Rachel Marsden

Great Britain, an EU member that isn't part of the euro currency zone, has always kept one foot inside Europe in its dealings. But as the old dating adage goes, you don't dump the chump before you've secured another one. British Foreign Secretary William Hague was just in Canada to sign an agreement to partner on joint British-Canadian diplomatic missions abroad, and England has plans to do the same with New Zealand and Australia, its other Anglosphere Commonwealth allies.

Britain's Daily Mail quoted another British diplomat on the reasoning behind the move: "For all the grandiose talk of European unity, we have so much more in common with many Commonwealth countries than the EU -- and not just the English language. There's a saying in the British diplomatic corps that 'the French want to do us over, the Germans want to lord it over us, and the Italians are all over the place.' We would never dream of trusting them with intelligence secrets, but we share everything with the Canadians, Aussies and Kiwis."

It's doubtful that a British diplomat would badmouth his nation's European partners if Europe was flush with cash. Hague sounds like a fellow who's tired of dating someone with no disposable income. Time to trade up, perhaps? It's what Merkel wishes she could do had she not signed a prenup with Brussels.

It just so happens that Canada has weathered the economic storm relatively well while looking ahead in much the same way as Russia: diversifying trade and investment interests beyond traditional partners, and forging new international partnerships to gain influence (or at least a vested say) in return.

Only time will tell if the Commonwealth bloc will be reconstituted as an economic entity along the lines of the BRICS or APEC (Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation). Ears and eyes on the ground in diplomatic missions often become a nation's anchor for investment and business. The real game may be a long-term economic one.

Rachel Marsden

Rachel Marsden is a columnist with Human Events Magazine, and Editor-In-Chief of GrandCentralPolitical News Syndicate.
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