The official end of the British Empire, according to Prince Charles, happened in 1997, when Britain gave back Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China. However, it’s collapse could be tracked starting from 1979. In 1980, Britain lots its last African colony – Southern Rhodesia. In 1984, Brunei, Britain’s last remaining Asian protectorate, gained its independence.
In 1982, the Canada Act passed by the British parliament ended the need for British involvement in changes to the Canadian constitution. In 1986, the Australia Act 1986 severed the constitutional link between Britain and the Australian states, while New Zealand’s Constitution Act 1986 reformed the constitution of New Zealand to sever its constitutional link with Britain.
Seeing the decline of the British Empire decades earlier, the British elite saw the need to propagate its influence in the future, and thus the Commonwealth of Nations was formed. Three events can be traced as its beginning. It was originally created as the British Commonwealth of Nations through the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference, and formalized by the United Kingdom through the Statute of Westminster in 1931. The current Commonwealth of Nations was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which modernized the community and established the member states as “free and equal”.
Essentially, the elite simply changed the manner in which they exploit their former colonies. These movements became much more evident around the end of the Cold War and the advent of “democracy.”
In 1989, the Commonwealth of Nations (CoN) signed its declaration, accompanied by far-reaching statements on the ecology and inhibition of a number of economies within the framework. And the next declaration was released almost instantly, after the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 1991.
It says that the Cold War has finally ended, the enemies have reconciled and it is now important to maintain a balance of “human rights” in the territories of the Commonwealth.
The most important thing in the world: democracy needs to come for the developing countries, and they need to receive UN support initiatives without exception.
The document itself, more or less, entirely said “goodbye” to the reality of the Soviet Union, in an appendix to it.
Although the material was being prepared in June 1991 before the August events and was published in October of the same year before the formal collapse of the USSR.
The Soviet Union’s place was supposed to be taken by the Union of Sovereign States.
In 1995, the first Program in the history of CoN was introduced to implement the declaration of 1991.
And it included membership rules for new members. It also included the creation of a coordination commission in each member country, which would ensure that a standard in managing resources would be introduced throughout. It is a sort of colonial law, which was abandoned in 1930 by the UK.
Most interestingly, any military coups in the CoN territories since 1995 have officially NOT been considered an internal affair of the member states. Such coups are to be dealt with by all members of the commonwealth.
Both by economic means, and, if necessary, providing assistance to the legitimately elected government of the country.
The meetings of the commonwealth can be attended by either British officials, or representatives of the governments of full-fledged members. Quite similar to the old colonial system, and by 1995 there were quite a bit of would-be members.
Some of them had to wait quite a bit, such as Fiji which waited for 20 years.
Attempting to join CoN means that the country must agree with the UK’s preferences on any diplomatic issue.
Furthermore, the membership of a specific country can be frozen or restored, depending on the situation in the country itself. In fact, non-compliance with the obligations of having a smooth government and economic stability instantly leads to an escalation of the conflict with the colonial administration.
And it’s also near-impossible to free oneself from CoN. For example, Hong Kong, with the loss of the status of UK-controlled territory, has not left all the inside of the labyrinths of CoN and is still negotiating on behalf of the PRC with CoN through diplomatic communications, and is resolving trade issues by association with members of the Commonwealth.
There’s also quite the waiting for an invitation to the Commonwealth, currently including: Israel, Norway, Iraq, Kuwait, Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Afghanistan and Bhutan.
In terms of military, around the end of the 90s, the member countries completely denied military involvement in general operations in the vast expanses of the Commonwealth.
On the other hand, CoN arranged among itself several structures interacting with each other, fulfilling one goal – maintaining UK combat effectiveness at the expense of dominions and guarding its own borders.
There is such a structure as the Royal British Legion (RBL). Unlike the French Foreign Legion, few have heard of it.
Indeed, the organization is not militant, but rather reconnaissance. This is a non-profit association of veterans of all soldiers under the flag of Britain. It was organized in 1921 to “maintain the financial condition of the legionnaires,” that is, retired officers.
At the same time, the British Empire Service League was born with the same goals and objectives, but already taking care of veterans of Commonwealth countries, not the UK. After 1952, it was renamed the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL).
It is curious that RCEL was designed from the ground up by the Jan Smuts, a South African “philosopher-holist” and statesman.
The commander of these all is the British monarch, and it is separate from the leadership of the Commonwealth itself.
For example, in 2019, the keys to the Commonwealth were officially handed over to Prince Charles, but there was no concern for veterans.
It is in the annual report of the RBL, and not in the armed forces of the UK, that statistics are available on soldiers from former colonies in the British army.
They comprise no less than 4.5% and not more than 10% (depending on the year) in the entire ranks of island forces.
Most recruits (both privates and officers) go through a formally civilian outsourcer called Capita.
According to most of its audit reports, form 1984 when it was created show that it is barely surviving. Its margins are generally around the equal mark, and sometimes barely on the positive, sometimes barely on the negative. In the 2000s there were several corruption scandals around it.
Capita operates throughout the entire Commonwealth, in conjunction with Aegis Defense Services, the British state-owned Private Military Contractor.
It is engaged in escorting military facilities, including on the territory of the Middle East countries occupied by the United States. Aegis became known during and immediately after the so-called. “Arab Spring.” By a strange coincidence, its specialists were contracted both to protect top officials, ousted regimes, and to defend the “peaceful opposition.”
It became infamous after its “trophy” videos showing the contractors shoot Iraqi drivers.
A number of positions on the board of directors are occupied by active military officials. The CEO – a British general from the Guards regiment of the Heir to the Throne – Graham Binns. The Chairman of the Board of Directors – ex-Minister of Defense – Sir Nicholas Soames.
Aegis was created after the merger of several dozen daughter structures in different parts of CoN.
How many combat units are in its composition is not reliably known, but its somewhere between 350,000 to 1,200,000 people.
The ranks of the British Army there are comprised of 75,000 people and approximately 27,500 in reserve.
At least 5% of the Aegis staff are military instructors who work with the active armies of the CoN countries and select units for internships in the UK.
Thus, the situation is such:
- Private military companies Aegis are sitting in the territories of the Commonwealth, guarding top officials and big business. They train local troops and participate in joint exercises;
- Capita (and several other companies) recruit contract soldiers from the active forces of the CoN countries and send them to intern in the UK army;
- at the end of the service, they are registered with RCEL and hired as ready-made legionnaires in Aegis structures (if they wish).
To monitor the entire chain and the absence of abuse, mainly financial, a Security Industry Authority was registered at the same time as Aegis.
The regulator is supervised by the counterintelligence service and only as much is known about it as is necessary for external interaction with it.
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