Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Nothing Special About Britain? Britain!?

Re: the anonymous Obama administration dufus who said: "There’s nothing special about Britain. You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment."

As an unapologetic, full-throated Anglophile I find those comments idiotic, offensive, ahistorical, and in a certain sense anti-American.* I'm of course appalled.

But it's worth focusing on one aspect of this sentiment: It's idiocy. According to the liberal-realist school, some countries matter more than other countries because they are powerful and have the ability to adversely affect our national interest. According to the liberal-internationalist school, allies matter more than non-allies because grand international coalitions are the best way to do the wonderful things want to do on the world stage. So, China matters because it's a rising hegemon. Burkino Faso matters . . . eh, not so much. "Europe" matters because they are allies on security, global warming, human rights, etc. Well, Britain just happens to be our most important, reliable, and powerful ally.

So even if you take the pragmatist's razor to our shared history, culture, and all other romantic attachments to Great Britain, the bulldog still matters — a lot. In other words, to say that Britain isn't any more special than the other 190 countries in the world, you actually have to dislike Britain to the point where you're willing to suspend what are supposed to be your guiding principles and objectives about foreign policy.

* Just to be clear, what I mean by anti-American isn't a knee-jerk attack on anyone's patriotism. Rather, I simply mean that if you think the country that gave us our system of laws, our democratic tradition, our dominant culture, much of our greatest literature, and even our language is no more special than any backwater country which immiserates or brutalizes its people, then you must not think very much of America's culture, traditions, etc. either.

— Jonah Goldberg


Anonymous said...

This blog can do better than quoting Doughy Pantload.

Anonymous said...

Let them show their true colors. It makes it easier to fight them with the agenda laid out on the table.

Sorry, I don't see eight years with obnoxious, anti-white comments like this.

David Byers said...

Yea, “nothing special about Britain” but for the facts: Britain stood up for freedom against Hitler, the Communist and many other tyrants. Britain gave the world the concept of a free parliament. Britain gave the world the greatest writer of all time – Shakespeare. Yea “nothing special about Britain”

Matt said...

put a stop to the Atlantic slave trade
invented trial by jury
gave birth to free countries all over the world

no nothing special

Anonymous said...

With all the inequalities via devolution it's England I'm more concerned about.

Lord Best said...

I suppose it makes sense. Anyone who supports the British model of responsible constitutional monarchy can have nothing but contempt for the US model (republican tyranny). Likewise those who are dedicated to republican tyranny can have little respect for constitutional monarchies.

David Byers said...

Lord Best, I don't agree with what you say. I believe it is more to do with having a left wing government now in the USA.

Anonymous said...

No, David, I think Best has it right. Left, right, is a poor model- and Obama is more 'radical centre'. Under Bush the US criticised "Old Europe". For republicans it is about political usefulness. Of course that sort of thing can happen under CM governments as well, but I expect it from the US.

Don't expect respect from US politicians. I certainly do not lend them any.

Lord Best said...

Mr Byers, I wish it were limited to just left wing US governments, but it is not. US administrations have a long history of contempt for Britain going right back to Roosevelt (the second one).

Anonymous said...

This comment, and the snubs to PM Brown during his visit, came the same week Obama called for engaging "moderate" Taliban. (Are they related to "moderate Nazis"?).

Welcome to Obama's brave new world. He has a far more radical agenda than his personal charm lets on. Subversion of the whole Western Alliance, anyone?

Lord Best said...

Actually, I rather think splitting the Taliban and playing various groups off against the other is a very intelligent strategy, used widely by the British Empire with great success. A more pragmatic use of diplomacy is only a good thing, to my mind.
The British Empire would never have been as successful as it was if it refused to talk to any group who opposed it.

Younghusband said...

I clicked on "read the full article" implying there was more to this. Where did this quote come from? In what context? I can see if Brown comes looking for a financial hand put then in that case the comment has more substance. But then, this is a White House that has already downgraded any sense of the ceremonial between the two countries as seen in the first visit to DC.

Anonymous said...

Splitting the opposition and playing groups against each other may have been an effective strategy in certain local and nationalist uprisings, but is foolhardy when an enemy seeks your very annihilation.

The Taliban is bent on the very destruction of Western democracy, liberality, and civilization. In this sense, the Taliban is more like the Nazis, and Churchill correctly saw that nothing less than victory was acceptable.

The Taliban has not even proposed negotiations, and there is no evidence that there is any “moderate” Taliban faction. Obama’s suggestion for negotiating with such imaginary factions will be seen by the Islamo-fascists as a sign of weakness and a willingness to capitulate.

Lord Best said...

The Taliban is a conglomeration of ethinc and religious groups which seek control of Afghanistan, they do not give a fig about Western civilization. Never have, never will.
Please do not use the term Islamofascist, it is an oxymoron. Islamic fundamentalist preaches the ultimate supremacy of the religious authority, fascism the ultimate supremacy of the state, the two are completely incompatible.

David Byers said...

Lord Best, I take your point about the word "Islamofacist" but think it is just used to express an idea. The term Islam is offensive enough in its self.

Anonymous said...

Your definition of fascism is technically correct, but it is still fair to call the Taliban ‘Islamofascists’ in that they seek the supremacy of theocracy: the supremacy of religious and state authority as one and the same. Theocratic rule of the state can (and does) take either of two forms: direct state role by clergy (Iran), and/or imposition of Sharia law as the civil law (several countries).

The Taliban may be concerned with control of Afghanistan, but it is difficult to separate it from Al-Qaeda. Remember that Al-Qaeda trained openly in Afghanistan with full support of the Taliban government, and launched the 9/11 attacks before the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
What was the goal of the Al-Qaeda/Taliban attacks of 9/11 if not a blow to Western civilization itself ?

Anonymous said...

WesternCiv said: "What was the goal of the Al-Qaeda/Taliban attacks of 9/11 if not a blow to Western civilization itself?"

And they have succeeded, with the help of 'Western Civilzation'. The attacks destroyed and damaged a few buildings and killed less than 5000. The 'West' responds by spending trillions of dollars and sending thousands of precious soldiers to their deaths. And do we have Al-Zawahiri? Bin Laden? No, but the US captured Saddam Hussein. How bloody stupid.

I doubt Al Qaeda knew they would be so successful. How I wish for wiser leaders for the 'West'!

Anonymous said...

RE: "The attacks destroyed and damaged (only, implied) a few buildings and killed less than 5000. The 'West' responds by spending trillions of dollars and sending thousands of precious soldiers ..."

And what should the US and its allies have done? Ignored Al Qaeda and their enablers, the Taliban?

Iraq is debatable, but Afghanistan is not. As long as the Taliban allowed Al Qaeda to train openly, the whole West was in danger. More subway bombings anyone?

Chamberlain ignored Hitler in 1938, and look what happened. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Lord Best said...

Iraq is not debatable, it was a catastrophy in the making from the beginning. Now Iran controls Iraq, fantastic.
Afghanistan, whether we are winning or losing (losing) was and is a just war. The US was attacked by perpetrators harboured by the Taliban, who refused to turn them over to the US.