The United States, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand should begin to cooperate more as a group, build a common market, coordinate on defense and diplomacy, and work to promote a common vision in the world. I know, it sounds a lot like what Europe has been trying to do since the end of World War II. While I do support better cooperation between these countries, perhaps even having it institutionalized to a degree I am not advocating going nearly as far as those in the EU have tried. These countries should build a free trade zone to spur trade and investment between members. They should also work out a common vision for what they would like to achieve in the world and work together to bring this about. The security interests of the member countries should be channeled into a formal military alliance similar to NATO and they should endeavor when agreement can be reached among the countries to act as one on concerns of global security. They should also coordinate a common policy on issues of global significance like regulating trade, climate change (I’m no tree hugger but it might be useful for the US to have some backup keeping european radical environmentalists at bay), combating terrorism and piracy, etc.
Each nation will retain full sovereignty, to include their own currency and central bank (not looking to repeat the Euro debacle here). The idea is to at least try to come up with a common policy, it will not always work and that is okay. The rationale for this is simple, think of it as a hedge against an ever-changing world where it is getting harder to predict what the world will look like in the near future.
The US would appear to be the country that had the most to lose by doing this because at least for now it is the world’s lone global power. This US would stand to benefit in several areas. For instance, the US already has a large well developed market, even larger if you throw in NAFTA, but compared to the rising powers of India and China it is small by comparison. When member countries can come to agreement on global policy it will add legitimacy to each countries position, including America. Closer cooperation on defense would lead to pooled resources to employ in future global crisis. Also the cost of expensive weapons projects could be spread among member states.
The other member countries would have the benefit of access to one of the largest markets in the world, America. Yes, they would be expected to help police the globe to some degree but if popular opinion at home was ever against it then they could always just not agree to it within the alliance. America would just do what it is already doing anyway, going it alone or with ad hoc coalitions. Of course, a nation couldn’t use the veto all the time but selectively used on critical situations would be acceptable. Also by cooperating on defense projects these members would have the chance at getting a shot at the massive American defense budget, which I dare say is probably bigger than all the other countries combined. Perhaps the key reason for Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand to do this is because as individual nations they are all to small either act decisively or have their voice heard on the global stage. Think of this, Britain the largest of the four would today have problems redoing the Falklands War because their military is nowhere near as capable as it was 30 years ago. Now throw American military power into the mix and all you would probably have to do is sail one carrier battle group there and the Argentinians would surrender. Similar benefits would come to Australia and New Zealand as they deal with China rising in the Pacific. In a world that is ever more unpredictable it seems to me that we are better off united with countries that share similar culture, language, and world view than we are as just individual nations. An alliance built on respect for national sovereignty, but also an appreciation for strength in numbers would seem to be the direction we should all head.