Since Harper came to government he has made a point of prattling on about "The World Stage". In the early days it was "Canada's back". The question, of course was, back from what?
Despite the fact that prior to Harper's formation of a government Canada had led the G8 in economic performance, had developed an international reputation as an honest broker and had performed a number of diplomatically delicate back-channel operations, Harper felt left out. To him the only way to be respected in the world was to become some kind of obvious power both militarily and diplomatically. The question then would be, "Who would care?" And, in terms of the "World Stage", to which Canada had apparently returned, what part didn't we as a nation already occupy given that, despite our geography, we are a small country?
That's where Daniel Hannen comes in. His speech at the Manning love-in was essentially a regurgitation of this.
The country which, for decades, was a sort of outpost of Continental Europe in North America has convincingly rejoined the Anglosphere.The Anglosphere is just what it translates into. It is the sphere of English-speaking nations and, (even if Hannen or Harper try to deny it), almost exclusively white. The Hannen definition, however, extends somewhat beyond that very basic description. It is at the very least exclusionist, definitely based on Anglo-Saxon rooted exceptionalism and is undoubtedly race-centric.
Hannen's column (and the speeches he seems to repeat) match the beliefs espoused by Glenn Reynolds, a once Bush-The-Younger supporter and Iraq war cheerleader. One particularly unsavory similarity between Hannen and Reynolds is the fact that they both seem to hold the seriously fact-challenged Mark Steyn in some kind of high regard.
The Anglosphere to which Hannen and Reynolds adhere is described by American conservative James C. Bennett, here. In his 2004 book The Anglosphere Challenge he describes the core Anglosphere as Britain (not really including Wales), the US (with subsequent clarifications), Australia, New Zealand, English-speaking Canada and Ireland.
If you were thinking the whole of the British Commonwealth of Nations, you were wrong. Those cultures which do not fall into the purest hereditary group do not qualify. (It might be worth noting that both Hannen and Reynolds contributed to Bennett's book).
This small group of countries is the Anglosphere, a totally conservative construct and an extension of Thatcherist glory-speak. It presumes that the deep-rooted English-speaking world is superior to all other cultures - especially Islam.
And the reason Hannen anoints Harper as the new leader of the Anglosphere is not because he demonstrates any particular qualities of statesmanship (far from it) but, because in that small group of core countries identified by Bennett, Harper is the only hard-right conservative with any semblance of majority legislative power. The others are led by either liberal democrats or are constrained by coalition arrangements. In the Anglosphere of Hannen, Bennett and Harper, that puts them in a position of extreme disadvantage and non-conformity with the conservative worldview.
That brings us directly to Harper. First, let's cut right to one particular point. Harper, despite his political cunning, is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. His handling of foreign policy is markedly unsophisticated and clumsy. Regardless of his subsequent weak retraction, Harper stomped his feet like a petulant two-year old when Canada did not join the disastrous invasion of Iraq by US president George W. Bush. That might have led one to believe that Harper was simply a typical conservative chicken-hawk.
He continually dismissed the UN as an ineffective body and then huffed and puffed when Canada was snubbed in a bid for Security Council seat. Again, given how he had publicly behaved toward the UN, his chagrin at not winning what had once been viewed as a traditional Canadian post was puzzling. It was also an embarrassment. After all his "World Stage" posturing, Portugal was more acceptable and he clearly could not understand that it was primarily his doing.
His myopic worldview would not allow it.
Hannen exposed, by both his presence at the Manning Big C love-in and his unimaginative speech, what makes up the "World Stage" in the minds of movement conservatives - that small core body which makes up the Anglosphere.
Harper's "World Stage" is narrowly defined as the deep-root-English-speaking national leaders in a globally dominant role. That's it. All others are secondary. Harper believes in the empire of the English-speaking world - domestically and globally.
It is both dangerous and repulsive.
An example worth noting: Harper's behaviour in Brazil is a good example of how he views his place in the world order. It becomes even worse when one adds the fact that Harper is a notorious narcissist.