Commonwealth misconceptions

notgivenaway

Ad Honorem
Jun 2015
5,743
UK
The Commonwealth is really just a goodwill organisation. Many seem to think it's some kind of economic or military alliance, but it's not. If the UK was under attack, Canada, Australia, NZ, India, or Jamaica, Barbados, Ghana, Myanmar, etc. are under no obligation to come to Britain's aid. WWII was different, since Canada and Aus/NZ/South Africa were independent by then. But it was out of colonial loyalty and alignment that Canada fought in Europe, or Australia/NZ in the Far East.

But it's not a NATO. There is no "one for all or all for one" clause. If China attacked India or Pakistan, there would be no collective declaration of war against China.

It's not an EU, NAFTA, ASEAN, ECOWAS, or CARICOM, or other trade-based co-operation body. India has separate free trade treaties with other Commonwelath countries, and post-Brexit Britain would have to have these too.

It's not a UN. It doesn't send troops to war-torn areas, or push for sanctions against those violating human rights. It doesn't also alleviate poverty, or have programmes to do this like the UN does.

If it's being cynical, then it could be a means of Britain exerting control over its former colonies. At least in terms of cultural connections. but it's more about celebrating shared history, language, culture, and customs. This is why there is a Commonwelath Games, and the Commonwealth learning, scholarships, and other academic programmes. Commonwealth citizens can also serve in the British Armed Forices as both enlisted personnel and officers.

There aren't really many organisations like it in the world today, and the closest examples are La Francophonie, and the Ibero-American union, which form the same basis of ex-colonial areas for France and Spain respectively. I think the King of Spain, Felipe, is the head of his union as much as the British Queen is the head of the Commonwealth.

It's just if Putin attacked Britain, or Canada for the matter, as it's not far from Russia, there would be no mass alliance to tackle him. It would come from NATO, yes. But not the Commonwealth.
 
Jul 2010
1,374
N/A
There is the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, there is also the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. There is also the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group. The notion that the Commonwealth does nothing is utterly false.
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,734
Australia
The Commonwealth has no reason to exist, yet it still goes on with even non former British colonies asking to join. Strange really.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,519
Las Vegas, NV USA
The Commonwealth has no reason to exist, yet it still goes on with even non former British colonies asking to join. Strange really.
I think some of it might be due to the Queen. She has traveled far more than any other British monarch and is a unifying figure. (It certainly isn't British politicians). I wonder if the future Charles III can hold it together.
 

Baldtastic

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,476
Londinium
There is the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, there is also the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. There is also the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group. The notion that the Commonwealth does nothing is utterly false.
Who said the Commonwealth does nothing? The OP just described to commonly used false equivalences made against the Commonwealth and gave a brief summary of the Commonwealth today.
 

notgivenaway

Ad Honorem
Jun 2015
5,743
UK
There is the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, there is also the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. There is also the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group. The notion that the Commonwealth does nothing is utterly false.
It does do things, yes. But it's not anything near like an EU, NATO, NAFTA, or a military and/or economic body.

there are a LOT of people who think it's a UK-defence pact, or if the UK were attacked, tbe Commonwealth would step in. No. India or Australia, unless they sign a mutual defence pact, have no obligation to do so.
 
Jul 2010
1,374
N/A
It does do things, yes. But it's not anything near like an EU, NATO, NAFTA, or a military and/or economic body.

there are a LOT of people who think it's a UK-defence pact, or if the UK were attacked, tbe Commonwealth would step in. No. India or Australia, unless they sign a mutual defence pact, have no obligation to do so.
A lot of people outside of the Commonwealth don't understand anything about the Commonwealth. This is not an astounding comment at all :suspicious: To be honest this thread isn't very astounding either :think:
 
Mar 2015
1,450
Yorkshire
The Commonwealth is really just a goodwill organisation. Many seem to think it's some kind of economic or military alliance, but it's not. If the UK was under attack, Canada, Australia, NZ, India, or Jamaica, Barbados, Ghana, Myanmar, etc. are under no obligation to come to Britain's aid. WWII was different, since Canada and Aus/NZ/South Africa were independent by then. But it was out of colonial loyalty and alignment that Canada fought in Europe, or Australia/NZ in the Far East.

But it's not a NATO. There is no "one for all or all for one" clause. If China attacked India or Pakistan, there would be no collective declaration of war against China.

It's not an EU, NAFTA, ASEAN, ECOWAS, or CARICOM, or other trade-based co-operation body. India has separate free trade treaties with other Commonwelath countries, and post-Brexit Britain would have to have these too.

It's not a UN. It doesn't send troops to war-torn areas, or push for sanctions against those violating human rights. It doesn't also alleviate poverty, or have programmes to do this like the UN does.

If it's being cynical, then it could be a means of Britain exerting control over its former colonies. At least in terms of cultural connections. but it's more about celebrating shared history, language, culture, and customs. This is why there is a Commonwelath Games, and the Commonwealth learning, scholarships, and other academic programmes. Commonwealth citizens can also serve in the British Armed Forices as both enlisted personnel and officers.

There aren't really many organisations like it in the world today, and the closest examples are La Francophonie, and the Ibero-American union, which form the same basis of ex-colonial areas for France and Spain respectively. I think the King of Spain, Felipe, is the head of his union as much as the British Queen is the head of the Commonwealth.

It's just if Putin attacked Britain, or Canada for the matter, as it's not far from Russia, there would be no mass alliance to tackle him. It would come from NATO, yes. But not the Commonwealth.
Myanmar is NOT a member of the Commonwealth and hopefully will never be allowed to join unless it treats its minorities with respect - which I doubt will ever happen.
 

Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,627
Benin City, Nigeria
Myanmar is NOT a member of the Commonwealth and hopefully will never be allowed to join unless it treats its minorities with respect - which I doubt will ever happen.
And why would this be some requirement for membership? Are there even any ethical standards that are required in order for a country to be part of this club?

After all, Nigeria is a member of this club (for what actual reason, I don't even know - maybe there's free beer at meetings?) and in Nigeria, numerous hordes of evil, depraved Fulani "herdsmen" or militia roam around slaughtering children, women, and men every other day, with the casual acquiescence and toleration of their activities by most of the country's police and security forces in the affected areas. These children, women, and men that are attacked and butchered constantly are largely from minority ethnic groups from the central regions of the country. The Fulanis however, are in an almost complete political-cultural alliance of sorts with one of the three largest ethnic groups (Hausa) and are therefore not really politically or socially an ethnic minority at all, despite what is written in some places.

When I say that there's acquiescence, I mean that it would not be allowed for any police officers or security forces to come down too hard on them, and that an excessively restrained approach is taken when dealing with them or their murderous activities are just ignored altogether. This is in contrast to Ghana, where they now kill the much smaller number of heavily armed, violent "herdsmen" that they have to deal with, immediately and without hesitation or compromise. Ghana actually has some degree of respect for innocent lives, so they eliminate these marauders when they are able to, whereas the Nigerian government has no respect whatsoever for the lives of the minority ethnic groups from the central region (the "Middle Belt") of Nigeria.

How is a country like Nigeria, where organized ethnic cleansing is going on right now, as we speak, a member of this exalted international drinking club, if there are actually any ethical or societal standards at all for membership?