Passing the Torch

E3747The other day Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressed the Israeli Knesset. It was an outstanding speech, (the video is below) and it expressed Canada’s support for Israel emphatically.

But the speech had other ramifications as well. I think it marked Canada’s (and Australia’s, see below) accession to the leadership of the free world. We here in America and the Britain as well have dropped the ball rather badly in the last few years, and we have left others to pick up after us. To their credit they are doing an admirable job.Tom Wilson writing in Commentary magazine also noticed and said this:

Rightly, Harper spoke of Israel’s accomplishments, defending unequivocally its right to exist as a Jewish state and denouncing in no uncertain terms the new anti-Semitism that masquerades as anti-Zionism–or as Harper put it, “the old hatred has been translated into more sophisticated language for use in polite society. People who would never say they hate and blame the Jews for their own failings or the problems of the world, instead declare their hatred of Israel and blame the only Jewish state for the problems of the Middle East.”

Ironically, when Prime Minister Harper came to rebutting the apartheid charge leveled against Israel, two of the Arab Knesset members present began to loudly interrupt him, before then promptly storming out–their very position in the Knesset, of course, serving to refute the accusation that they apparently felt so strongly about insisting upon. This sense of obligation to speak out against such lies and bigotry clearly stems from the prime minister’s wider worldview.

Harper declared unapologetically that we live in a world where “moral relativism runs rampant” and that “in the garden of such moral relativism, the seeds of much more sinister notions can be easily planted.” For, as Harper noted, “Those who, often begin by hating the Jews…history shows us, end up hating anyone who is not them.”

That’s important, and that’s the kind of leadership that world has come to expect from America, and yes from Britain. Neither country is providing it any longer, but friends of ours, and more importantly friends of freedom are. Here’s PM Harper

Similarly, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has also proven to be unswerving in her support. Like Canada, and in truth like Britain and the US used to be, their support is not absolute, it is won by the love of freedom, and playing by the rules. Again from Tom Wilson

Bishop stated that she thought the international community should refrain from calling settlements illegal, remarking, “I would like to see which international law has declared them illegal,” and arguing, “I don’t think it’s helpful to prejudge the settlement issue if you’re trying to get a negotiated solution. And by deeming the activity as a war crime, it’s unlikely to engender a negotiated solution.”

Foreign Minister Bishop has likewise been unwavering in her opposition to boycotts, seeing to it that funding from the Australian government does not reach organizations calling for them. Of the BDS movement Bishop exclaimed, “It’s anti-Semitic. It identifies Israel out of all other nations as being worthy of a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign? Hypocritical beyond belief.”

Bishop stands out as an almost lone voice on a number of these issues, yet in doing so she echoes the Canadian prime minister’s attitude when he stated that his country will “stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is convenient or popular.”

 Look at that, real principles, just like we used to have.

You know, freedom in the world has been linked to the English-speaking people ever since the enlightenment, and the more things change, the more they stay the same. The thing is, Canada and Australia both know exactly what they are doing, they have been in the trenches, receiving far less of the glory than they deserve, for a full hundred years with us. And yet, they still, have the guts to lead the eternal battle. I hope we have the sense to support them

 

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A Milestone

English: Map of the world showing the location...

English: Map of the world showing the location of the United Kingdom and the United States of America. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been a bit busy with one thing and another and not paying too much attention to my stats lately. Apparently, I’m doing OK, though with the blog, because I just noticed that sometime in the last few days, I passed 25,000 views. I have no idea (and care little) if that is above, below, or about average. I’m happy with it.

I suppose I could say it’s all because of me but, I try not to lie to you, it’s not. It’s because of you. You who inspire me, challenge me, read what I write, good and bad. It’s especially because of you who care about the path of Christianity and America, this time. I’ve been pretty focused on those two subjects lately and hope I’ll be able to deemphasize politics some in the coming months. We’ll see.

Along that line, I want to make a special note of my dearest friend, Jess, who has inspired so many of the posts I written lately that I have taken to calling her my muse.

I also want to take note of those who have been here almost from the beginning, a year ago last July, who have helped me so much, and most especially those, old and new you have given me such eloquent, and intelligent comments.

If you’re curious views here come overwhelmingly from the United States, followed by the UK, Canada, Switzerland, and Spain, and the most popular subjects are the United States, Politics, History, Conservatism, and Corruption. I suspect that tells you something both about what I write about and what you want to know about.

