August 9

Call for US to take over Commonwealth


America should join the Commonwealth of Nations, says Geoffrey Robertson QC, a point argued her in this column.  A well known London based human rights lawyer, and presenter of a TV series “Geoffrey Robertson's Hypotheticals”, Roberston unsuccessfully campaigned for an Australian republic in 1999.

In an opinion piece in the Sun Herald of 9 August, and not on the web, he also seems to agree with the point often made here. The Commonwealth is more supportive of democracy than either the UN or international law. Above all it has standards which it actually applies.

We would add that the US has more in common with the Commonwealth than the broad UN membership. But the US should come in as an equal member acknowledginThe Queen as Head – the Commonwealth does not recognize rank between members.

But Roberston curiously wants the US not only to join but to to take over the Commonwealth. He wants them to apply strong sanctions against Fiji. He supports the Australian proposal to stop the UN using Fijian troops for peacekeeping operations, although they do it well and the UN is not being rushed with troops.

This proposition was an Australian initiative, following the policy of both parties to push around small Pacific countries on points of principle that Australia would not dare to apply to big powers. This is the mark of a bully.

Robertson argues that the use of the Fijian army has strengthened it and is the cause of political instability. The reasons are deeper than that.

The Fijian situation cries out for mediation, rather than draconian sanctions.

The dual national Queen’s Counsel, who on taking British citizenship would have sworn an Oath of Allegiance to The Queen, cannot resist a gratuitous slight to the Head of the Commonwealth.

He ends by inviting President Obama to “ ponder a takeover of the Commonwealth whose PMs would much rather be photographed with you than with The Queen , and even much less with Charles III.”


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