Monday, July 26, 2010

Peter Hitchens Whines About America (Agaaaaain)

Peter Hitchens of the (London) Daily Mail whines again about American "hegemony" and expresses his dissatisfaction that the USA and not Britain sits at the head of the world's table. In particular, he complains that the USA gave 50 worthless destroyers for a high price to the UK in 1940 and (gasp!) actually made them pay for their stuff in cash when they bought it from us (instead of giving it to them for free) in 1940, before we actually entered the war (and, ahem, saved the butts of the British).

Peter Hitchens reminds me of the old joke about the Western gunslinger's funeral. When the preacher asked the assembled mourners to say something on behalf of the deceased, the crowd remained silent, until one finally piped up, "His brother was even worse."

Seriously, Peter needs to get himself a burger and a Rum and Coke. Much as he grouses about his cross-the-puddle-cousins' dominance of world history since 1945, he needs to remember that five minutes' review of British history reveals that British loss of dominance of the world had nothing to do with us (or, U.S.).

First--those 50 destroyers? The "unequal" deal was necessary to convince the very, very Isolationist American people of the time to go along with the gag. In 1940, FDR would have given them half of the US Navy for free if he could have gotten away with it. (As it was, the aid we eventually gave the UK after the Germans' declaration of war was worth about that much as it is.) Plus, if you know anything about the battle of the Atlantic, those 50 destroyers may have made the difference between victory and defeat and so may have been worth every overcharged penny. Just a thought.

Secondly, the death of Great Great Britain was the direct result of of 12+ years' fecklessness in the face of fascism prior to 1940 and Baldwin's and Chamberlain's active dumping of political lye onto the grave of the British Empire guaranteed what followed. What happened after 1945 was as inevitable as sunset after sunrise. Had the leadership of Great Britain (other than Churchill) shown some testicular fortitude in 1936 the entire war would never had been necessary at all.

But the decline preceded even Baldwin and Chamberlain; Britain's pinnacle ended with the start of its involvement in the First World War. This decline got a big kick at the Somme (where 60,000 of Britain's finest were mindlessly slaughtered under the orders of Douglas Haig in a single day--the largest mass casualty action in military history). A million young British men died or disappeared on the front lines of the Great War, fighting a pointless and useless battle from which there emerged not a single winner except, perhaps, the United States.

After Great War, the Empire got an even bigger kick when, after the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in Amritsar, India in 1919, it was revealed to the world that Britain was no longer willing to act imperially to keep their empire together. (Yes, keeping the British empire together until the 21st century would have required endless Amritsars; since Britain wouldn't do it, the Empire fell apart. I do not advocate that Britain should have done this! - I merely observe that an empire held by fear and violence will die when that fear no longer subsists.)

As it was, the British decided in the early 1930s to dump the entire Empire when it decided to prepare India for independence.

Would Mr. Hitchens have preferred for Britain to have stayed in India? And fight endlessly against the people of India? India had ten times Britain's population. Does Mr. Hitchens' prefer to have lived in a universe where peacefully assembled Third World protesters die regularly at the hands of British executioners?


Then I suggest he accept America's dominance, then, and thank Christ for it, and do so most literally.

Besides, the relatively gentle Pax Americana for the last 65 years easily beats Russia's, China's or Germany's. As even the most mindless of imperialist toffs must admit.... for the simple reason that we let the imperialist toffs in question continue to exist.

No, Peter, you would not prefer the world you think you want. Trust me.

(And ask my now-distant-Irish relations just how wonderful British Imperial rule was, anyhow....)

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