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Full Version: Updating "Anglosphere / Global Britain" concept in the post-EU era
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EXCERPT: In January 2017 UK Prime Minister Theresa May argued that Brexit afforded new opportunities for a ‘truly Global Britain’ to re-imagine existing and new international diplomatic, trade, and security relationships. May argued that a ‘profoundly internationalist’ post-EU Britain should draw on its distinctive national history and culture to become ‘the best friend and neighbour' to Europe while also reaching out across the world ‘to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike’.

Central to this Brexit-inspired ‘Global Britain’ narrative has been a desire to reaffirm and strengthen ties with ‘old friends’ across the so-called ‘Anglosphere’, particularly Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States. Proponents of ‘Global Britain’ have often sought to support their vision by drawing attention to the potential for a series of trade deals can be quickly concluded across the Anglosphere once the UK leaves the EU. [...]

Although the term ‘Anglosphere’ is a relatively recent addition to the vocabulary of British foreign relations, interest in Anglospheric transnationalism is not new. [...] the origins of the Anglosphere concept were first expounded in the late 19th century [...] In a brief period from the early 1880s until the drift into the First World War, advocates argued for the establishment of a transnational union. However the proposition lacked sufficient precision [...] The concept of the ‘English-speaking peoples’ was not though universally rejected as a meaningful geo-political and trans-national community [...] Brief periods of political support manifested but quickly passed [...]

At the core of 21st century Anglospherism is the so-called 'five eyes’ network of the UK, United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand who are bound by a multilateral treaty for joint cooperation on intelligence. [...] But while support for the Anglosphere in the UK has often coalesced around a shared antipathy towards the EU, Brexit has highlighted dissension between trans-national advocates concerning the rationale, purpose, or membership of an Anglospheric ‘union’. The community of ‘Anglospherists’ [ typically...] driven by national self-interest that often overlooks the diverse geo-political and economic interests of the other constituent states. Moreover there is a lack of consistency in terms of who are the constituent states of Anglosphere. Many of the most vocal proponents have sought to frame the Anglosphere around a ‘network of core constituent ‘Crown countries’ that comprise of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Others have however sought to frame the Anglosphere in terms of a new Anglo-American alliance (re-)asserting their global dominance [...]

But outside of these so-called ‘core’ Anglophone states it is not clear what place there is within the concept for states such as India, Ireland, Singapore or South Africa. For many proponents however, greater engagement with the Anglosphere is congruent with a desire to rejuvenate the Commonwealth through the development of trade links with emerging economic ‘powerhouses’, particularly India.

[...] With new policy dilemmas creating strains on the post-Cold War world order, it is therefore timely that the British Academy will host an international conference entitled ‘The Anglosphere and its Others: the English-speaking peoples in a changing world order’. The conference will be held in London on June 15-16 and is convened by Professor Michael Kenny (Queen Mary University, London), Dr Andrew Mycock (University of Huddersfield), and Dr Ben Wellings (Monash University). It will explain, interrogate and explore the growing resonance of the ‘Anglosphere’ concept in the light of Brexiit...

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