July 7, 2014

ALONG THE ANGLOSPHERE:

Britain's Canadian Destiny (Clive Crook, 7/06/14, Bloomberg View)

Is Canada extraordinarily stupid for failing to see that it must seek ever closer political union with the U.S.? I'd say no. I'd say its current arrangement is quite good. And it isn't clear to me why the U.K. can't aspire to a relationship with the United States of Europe that's akin to Canada's with the U.S.

Canada's economy is highly integrated with the much larger economy to its south. Thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement, it has privileged access to the U.S. market, and it grants privileged access to its own in return -- a good deal for both sides. At the same time, it has its own distinctive form of government and rules itself as a sovereign nation.

It's odd that Britain's commentators aren't more interested in Canada. Quite possibly, pro-EU and anti-EU politicians agree at least on this: It's an insufficiently grand ambition. Populist euro skeptics pine for a Britain that means what it used to in the world, whereas pro-EU types believe the U.K. can find a new destiny and a new significance by committing itself fully to the European project and bending that to its will.

The second of these ideas is more respectable in elite circles but hardly less delusional than the first. Britain can be a middle-sized economy of diminishing global significance running its own affairs, or it can be part of an ever closer European Union, with no more say than it had, for instance, in the decision to appoint Juncker as head of the European Commission. Neither alternative is especially grand -- but the last thing Britain needs in making this choice is delusions of grandeur.

Becoming part of the US, like Canada and Mexico chose to, would just complete the circle.
Posted by at July 7, 2014 5:59 AM
  
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