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  English & Allies
by Daniel Mandel
[commentator/analyst] 11/23/06

Jihadist terrorism is the threat of the 21st century. Across scores of countries, it has already killed tens of thousands of victims and damaged billions of dollars in property. The conclusion is inescapable: This war will last decades. Still uncertain: just what coalition of the targets will unite - and stay united for the long term - to defeat the threat.

The Allies of the Second World War and the NATO alliance of the Cold War are the classic examples of coalitions that in time achieved their stated objectives.

Daniel Mandel

Daniel Mandel is associate director of the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia, director of the Zionist Organization of America's Center for Middle East Policy, a fellow in history at Melbourne University and author of H.V. Evatt and the Establishment of Israel: The Undercover Zionist (London: Routledge, 2004) [go to Mandel index]

More recently, the coalitions formed in the first and second Gulf Wars met their respective objectives of reversing Iraq's annexation of Kuwait and removing the regime of Saddam Hussein. Yet those coalitions have not survived the ongoing war against radical Islam, with changes of government leading to policy reversals and even troop pull-outs from Iraq. Spain is a notable example.

Which elements best ensure durable alliances among sovereign nations? Common interests, coupled with shared historic political institutions and a willingness to integrate military power - with a common language a major bonus. Thus, a formal "Anglosphere" alliance among Australia, Britain and the United States could be an idea whose time has come.

This alliance would bypass former U.S. allies in continental Europe. But it's hard to see such countries as part of a durable coalition. After all, anti-Americanism is rising steadily in many of them.

Common strands of history and culture tend to limit such hostilities. Two recent public-opinion surveys make the point. The first, a survey of Australian public opinion in 2005 found that 76 percent of Australians hold positive views of Americans. By contrast, a recent Pew poll found that only 39 percent of Frenchmen and 23 percent of Spaniards held similarly positive views.

In his book "The Anglosphere Challenge: Why the English-speaking nations will lead the way in the 21st century," James C. Bennett speaks of "network commonwealths," groupings based on technological integration but short of formal alliance. But the objective of a formal Anglosphere alliance would be to achieve not only technological integration but also military - especially naval - integration.

For such a purpose, Australia, Britain and the United States have much in common. Each has stood apart politically in its region. Each is based on traditions of political liberty anchored in representative, secular government and free trade. Each has fought steadfastly alongside the other two during the past century.

And all three share strong naval traditions and modern naval forces. Common language and advanced levels of technology would make naval integration, if not easy, at least achievable. (Compare this to the widening technological gap between the United States and its continental NATO allies). Last but not least, each is under attack by jihadist terrorists.

An Anglosphere alliance would also have a striking geographic advantage in its global naval coverage of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea. The countries surrounding these waters include almost all of the nations threatened by or engaged in jihadist terrorism.

The U.S. Navy can use the help: Notwithstanding its preeminence, it is stretched significantly by its global missions. Numbers matter, and the Navy has lost numbers of ships and aircraft in recent years. (For example, in the early 1970s, the United States deployed 15 aircraft-carrier battle groups; today, only 12.)

Anglosphere naval integration would be a step in the direction to which Adm. Mike Mullen, the current U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, alludes when he talks of "a thousand-ship navy" - a force comprising the U.S. Navy and the navies of nations that share U.S. geopolitical interests.

An Anglosphere union would fill the void left by the once-potent but now less-focused NATO, and being non-exclusive would thus be open to countries like India, Italy and Japan, which have parallel interests, significant navies and functioning democracies, or to Israel, the most beleaguered of all targets of jihadist terrorism.

Such an alliance would be a vigorously sovereign, free-market, democratic antidote to the politically centralizing, bureaucratic collectivism of the United Nations and the European Union, two organizations that consistently are more part of the problem than the solution to jihadist terror.

Finally, and as a helpful byproduct, an Anglosphere alliance would counter the growing political and military links among China, Russia and the two leading Middle East sponsors of jihadist terrorism, Iran and Syria.

Forming and maintaining effective alliances is never easy, but Winston Churchill managed to sum up the issue in a single sentence: "There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies - and that is fighting without them." CRO

Rear Adm. Joseph F. Callo (ret.) is the author of several works of naval history, including "John Paul Jones: America's First Sea Warrior." Daniel Mandel is a fellow in history at Melbourne University.


This piece first appeared at Front Page Magazine

copyright 2006 Daniel Mandel



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