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Should The USA join the Commonwealth?

Updated on November 22, 2015


The Commonwealth is an important world organisation. It covers peoples of every religion, every colour, many languages, and every level of wealth. The common link is that all but one of these countries were at some point part of the British Empire. The United States of America therefore qualifies for membership.

Commonwealth Positives

Within the family of nations that is the Commonwealth are Republics such as India and the Republic of South Africa, Monarchies like Fiji, Dominions like Canada and Australia, emerging third world powers like Nigeria, and commercial centres like Singapore. Her Majesty is not Head of State of all of these countries, but she is Head of the Commonwealth.

Mozambique is part of the Commonwealth, even though the British flag never flew there. It came in as a side deal when South Africa rejoined the Commonwealth after South Africa became a full democracy.

Advantages of the Commonwealth

If a Commonwealth country has an issue on another continent, there are friends on that continent to whom it can turn for friendly advice and sometimes discreet friendly lobbying.

As Zimbabwe is finding, and Pakistan and Nigeria before that, the united Commonwealth is a formidable bloc to encourage or discourage certain developments. When a country is criticised by a predominantly non-white Commonwealth it is hard to claim racism or colonialism convincingly.

Why Should The USA Join?

The USA has slowly realised that it cannot act alone as a world power. Even world powers need friends.And frankly sometimes it has to be your best friend who tells you home truths in a private setting. What goes on on the fringes of Commonwealth meetings is hugely significant.

Side deals to open markets, grant scholarships, and organise placements and training in advanced countries outside any normal immigration rules all help.

Are There Difficulties?

The USA will have to understand that in the Commonwealth economic strength and population size and military capacity are all part of the picture.

In every family every sibling gets a look in, and the bigger siblings cannot just push everyone around. Britain and India and Nigeria and South Africa earn respect not only for what they contribute but also for how they behave.

Americans will be able to learn these new forms of diplomacy. Threatening, destabilising, and encouraging military coups are not the way the Commonwealth does things. Reason, encouragement, mutual help, being part of a shared family, and like siblings looking out for each others interests are what makes the Commonwealth work.

The Americans can learn to behave this way, and might even learn to transfer these techniques and approaches to their diplomacy generally.

Are the Americans big enough to join a community of adults? Yes, if they wish to.


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