Thanks to you all! :-)

A Bicentennial of a Family Feud

This year we, in North America, and especially the Canadians, are celebrating the bicentennial of the War of 1812. We overlook it in this country, as does Great Britain but, it was the beginning of many things.

As we went through the early years of the 19th Century, the British were fighting, often alone, for their survival, against Napoleon. This was as big a threat to them as Hitler was, and like desperate people do, they bent a few rules. They also did some dumb stuff.

As early as 1797, we fought a quasi-war with France but, our real problem was with Britain. You see, the British Government had imposed a blockade on pretty much all of Europe, and it rankled and hurt our traders. We were already one of the largest trading countries in the world. That we could have lived with, after all there was still Britain to trade with, our largest trading partner.

But they also did a dumb thing, the Royal navy was having trouble manning the fleet. You know, this fleet, in Mahan’s words:

“Nelson’s storm-tossed ships, on which the Grand Army never looked, stood between it and the Empire of the World.”

And remember they maintained this blockade from 1803 till 1815, anyway they were having trouble manning the fleet, so when they stopped American blockade runners they got in the habit of impressing (kidnapping, really) American sailors into the fleet. It tended to tick the Americans off but, so what.

Out in the Old Northwest, Britain also had a good bit of trouble convincing themselves to abide by he terms of the Treaty of Paris, 1783 that ended the Revolution. The held on to some forts but what really exercised the residents was that they armed the Indians, You’ll remember that the Battle of Tippecanoe propelled General  Harrison all the way to the Presidency. This kind of thing led to the westerners believing that peace would not be possible until the United States ruled Canada.

So all of this came together in 1812, and the United States declared war on the United Kingdom.

Speaker of the House Henry Clay… stated the case for war clearly in 1811

What are we to gain by war, has been emphatically asked? In reply, he would ask, what are we not to lose by peace?—commerce, character, a nation’s best treasure, honor!  Let those who contend for this humiliating doctrine, read its refutation in the history of the very man against whose insatiable thirst of dominion we are warned.  Let us come home to our own history. It was not by submission that our fathers achieved our independence.

For a while the Navy did well, in legendary single ship actions such as the Constitution v  Guerriere which earned her the nickname of “Old Ironsides“. But eventually the Navy was driven into port.

In the meantime, various militias started trying to invade Canada, and pretty much got their butts handed to them by the British and colonial forces, there were bright spots such as Battle of Lake Erie and eventually the Army found some generals such as Winfield Scott who would remake the US Army into the world beater that would appear in the Mexican War.

In other theaters. the British invaded and burned Washington DC and bombarded Fort McHenry in Baltimore, which resulted in a very famous poem being written. One which starts “O say can you see…”

In April of 1814 Napoleon was defeated and exiled to Elba (he would escape and the 100 days would ensue). At this point the British and Americans looked at each other and said essentially, what are we fighting about, trading is more profitable. On Christmas Eve of 1814 the Treaty of Ghent was signed, ending the war. Essentially it ended Status Quo Ante Bellum with all outstanding disputed  items sent to commisions to settle. There was one more battle, at New Orléans, because of the speed of communications. Major General Sir Edward Pakenham, GCB, The Duke of Wellington’s brother-in-law, the British commander, was killed. The American commander, Andrew Jackson, went on to become President.

What we have here is an entire war fought for what? Honor, nothing else. Nobody gained anything material, nobody lost anything material.

So what were the results?

  • British North America (Canada) gained a sense of nationhood and pride because of the role they had played in the war.
  • The United States went into the war as a disunited and querulous lot of semi-independent states and also emerged as a united nation.
  • Great Britain arguably gained a sense that North Americans, both Canadians and Americans, would fight for their honor.

The main result was that the United States and Canada got over screwing around in each others country, leading to one of the wonders of the world, a land frontier across an entire continent, that is completely undefended, because these next door neighbors are friends and allies.

I can’t resist telling you a personal story here. About 20 years ago, I was on a line crew changing poles around Plentywood, MT, which is in the corner between North Dakota, Montana, and Canada. We were about a half mile from Canada. We were working along and one of our people shouted and pointed, so we looked. What he was pointing at was a B-52 bomber on a penetration profile (less than 500 feet above the ground). Close enough that the crew waved to us.

President Kennedy probably put it best.

 Geography has made us neighbors.

History has made us friends.

Economics has made us partners.

And necessity has made us allies.

Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder.

