The End of the Anglo-American Order?
The Anglo-American order has brought stability, relative peace and prosperity to the world for many years. Are we witnessing its end?
In a recent BBC article, a provocative question was raised: Are we witnessing the end of the Anglo-American order? In recent years, many historians and commentators have sensed that the United States and Britain’s influence on the world stage is declining. Recent events have contributed and compounded this perception. Consider:
- The election of a controversial U.S. president who, according to opinion polls, is distrusted by a high percentage in his own country and around the world.
- The possibility of Russian meddling in U.S. elections and the chaos surrounding the investigations.
- Brexit, Britain’s vote to leave the EU, has left the United Kingdom divided. The vote has led to calls for Northern Ireland and Scotland to separate from the union.
- Theresa May’s gamble to hold early elections with the aim of gaining a stronger mandate in Brexit negotiations backfired, resulting in her party actually being weakened and causing more uncertainty moving forward into the negotiations.
- Terror attacks in the U.K. have left the country on edge, similar to the post-9/11 U.S. The current scourge of “lone wolf”-style attacks could lead to the scaling back of freedoms, threatening the British and American ways of life.
- Brexit is seen as Britain’s taking a step toward isolation, which has caused it to lose respect from other nations. The U.S. is being viewed similarly due to its recent withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and its threats to EU allies on their need to contribute more to NATO.
Great Britain, loss of greatness
At the height of the British Empire, the British controlled about 25 percent of the world’s land area and about 500 million people. The sun truly never set on the British Empire.
Many historians and commentators have sensed that the United States and Britain’s influence on the world stage is declining.The late historian Clarence Carson noted that Britain began to decline in the interwar years: “Yet the inner strength which had given England power and influence around the world was decaying. The decline was political, economic, moral, religious, and social.” He observed that the “decline of England was preceded and accompanied by moral and religious decline.”
He further pointed out the shift in moral views that led to this decline: “For several decades, the erosion of belief in verities had proceeded apace or accelerated. Intellectuals had swung over to relativism. Morals, people were taught, are relative to time and place, are matters of customs and mores. Moral absolutes were for Englishmen reflexes of Puritanism and Victorianism, hence, old-hat, outmoded, and increasingly despised. Rationality had been undercut by new currents of irrationality.”
After World War II, Britain’s wealth, prestige and global hegemony were severely reduced. A new power rose to greatness to take Britain’s place—the United States of America.
City on a hill
John Winthrop, who served as governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, had a vision of America being a “city on a hill” (a paraphrase of Matthew 5:14). The expression “city on a hill” has continued to be used by American leaders. When used in political discourse, the expression generally means that the U.S. has been an example of goodness and success that other nations can learn from.
A fuller quote of John Winthrop’s words shows even greater meaning than many people today realize:
“For we must consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world” (emphasis added).
John Winthrop’s words reflect principles found in the Bible about blessings and curses (Leviticus 26:3-33). Winthrop’s words and these scriptures should be seriously considered by all Americans—including those in government, business, entertainment and on down to the ordinary citizen.
Like Great Britain before it started to decline by abandoning its long-held moral absolutes, the U.S. now seems to be on its own downhill moral spiral. To learn more about this decline, read our article “The Decline and Rise of America.”
Blessings turned to curses
A missing dimension most don’t understand is that God bestowed blessings on the British and American peoples that were promised thousands of years earlier. But, as is true with any divine blessing, there were responsibilities expected from those who inherited these blessings (Luke 12:48). God expected the British and American peoples to be a positive example to the world. That example has become increasingly negative in recent years.
We cannot expect these blessings to continue. As God warned through the prophet Malachi, “‘If you will not hear, and if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to My name,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed them already, because you do not take it to heart’” (Malachi 2:2).
Even if these nations won’t take this message to heart, you can.
To learn what will happen to America, read “What Is Going to Happen to America?”