Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Hands across the water

Here's one way in which the controversy over liberal interventionism is like the Second World War; rather late in the day, when our trusty little band of Watchers has all but been ground down beneath the Mighty Egg Of Truth and our Empire is a shadow of its former self, the Yanks are coming to save our asses.

Leaving aside the narcissism involved in the implicit claim that making banal arguments about liberal democracy being preferable to totalitarianism represent great courage, I'm confused about the causal mechanism here. Protests that had no impact on a domestic government's rush to war can be expected to topple dictatorships in other countries? Protest movements in Iran will be helped by being associated with western groups?

Sweet as a nut.

[Paul Berman]He's made it very difficult to present the war as an extension of the liberal and humanitarian interventionism of the 1990s in which Tony Blair played a distinguished and honorable and brave role.

Maybe it was hard to "present" that way because...it wasn't. Anyway, apparently we were supposed to believe that the leader of the most important American ally in the war couldn't influence Bush's conduct at all, but some liberal hawks with no electoral constituency who supported the war for the right reasons could. Evidently, the fact that this kind of stuff is presented in a frame of self-congratulation for telling the Hard Truths that war opponents are too blinded by Bush-hatred to see adds to the comic effect

The temptation to just coast along and just put up a link to that post every week or so instead of proper "World of Decency" blogging is palpable. If it wasn't for the Yanks we'd be speaking German, you know.


Blogger jayinbmore said...

I'm pretty sure that Scott Lemieux is Canadian, not a Yank.

4/01/2008 09:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, even if he is, they did their bit too. and the ANZACs as well, mustn't forget them.

4/01/2008 09:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And if it wasn't for the French, the Yanks would be speaking English right now.

4/01/2008 11:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And if it wasn't for total historic contingency, New York would be New Amsterdam.

4/01/2008 11:26:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I'd be speaking German anyway if I hadn't opted for Latin at O-Level instead.

4/02/2008 06:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

would that not make you a bit difficult to understand in Spain?

If I hadn't done economics A-Level I'd probably be speaking Welsh today.

4/02/2008 07:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the things that hasn't gotten through to many people is that the Sept. 11 attacks broke a taboo. There had been a taboo before against staging random massacres against the United States.

I can see where Nick gets lot of his rhetorical 'tricks' now - invent an utterly unjustifiable idea, using faulty terminology, and then claim that 'people [on the left] don't understand this'...

4/02/2008 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Not much less than I am now, and with an option to move somewhere to which the complaints of Orwell's first chapter do not apply.

4/02/2008 09:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was also, until 5 years ago, a taboo against invading other countries except in self-defence. Is somebody saying that we're allowed to break a taboo every time somebody else breaks one?


4/02/2008 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

The Royal Canadian Navy; the third biggest in the world in 1945, practically all concentrated on the all-critical North Atlantic convoy routes.

4/02/2008 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's interesting - was it all constructed during the war or did they already have a big navy in 1939 (and if so why?)

4/02/2008 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I assume it's after the Kriegsmarine and the Imperial Japanese Navy were impounded/scuttled. Plus I think all the corvettes and frigates used for convoy duty would skew the result a little. Their largest ships were likely to have been a few light cruisers.

Igor Belanov.

4/02/2008 01:46:00 PM  

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