Thu, Apr 29, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Oppose American independence

By Gerrit van der Wees

As we put our pen to paper, it is June 1775. Much debate is going on about cross-Atlantic relations: King George III in London is still insisting on a "one Britain" policy, and emphasizes that the colonies are an inseparable part of the British Empire.

This "one Britain" policy has served us well for six generations, and is the bedrock of stability for relations across the Atlantic. Of course, the great majority of the population in the colonies are of English descent, speak English, and should therefore be considered subjects of the British throne.

Now, the problem is that an increasing number of people in the colonies are starting to talk about democracy, and are even advocating American independence. It is of course obvious that this would be detrimental to stability in the region, since Britain would never allow secession.

A couple of months ago, some pro-independence hotheads caused some problems at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. We certainly hope they will cease their provocative actions.

There is even talk that some of the separatists, headed by a Benjamin Franklin and one George Washington, are planning to write articles of confederation for the United Colonies of America. This is creeping independence, and should be avoided at all cost. Heaven forbid, it might lead to a Declaration of Independence and a new constitution.

The people in the colonies should keep quiet, be happy and accept the status quo. Any change in the status quo should be mutually agreed to with the authorities in London. Any unilateral steps by the colonies might lead to a crisis, which would provoke military action from King George, and would draw the rest of Europe into a war between England and the colonies.

Part of the problem is rising American nationalism. The people there are forgetting their English roots, neglecting proper British manners and customs, in particular the adequate distinction between the upper and lower classes of society.

In all this, the King has been very flexible and conciliatory: He has emphasized that there should be peaceful reunification and he has sent some 500 warships to the American coast, which will only attack if the colonies declare independence.

The British Empire considers these jurisdictions renegade colonies that must be reunited, by force if necessary. It would be irresponsible for the American colonies to treat these statements as empty threats.

Britain has gone to great lengths to prevent other nations from establishing ties with the colonies. Still, there are some in Europe, notably France and the Dutch Republic, inexplicably siding with the rebels in the American colonies. These nations are illegally selling weapons to the colonies, thereby reinforcing their sense of independence from the British Empire.

One of the rebels, Thomas Jefferson, is even reported to be in The Hague, where he is copying the 1568 Dutch Declaration of Independence from Spain.

In any case, Britain is the world power at the moment: the Union Jack is flying securely from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, from Africa to India. Challenging her might would be disastrous for world peace. We therefore do not support American independence, and will even consider opposing it.

Let us hope the message is clear.

Gerrit van der Wees is editor of Taiwan Communique.

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