The Hidden Empire
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) goes pretty much unnoticed unless it's involved in an International Conflict. Recently, the Alliance has been coordinating a large part of it's member state's Covid Response.
When the North Atlantic Treaty was signed in 1949, it made way for the North Atlantic Council, which is the governing body of NATO.
Each nation has permanent Ambassadors who meet at least once a week. These Ambassadors represent their individual Heads of State/Government and have decision making power based on their Governments directions.
Member State Foreign Ministers meet twice a year to finalise Foreign Policy matters, Defence Ministers meet three times a year to finalise Defence matters and once a year the Heads of State/Governments meet in a show of force/unity at the annual NATO Conference.
NATO is a Confederation in the sense, that it's a group of Sovereign Nations that come together to work on Foreign and Defence Policy in order to project their values globally.
NATO's combined GDP is a whopping $41 trillion, almost half the world's wealth... Need I say more? Imagine, if NATO became more active and visible... If it ventured into a Free Trade Area as well as Foreign and Defence Policy?
It would still be a Confederation, a group of countries, with their own laws and their own ways of doing things, but on the world stage, it would be seen as a formidable Empire.
As things stand a present, the UK seeks free trade with the USA and the EU. The EU also seeks free trade with the USA and has already achieved this with Canada.
Also, Canada and the USA have existing free trade agreements. And even though Australia and New Zealand are far away, they fit the bill of the alliance and could easily come on board if the CANZUK ambition were to be realised.
So, if you think about it, in the next 10 years, most NATO members will have free trade with one another, the time might come where Governing Trade Policy through the North Atlantic Council is a feasible and desired option.
NATO has largely been the hidden Empire, that we all know as an alliance and have never really taken much notice of.
But, as the world changes and western dominance is challenged, I think NATO will come to the front of everyone's minds...