Thursday, 15 November 2012

The crippled giant [Gigantul infirm]

One shouldn’t have necessarily been a great military analyst to anticipate that such a moment would sooner (rather than later) come for the Perfidious Albion.

The commanders of the armed forces (depleted by budgetary cuts) seem to be shrugging their shoulders in front of David Cameron’s request to implement a no-fly zone over Syria.

Great Britain, the former superpower of the 19th and early 20th century, can’t do anything in Syria by itself, and mustering American and NATO support would take much time.

The only readily available ally would be Turkey, but imposing a Libyan scenario on Bashar al-Assad can certainly draw the ire of Russia.

Would Britain (and France?!) risk another Crimean War, when the odds of victory are so different from what they were some 160 years ago?

Assuming that the newly re-elected ‘pacifist’ at the White House agrees with Cameron’s eagerness to go to war, wouldn’t all risk turning into a Third World War?

If I were Argentina’s president these days, I’d be rubbing my hands, wishing very much to see Britain involved in Syria.

The military giant of 1982 is severely crippled, while Obama will most probably not do anything to defend the pride of the USA
’s former colonial power.

By the time (2016-2018) London gets a new aircraft carrier, it would be very unlikely for the next (Labour?!) government to promise retaking the Falkland Islands.

[For all the posts on this blog go to/Pentru toate postările de pe acest blog mergi la: Contents/Cuprins]


Gregor said...

Dear Bogdan
You make a lot of good points here. I was quite bemused to read an article published a few years ago by The Telegraph by a Brit conservative attacking Obama for saying ‘we have no better ally than France’. In that writer’s eyes Obama was also guilty of letting Britain down for ‘resetting relations’ with Russia (because the British right hates Russia).

The funny thing is British conservatives in general tend to idealise Reagan yet he gave Britain no support either against the IRA or against the Argentinians. I don’t blame him in either case but then I never idealise British/US relations.

I think Britain’s rulers would quite fancy a new Crimean war in fact. The media is full of stupid hyperbole about ‘Vladimir Putin’ who is frequently compared to Hitler and Stalin. Assad is also demonized (as was Ghaddafi and Saddam Hussein) yet there is never any talk about how militant Islam has benefited the most both from the Iraq war and the rather dubious ‘Arab Spring’.

Yet the British political/media complex seems pretty dead set on removing Assad.

Which leads to the question, what about the British people?

I’d say one of the weirdest things about Britain is the bizarre way that people idealise the military but are never averse to starting wars. Recently a man was arrested for uploading a photograph of a burning poppy! Yet the vast majority of Brits want the forces out of Afghanistan and very quickly soured to war with Iraq. ‘Help for Heroes’ is one of the most ubiquitous charities in modern Britain and yet there seems little parliamentary support for an isolationist foreign policy.

And, as you point out, if Britain gets involved militarily in any more conflicts, it will make the Falklands even more vulnerable. Yet I doubt many Brits even think of that because it is apathy that leads to Britain being involved in war and apathy that could lead to Britain being unable to defend itself. If Britain did get involved in Syria it would also give some credence to the rather risible Argentinian claims that Britain is an ‘imperial power’ for holding some islands that want to be British and which have never been part of an Argentinean state,

Still, I’m just hoping for Scottish independence. I think British neo-conservatism was pathetic and misguided enough when America was pro-neo-con. Now it’s just insane.

The truth is that neo-conservative interventionism is not a popular ideology in Britain but then- what is? That is the conundrum of modern Britain. In some ways I’m pleased that the largely arbitrary left/right divide is dead, but I do think it was at least useful for getting people to feel politically involved. In Britain the apathy is astounding.

MunteanUK said...

Dear Gregor,

I'm pleased to see a comment longer than my article :-)

Again, you touched many points, and I'll try to give some replies:

[1] I remember the 'disappointment' expressed in some Brit media when Obama granted the title of "no better ally" to France.

What did those people expect?! From a historical perspective, France helped winning the American War of Independence.

Not that history matters for contemporary American leaders, but surely all Blairite effort to support US wars in the 2000s didn't matter to Obama...


[2] Reagan would have helped Britain only if your Navy had suffered a severe blow in 1982:


[3] It's hard to tell when and how it will be fought, but another Crimean War (a great coalition of 'civilised' western nation against the so-called 'barbarian' Russia) is very likely.

Sadly, Romania will be again 'caught' between two evils, and will eventually be forced to enter the war, like in 1916 and 1941.


[4] I agree that the Argentinian claim over the Falklands is not justified, but I don't doubt that they are using any argument they can think of to 'demonize' Britain, just like the Brit media portrays Russia and especially Putin.


[5] Irrespective of contemporary ideologies, I'd say that Great Britain is an 'interventionist power' par excellence.


[6] You hold on to your hope for Scottish independence, but - as an observer from abroad - I don't see it possible, unless the Coalition Government makes some bad mistakes.

A big one would be intervention in Syria... What other things could go wrong enough to trigger massive dissatisfaction in Scotland, thus a victory in the 2014 referendum?


[7] You are bewildered with the apathy in Britain, but I think that it is globally spread to all consumerist, hedonistic societies.

Overwhelmed with loads of useless bits of information, opressed by daily duties, lured by many distractions, 'civilised' people simply can't 'think' anymore...

Most of what they imagine they 'think' has been already 'prefabricated' :-(