A new way for the ‘English-Speaking World’?

Let us hope that every member of Congress receives the computer game “Civilization V” this Christmas. My wife and kids have played obsessively since last year, planning with lust and vengeance to conquer the world. My favorite totalitarian is Boudicca, leader of the Celts, sword in hand, heavily tattooed like the old Scot Picts to please the Earth Mother.

{mosads}”Our people are buying your blue jeans and listening to your pop music. I worry the rest of the world will fall under the influence of your culture,” say the A.I.s (artificial intelligences) which, besides Boudicca, include Mahatma Gandhi, Otto von Bismarck, Montezuma, Queen Elizabeth I, Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, Catherine the Great and more.

How lucid an understanding of conquest and occupation. You can send in the armies if you like and follow up with the priests. But a single phrase, action or gesture can inspire a century of conquest: Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson at Trafalgar in 1805 when he declared, “England expects that every man will do his duty”; Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, leaving his old wooden Gibson behind for a Fender Stratocaster to awaken the Sixties. Or Britain’s sudden move this year to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

This coming year begins a turning; the fateful 70th year of the post-war American Conquest is at hand, the year when time yields and begins to begin again and every past assumption plays false and fades to shadow.

It is why the upcoming presidential race is most important. Who in the rising group of worthies meets the test of Franklin Roosevelt and Abe Lincoln? We must ask this year for as this year, for the first time in American history we seem less than up to the task of governance as both political parties have defaulted to nostalgia and brought forth the old families.

Do Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) or real estate mogul Donald Trump (R) conjure greatness? Possibly more will rise ahead at the conventions. My hopes are on the newly bearded Paul Ryan (R), Speaker of the House, to bridge the gap between American generations and regions, as he so well does the parties in his new job in the House.

The crisis this time will be heightened as the agent who might be the match for Boudicca or Catherine, the late Ambassador George Kennan, wrote in the last chapter of his last book, “Around the Cragged Hill,” that the America he leaves behind faces problems for which it has no long-term solutions. He suggested a “council of state” to address these questions, similar to the distinguished Policy Planning Staff in which he served under Secretary of State George Marshall. I’ve advanced Kennan’s proposal here at The Hill over the years. But as per the events of this year, we might consider a greater council of state between America, Britain and the Commonwealth.

Our history with Britain should be considered existential. As English-speaking people, we are bound to them in a rising civilization of the “English-speaking Peoples” as Winston Churchill phrased it. That is, the 53 Commonwealth countries and the 50 states have begun to form together one fledgling civilization with unifying cultural features. There are political groups today which recognize this but they tend to wistfully look back to the President Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher period and the necessity of union in the war years. But this was an American-dominated era and to think that Britain would go forward forever under American psychological dominance after the warring period had passed is to fully misunderstand Britain.

As always, “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”

This past year, Britain has taken the extraordinary step of leading the mature nations of the world to join China’s new Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank in conspicuous and planned opposition to America’s dire warnings. “Who lost Britain?” I asked here last March.

“This past month may be remembered as the moment the United States lost its role as the underwriter of the global economic system,” Lawrence Summers, former Treasury Secretary and Harvard president, wrote at the beginning of this year.

Emphasis in the press was understandably focused on China as the rising world leader in economy, but of equal importance to us as Americans should be the sudden rise of Britain’s leadership in the world under Prime Minister David Cameron and George Osborne, chancellor of the exchequer, and a rising champion in Britain and the West, and the accompanying drop in status for America inherent in their China move.

Have we been unfriended by Britain? How will the Anglo-American relationship advance under these new circumstances as future President Trump faces off with Britain’s future Prime Minister Osborne?

As America, North and South, required a benign Brahma center — Washington D.C. — to keep us together and apart, so too the warring egos of Britain and the United States might consider a similar situation.

That could be a job for Ottawa, Canada, secret jewel heart and center of the world — East, West, South and the Great White North — which in its historical fate, is inextricably linked to both.

Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at

Tags Bernie Sanders Canada Donald Trump Great Britain Paul Ryan United Kingdom

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