Washington -- One of the unsung prophets of Aukus last week was the great British historian Andrew Roberts, who soon will be recognized throughout the English-speaking world as the man who has attempted to retrieve the reputation of King George III from the sneers of ... well, of people like me. His biography of George III will come out in early November, and of course, I have not had a chance to read it, but Roberts will have his work cut out for him with George's treatment of Gen. George Washington during our Revolutionary War and George's lapses into madness.
Though Roberts now will have assistance from the new Tories here in America, I am speaking of the “woke folk” who want to remove the Washington Monument and replace it with public housing. Then there are the more violent woke folk who want the statues of Washington beheaded and even, I am told, his white stallions decapitated. Yet if anyone can accomplish the feat of reviving George III's reputation, it will be Roberts, the author of some 16 books, among them a biography of Napoleon and the best one-volume biography available of Winston Churchill.
Roberts is at one with the great wartime prime minister in calling for an alliance of the English-speaking people. Churchill called for it after World War II. Roberts called for it at the end of his “History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900.” With Aukus coming to life, the thing has begun. Australia, the United States and Great Britain are headed for an alliance to check Chinese power plays in the Pacific. Add a few more countries such as Canada and New Zealand, and Churchill's dream is taking shape. Roberts' promise is at hand. He has been calling for something like Aukus for years.
It is amazing that President Joe Biden is for Aukus, but he is. When he heard that people on the right, in the middle and Brits across the pond such as Roberts favored Aukus, I would have thought Joe would have reversed himself. Perhaps he would have sided with Vietnam. Possibly he would enter a treaty with Liechtenstein. But no, Joe is going along with Australia and Great Britain. This is the first time ever that Joe and I have agreed on anything, even ice cream. But China is a threat that even Joe can recognize.
Despite talk of the United States and Great Britain having a “special relationship,” we were not seeing eye to eye on China as recently as 2015. There was the disagreement over Huawei. There was an apparent disagreement about the nature of the Chinese strategic intentions. In 2015, Great Britain rolled out the red carpet when the Chinese leader, President Xi Jinping, came to London. He had a sleepover in Buckingham Palace. The police shut down every protest. Yet now, Great Britain is no longer even remaining neutral on China. It has sided with the United States and Australia. Australia wanted an enduring relation with France, which France could not provide. So, Australia looked to Britain, and the United States was willing to share with Australia its nuclear-powered submarine technology. Great Britain, as James Forsyth, the very well-connected politics editor of London's Spectator, wrote last week, “has firmly sided with the United States. It looks as if the contours of the next 30 years of British foreign policy have just been fixed.”
The “institutional nature” of the alliance makes it special. Forsyth explains by quoting “a source,” obviously from Great Britain's own deep state. “The relationship has foundations deep enough that it can survive whatever political winds are blowing.” This is where Forsyth gets his 30-year lifetime for the Aukus treaty.
For years, the critics of China have been saying if China overreaches, it will have much of the world against it. With the Wuhan Flu, saber rattling at Taipei and its military activity in the South China Sea, it looks like the English-speaking world has had enough. Canada is rumored to be interested in Aukus. Next will come New Zealand.
There is, of course, Japan taking a great interest in the English-speaking peoples. I got Roberts on the line. He reminded me that Great Britain and Japan were in an alliance from 1904 to 1918. He continued, “Japan has been a friend of ours when it's been a Democratic country.” Fortunately, the Japanese already speak pretty good English.