And so we have the story of how a war helped two countries to mature in freedom, and a third to respect her offspring.

Happy Victoria Day

Today is Victoria Day in Canada. It celebrates the birthday of Queen Victoria the “Mother of Confederation”

Soldier’s Tower, Toronto, via Toronto Then and Now

Canucks being Canucks, they’ve been known to drink a bit of beer on Victoria Day weekend, just as we will on Memorial Day. So bear with them, they are great friends. They’re also damn good mates to party with (I speak from experience, I once spent a bank holiday weekend in Plentywood, MT, and it took all week to recover). I also remember dad talking about marching in the Victoria Day parade at Fort Garry, now Winnepeg, when he was young.

But of course we can’t do a post about Canada without a video featuring the Mounties, now can we?

Our Shared Anglosphere Heritage

via samizdata.net

It’s time for some optimistic, albeit realistic, thinking about our future, all of us in the English speaking world. So most of you know where I go for that, MEP Daniel Hannan. Here’s a speech he gave in Melbourne a bit ago on our shared heritage. He may be speaking to the Australians but, his words apply to us all.

 

On a related note, Mr. Hannan here is talking about our friends to the north.

I had Canada all wrong. So, I suspect, did one or two Canadians. I grew up thinking of the frozen Dominion as a sort of touchy-feely version of the US, obsessed with multiculturalism and the supremacy of the United Nations.

In foreign policy, as in domestic, Ottawa seemed to owe more to Scandinavia than to the Anglosphere. The Canadian writer Robertson Davies – for my money the finest novelist of the past 60 years – has a Swedish character in one of his trilogies declare herself quite at home in another socialist monarchy.

Only now that it has passed do I see what an aberration the big government phase was. Before the ascendancy of Pierre Trudeau, Canadians prided themselves on being hardier and more independent than their American neighbours. Their immigration policy was based on maintaining more attractive tax rates than the US; they avoided FDR’s spending splurge just as they have avoided Obama’s. In consequence, their combined provincial and national administrations account for a lower percentage of national GDP than do the combined state and federal governments south of the border.

Of course, deep down, we Britons knew that there was something bogus about the goody-goody, officious Canada that Mark Steyn calls ‘Trudeaupia’. We remember Canadians as allies on the battlefield. Any British veteran will tell you that, in the two wars, Canadian soldiers had a reputation for grim and terrible courage. Eisenhower used to remark (in private, obviously) that, man for man, they were the finest troops under his command. We, of all people, should be delighted to find them back to their old ways.

Continue Reading.

If for some reason you didn’t follow the link, here is the interview that ran at the end of the article.

And of course, in case you missed it, here is Mr. Hannan talking to us Americans at CPAC this spring.

 

Our shared Anglosphere heritage – Telegraph Blogs.

The Devil’s Brigade

English: Shoulder sleeve patch of the 1st Spec...

Image via Wikipedia

This report is from Stars and Stripes. You know the military newspaper that dates back to World War Two and has had such contributors as Bill Maudlin.

Some years ago, Hollywood made a movie, “The Devil’s Brigade,” about a U.S.-Canadian commando force during World War II. Now an effort is underway in Congress to award the Congressional Gold Medal to that elite strike force.

Legislation to award the nation’s highest civilian honor to the First Special Service Force has been introduced in the House and Senate by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

The Canadian Embassy in Washington plans to call attention to the effort next week by screening the documentary “Daring to Die: The Story of the Black Devils” with at least five members of the dwindling force in attendance, along with government and military officials from both countries.

For those of you too young to remember it, here’s a scene from the movie:

To continue:

John F. Mulholland Jr., commander of the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Command, has endorsed the effort to recognize the force, noting in a letter to Baucus that its members “earned a reputation for being able to take impenetrable objectives when no one else could.’’

The force participated in invasions in the Aleutian Islands, at Anzio Beach in Italy, and in southern France. They led the Allied liberation of Rome and wiped out Axis positions on scores of French and Italian mountains.

They specialized in high alpine combat, covert amphibious landings, airborne operations and other unconventional operations, with more reinforcements being added after the force suffered significant casualties in battle. Ultimately, the force suffered 2,314 casualties; however, it also captured over 30,000 prisoners.

Here’s the link to the full article.

If awarded they will join the Tuskegee Airmen; the Navajo Code Talkers; the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs; and Japanese American members of the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service, a most worthy and honorable (honourable for you Canucks) group.

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