By Nathan Barton
Modern technology means that the communications and access gap between the “home country” and “colonies” is largely gone. In the days of sail – say, the British Empire before the American Revolution – it took one to two months to cross from England to the Atlantic Seaboard. Today, that is an 8-hour flight.
More to the point, when California was admitted to the Union in 1850, it was a 40-50 day trip from the Atlantic Seaboard to Los Angeles or San Francisco, via Panama. It was a six-month journey by wagon train from Missouri. In 1858, the first transcontinental stagecoach line took 25 days (St. Louis to San Francisco). After 1869, the transcontinental railroad still required 6-10 from DC to California. Communications (Pony Express was faster, but still numbered in weeks) did not allow instant (or near-instant) communications between DC and California until 24 October 1861, by telegraph.
Yet California and Oregon (1859) were both admitted to the Union and functioned as States. Today, there is virtually no place on the planet that cannot be reached instantaneously by high-bandwidth communications, or by air travel within 30 hours or much less.
So theoretically, any place on the planet could be a State, represented in DC and participating in the political, economic, social, and cultural phenomenon that people on the Coasts and even in Flyover Country do.
So is there any potential for people (and their nations) outside of North America and “nearby” portions of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans to be admitted to the Union? Setting aside Congressional reaction and world opinion, would it make some bit of sense for people to do so? It’s pure speculation, of course.
Let us pretend that it does make some sense, and look at some potential candidates, and why. Especially in a world convulsed by massive catastrophes: falling into disorder where the FedGov in DC might be a possible savior, and joining with the Fifty States make sense.
First, consider English-speaking nations. Beyond the Carib and Canada, there are others which might fit into a revitalized federal union.
(One reader has commented directly to me that a benefit of several Canadian provinces becoming States of the Union might be reducing federal government by surrendering many powers and responsibilities now held (rightly or wrongly) by the FedGov back to the States. Canadian Provinces are considerably more self-governing now, in practical terms, than the Fifty States are. While I would welcome such a thing, it is probably very unlikely.)
First up would be Australia, with 25 million people in six states and ten territories. All of the states are large enough (Tasmania is the smallest and about the population of Wyoming). There are really two “major” interior territories (the third interior one is actually a part of the Australian Capitol Territory), which could be a sticking point. The Northern Territory is only a quarter-million in population, while Canberra in the ACT is just under a half-million. The rest of the territories are islands or island chains in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Australia is considered the Fifty States’ closest and most firm ally, and the two nations have much in common: ethnically, culturally, historically, religiously, and economically. Most Aussies are “liberal” by American standards, but still good people. And a federation would make a lot of sense: six or even seven states (if ACT and NT were combined) added to Fifty would be fairly easy.
Next to that is New Zealand, the other major English-speaking country in the Pacific. Like Australia, it is part of the ANZUS (Australia-New Zealand-United States military alliance). Its five million people would make a nicely-sized State of the Union, and it shares much with the Fifty States and Australia. It is more “British” than Australia or the US, but again, there are many matters that would make sense for a federation with its two closest allies. It would add the distinctive Maori culture (and language) to the Union.
Both the Aussies and Kiwis are really “New World.” But let us just speculate on potential Old World additions to the Union.
Although now independent for more than 70 years, there is something to be said for the Philippines, where English and Tagalog (Filippino) are both national languages. With a population of 101 million now, it would be logical to admit it as three or four States. The close association (good and bad) between the Fifty States and the Philippines from 1898 on is one argument for such a move.
What else? In terms of a massive global collapse, there would be something for arguing that Taiwan with 24 million people would be a good addition to the Union, even though China refuses to recognize its statehood. Other candidates could include Korea (especially once the Communist regime in the North fails), with 75 million or so (50 in the Republic and 25 in the Peoples Democratic Republic). Korea’s close ties (like the Philippines) with the Union are strong, although English is not a dominant language, and it is culturally the most different we’ve discussed so far. The Philippines, Taiwan, and Korea all have reason for much closer ties to the Fifty States.
But there is at least one more area, or nations, to consider in the East Asia/Western Pacific area. That is the city-state of Singapore, perhaps together with the federation of Malaysia and the much smaller country of Brunei. All three are wealthy, developed, first-world nations with strong economies, industrialized, republican, peaceful, and an English/British heritage. They are (unlike virtually all other Muslim countries) almost free of Islamist impacts, and of mixed ethnic and religious backgrounds and loyalties. One problem is that they still have (as do the Aussies and Kiwis) royalty and nobility. Singapore itself has nearly 5 million people; Malaysia 32 million in thirteen states and three territories. (Brunei has less than 1/2 million people.) Still there may be something to be said for adding two or three States to the Union from here.
So we have up to 20 possibilities.
Let us turn east to the West (Europe) for the next and last part of this commentary.