considerably larger population of non-“white” people than Poland, or many other European nations. If the British were racist, it would make more sense to accept Polish people (98% of whom are ethnically European), than Kiwis (74%). Also, the sheer number of supporters in the UK cannot be limited to just those who voted to leave the European Union as polling shows it is consistently higher than the “leave” majority.
Finally, there is the question of bias. I do not like to accuse people of bias, knowing I also have bias, but in this case, I do believe it affects the position of the author, as it has affected US government policy. One of the greatest pulls of CANZUK is that is offers the nations the chance of not being the smaller nation in the region. The UK is dominated by the EU & the US, Canada by the US, and Australia and NZ by the US and China.
The US has enjoyed a position, which is the de facto leader of the “white” Commonwealth. This was not purely an accident by any means, but has been a policy ever since it torpedoed the Ottawa Conference of 1932. The Bretton-Woods agreement in 1944 further solidified it, and the existence of the US in every CANZUK arrangement to date shows this. It is unfortunate, but a large population of all four nations, are opposed to being under the US’s hegemony. CANZUK offers them the ability to trade and operate in the international community as a near economic & geopolitical equal to the EU, China and even the US.
This is not meant to be a condemnation of the US. A nation’s policy should benefit itself over its allies and potential rivals. The difficulty comes when its allies are its potential rivals, as is the case with CANZUK. If anything, this, and not race, is the elephant in the CANZUK closet.
Very few nations wish to be solely dependent on a single nation for their trade, security and international partners. CANZUK offers an option for this. It is not the golden solution by any means, but it is a great step forwards for nations united by a common history, culture, sovereign, governmental system and the support of a clear majority of the population in all four nations.
Thank you for your time, and willingness to hear the other side of the debate. I wish you the best in the future and I remain
Contributor for The Daily Globe
Entrepreneurship & Political Science Undergraduate
A great article on why the US would actually benefit from CANZUK was written by a Texan lawyer for CANZUK International: http://www.canzukinternational.com/2016/12/on-family-why-uk-future-is-with.html