The first of a series of articles on CANZUK organization.

Ideas have a life of its own. The amazing thing about them is they never die. In 1897 Albert Venn Dicey proposed an Anglo-Saxon “inter citizenship”. At the time it went largely unnoticed & never took ground. But this very idea came to life in 1967 under a slightly different term. In his book of “ Colonies into Commonwealth in the context of a “CANZUK Union” author William David McIntyre gave a new life to Albert Dicey’s idea. This was the first time “CANZUK” was presented under that name.

For those who are totally unfamiliar with this term the below explanation would help. CANZUK is a proposed union of Canada, Australia , New Zealand & the United Kingdom into an association similar to the European Economic community or even further. The head of state of all these countries is the Queen of England. So basically it is already in a political union as a Dominion state under British rule. The proposed alliance would make further integration in socio , economic , political & other spheres.

The United Kingdom’s current status quo is a long journey. From being the Empire where the sun never sets to a modern European power is not an easy transition. Great Britain as it was known by then could withstand the horrendous devastations of the first world war. But the toll it took in the second world war was something that Great Britain could not sustain. Under pressure from the United States, which was once its colony , the Brits had to give up its global status. It was made to let go of a number of colonies. Other Than being a global military power , they were also a great economic powerhouse. Sterling Pound was the world dominating currency & the one that held the status of the reserve currency. Once the Brenton Wood took place , the Pound lost its crown to the Dollar. Today’s United Kingdom is only a shadow of its former self.

Brexit was an unexpected further damage to its geopolitical standing. With the looming & distinctly possible divorce of Scotland , the United Kingdom has left with very few options to regain its lost global influence. One such possibility is the CANZUK. If this concept becomes a reality , the United Kingdom will have its influence across many Oceans, a few continents , a number of global trade routes, millions of culturally connected people , a combination of few billion dollar economies , a unified modern military & a stronger say in a dynamic & dicey global atmosphere. With this alliance there is a great possibility that the United Kingdom could become a Military, economic & cultural powerhouse in the 21st century.

There are more than a few reasons that this integration looks like a real probability. All the countries are already connected in many ways even now. The language is one of the strongest factors of a way people could find a common place. Unless for the exceptional bilingual usage of Canada , every country uses English as the way of communicating. They all share British colonial history & the Victorian architectural heritage. Most importantly everyone uses the Westminster parliamentary system & the commons law. The Union Jack flag is a strong symbol of the nations. There are many platforms where they have made close coordination. Five eyes intelligence grouping , AUSCANNZUKUS naval grouping , ABCANZ Armies military cooperation are few of the notable.

In a global context , all these countries hold similar positions in international affairs. Their views, although not coordinated, are similar. Whether its related to Israel – Pastime issue, Kosovo’s independence , statuesque of Crimea , Syrian conflict , Russia – Ukraine conflict , China’s global rise , human rights , international terrorism they hold similar views.

There seems to be a number of conservative politicians who support the idea & populations of the countries have mixed views of the project. Looking at the great distances between the PowerCenter there is a real question as to whether or not it makes any economic sense. These countries have economic interdependencies with non CANZUK members that are higher in volume & greater in market share. For instance the United Kingdom has a very lucrative economic cooperation with the EU & is responsible for having almost 50 % of its total foreign trade. 251 Billion pounds a year is no small feat. Having access to 447 million people who are at very close proximity makes total economic sense more favorable than any new invention. In the case of Australia , China accounts for a third of its total trade & has access to a billion and four hundred million people. In the case of Canada, 75 % of its total trading happens with the United States numbering into a staggering 380 billion dollars & a market size of nearly 330 million people. The same goes for New Zealand. Even Though Australia is her closest neighbor, allay & has such warm relations , China holds the first place in trading. This economic reality is an undeniable fact.

But having a collective economic power is a different powerplay altogether. It gives one a domineering position & better bargaining power. Especially given the fact that both Canada & Australia is home to some of the most sought after commodities in the world including rare earth elements, oil & gas a coordinated economic activity could enhance their position. If history is any indication it has proved time & again that Economic blocks usually favors those who are in the grouping.

To be continued….

By Dhanuka Dickwella

Graduated from the university of Colombo with a masters in International Relations. Have worked in a number of fields including travel, event management & political campaign management. Contributed to social welfare , youth upbringing & education through my own social foundation. Was a self made - grassroot politician. Held the position of a deputy chair of a political caucus , the chair of the graduates association of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party in the District of Kegalle. Served the people of Kegalle District as a council member. Passionate writer, blogger & political analyst. Currently working as a strategist for a global digital health initiative. A father of a loving daughter. Above all - a proud & a patriotic Sri Lankan.

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