Chilcot and the End of the Anglosphere

Do we really need a 2.6 million word report
on how Bush’s poodle, a.k.a. former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, allowed
his country to be pulled into a conflict that claimed hundreds of British lives,
thousands of American lives, and at least 150,000 Iraqi lives, while plunging
the entire region into a maelstrom of terroristic chaos?

A good decade after being announced, the Chilcot report has finally been released,
and what it shows is that the phrase “Bush’s poodle” is blatantly unfair to
poodles: after all, even a poodle is known to have gone off its leash every
once in a while – but not Tony. Included in the report is a letter from the
Prime Minister to Bush that, as Mark Hosenball reports
for Reuters, lays the essential issue bare:

“In the very first sentence, Blair promised Bush: ‘I will be with you, whatever.’

“The inquiry report quoted a top Blair aide as saying that he and another
adviser had tried to get the prime minister to drop the sweeping promise. But
the aide told the inquiry Blair ignored their recommendations.”

The rest of the letter laid out the possible complications
that could – and did – arise in the wake of invasion and occupation of Iraq,
and here Blair’s qualms come out. But none of that matters because the first
sentence obviates all possible objections and underscores what was and still
is at stake: British sovereignty.

The neoconservatives who ginned up the Iraq war are
enamored
of the concept of the “Anglosphere”: Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada
and the United States acting in concert as a stabilizing democratizing force
on the world stage. Another variant of this schema is “Atlanticism,” i.e. a
permanent military alliance between the US and Britain embodied in NATO as some
kind of world police force. Indeed, the Atlanticists have their very own lobbying
group, the Atlantic
Council
, which includes all the requisite foreign policy bigwigs united
behind the idea that the United States and Britain have a moral responsibility
to recreate the old British Empire, albeit with Washington rather than London
its imperial epicenter.

This
New Statesman essay
traces the influence of the Anglosphere idea
on the British conservative movement, counterposing it to the left’s vision
of a Britain immersed in the European Union. You’ll note that both alternatives
are essentially identical in that the British would renounce their sovereignty
in favor of submergence in a larger entity. Independence isn’t an option.

Now that the British people have decisively rejected the EU, we can expect
that this right-wing version of the same nonsense will rear its ugly head in
“elite” circles. Which is yet more proof that these self-described “elites”
just don’t get what is happening in Britain, and the world at large: the…

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