You know…I’ve been thinking about the situation in the world and I think I may have come up with a plan that could sort things out. It’ll take a while, but might just work. (It’s also a bit long-winded to describe – so bear with me here.)
When you look at the US in terms of its international relations, it’s always been a bit, well, dysfunctional. Never more so than now with Trump’s strange brand of isolationism and not liking other countries (especially if they’re the wrong colour or religion) but simultaneously sucking up to Vladimir Putin while promising to “make America great”. Riiiiight…?? All very confusing and, perhaps, slightly more bizarre than we’re used to seeing, but still not completely off the wall when it comes to the way that the US has sometimes seemed to regard everywhere else. Anyway…I think I’ve worked out why US international relations are like that.
It stems from the fact that they’ve never had a proper empire like many of the older first world nations. They’ve never really had overseas colonies in the way that the British, French, Dutch, Portugese, etc. did. Yes, I know, there’s the whole economic and cultural hegemony thing that they’ve done rather well with and there are a few US overseas territories of one sort or another, but they’ve never had a real, old-fashioned, “oppress the natives” sort of empire. Leaving aside their essential, and much appreciated, involvement in both World Wars (which I’m discounting since they were all-out multi-national bust-ups anyway), American attempts to flex their muscle and impose their will more directly elsewhere in the world have largely been either no-score draws or outright losses.
Now, I don’t need to tell anyone about the bad aspects of those old-school empires but go with me on this for a minute. One of the things that I wonder is whether having that kind of empire may end up having a slightly beneficial sociological effect on the people doing the empire-building. Specifically, it can’t help but make the entire populace more aware of other countries and cultures. It makes them more aware of the complexities of international relations, particularly when the time comes for the empire to be dissolved (whether by force or by negotiation). Generally speaking, everyone ends up a little more aware of the inter-connectedness of the world and the necessity for everyone, ultimately, to find ways to work with everyone else. (OK, sometimes it breaks down and you end up with wars anyway, but the general point stands I think.)
So the question is – would the USA actually be a more rational member of the international community if it had had an international empire? Or, at the very least, an overseas colony to occupy and manage for a while?
All of which leads me on to my idea. Now, thanks to the EU Referendum and the apparent inability of our current Government to work out what the hell they’re doing, there’s a fair chance that we’re going to be spending some time as an economic and political basket case. Maybe as long as a decade, maybe a little less, maybe a little more. Of course, that may not be the way things play out, but it’s still what most of the smart money is expecting (which is why most of the smart money is also quietly making plans to move elsewhere if necessary, but that’s a topic for a different day). Now, under the circumstances and given that the US is, sort of, a problem of our own historical making, I would like to suggest that we offer ourselves up as a tempting target for a US invasion. We might have to fool them into thinking we’ve got a lot of oil reserves or an unpleasant, totalitarian regime or something, but we allow them to troop on over here and take over the UK. For a number of years, we become their first “proper” old-fashioned overseas colony.
Of course, we’d have to make the whole experience as authentic as possible for the US Government and people, so we’ll adopt the standard mixture of grudging obedience, direct resistance (both active and passive) and the confusing Anglicisation of American methods and procedures (to make them as beneficial as possible for us while being increasingly unworkable for the US Colonial administrators). Once this has carried on for a sufficient length of time (say 10 years or so) we reach the point where we eiher have a nice little war of independence and boot them out or the US will finally realise that trying to run other parts of the world is a pain in the arse and they’ll want to let us go anyway.
The end results of all this could include a number of positives:
- The US gets to feel all grown-up ‘cos it’s finally had a proper overseas colony like countries used to have in the old days.
- The American government and people become a bit more aware of the complexities of international relations and the pragmatic aspects of dealing properly with the rest of the world.
- While it’s going on, it’ll confuse the hell out of ISIS. (We might even be able to have a word with them and say “Look lads, just hold off for a while. If this pans out, we could have the US off your back and we could all end up living in a much more open and sensible world.” Long shot I know, since they seem to be as twisted as a sackful of slinkies, but you never know.)
- Meanwhile, here in the UK, all the racists and anti-refugee types get a small taste of what it’s like to be an oppressed minority. This will either cure them of their narrow-mindedness or, failing that, they’ll probably become collaborator/Quisling types and work for the US authorities. In which case, following our own great war of independence, we can gather them all up, have a bunch of show trials and shoot them for treason. Either way, we’ll be rid of the bigoted gobshites.
- Economically, we’ll probably end up better off since, following independence, there could be some nice reparations or similar financial settlements coming our way from our previous colonial oppressors. Even without that, we could probably negotiate some kind of favoured trading status with the US very easily and I’m sure the City types will be able to draw that up in such a way that we get all the best bits.
- Finally, if the whole thing pans out, we could end up making ourselves popular with the rest of the world, since even if the whole gambit doesn’t manage to change American attitudes towards the rest of the world, our noble sacrifice would at least have kept the US out of everyone else’s hair for a decade or so.
Given the events of the latter part of the 18th Century, it also has something of a pleasing symmetry doesn’t it? Wonder if it could work…?