You might have missed it but late last week our former PM Liz Truss gave a speech.
It was given in Tokyo, so you might be excused for not noticing it but it would be a crying shame if it was denied the oxygen of publicity; because in it she put forward the most interesting, far-sighted, and ambitious plan I have ever heard.
Truss proposed an “Economic NATO” to help the West stand up to the growing influence and threat from its enemies, principally, but presumably not exclusively, China and Russia.
I think this idea might be a winner.
The former PM seems to think that what we really need is an economic club to aid cooperation and therefore coordinate disparate free market economies. But how could this work?
Since America is already an economic superpower, the obvious place to do this would be in Europe. This would create a third economic superpower, so that China would find itself just one of three significant economic world leaders. Two of which would always oppose it.
It would be a long process, of course, starting with a few key members but then growing as its obvious success attracted neighbouring countries. It could create the fertile ground for an economic boom and eventually create a single market where there are no barriers at all to trade between hundreds of millions of people.
The economies of scale would be epic, the cross-fertilisation of research and investment would create world-beating industries, the movement of labour, goods, services, and capital would be of huge benefit in the most efficient allocation of resources across a continent.
States would be queuing up to join, which would mean they would have to work towards being more democratic, law-abiding, peaceful, and free market.
Europe, which has torn itself apart for centuries, could unite. It would be a huge force multiplier, ensuring peace and prosperity and pulling ever more countries into its orbit.
And finally, just to save money and make for better coordination of the two, we could base this new Economic NATO in Brussels, right beside the current NATO headquarters.
It’s a win-win. America would love it as it creates another superpower like itself on the other side of the Atlantic.
To be fair China, Russia and a few others would hate it, desperately fight to undermine it and split it up, because it would challenge their authoritarian model and be a beacon of light in their dark and brutal world. But then that is a good reason to go ahead with the idea, not a reason to destroy it.
I can’t believe someone hasn’t thought of this before.
But then Liz Truss really is a great thinker, a stateswoman of global significance, a political colossus.
Were we all too hasty in getting rid of her?