75 Years Ago Today

At 0001 hrs BDST 7 May 1945 the mission of this Allied force was accomplished.

signed Eisenhower.

75 Years ago today, Genera; Eisenhower sent that message to General Marshall.

A Lancaster from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight drops poppies over London during the 50th Anniversary of the VE Day Celebrations in 1995.

A Lancaster from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight drops poppies over London during the 50th Anniversary of the VE Day Celebrations in 1995. The 75th will be much quieter what with the house arrest and all. But once again we can feel the satisfaction of a job well done. And I personally will raise a glass of single malt tonight in honor of al;l those we left behind.

And so it ended. The war in Europe. Hitler had committed suicide. The Germans had surrendered unconditionally. Interesting that today will be largely a British holiday, although America will mark it, as will the Canadians and others. The Germans will mark what they have come to call ‘Liberation Day’, which while not entirely wrong strikes me as a bit misleading at best. The French will celebrate tomorrow something called ‘Europe Day’. Well whatever, they’ve always been ungrateful to the Anglo-Saxons. Probably we shouldn’t expect more from them.

And that is meet and proper, the British and the Empire stood alone for two years, till the Japanese pulled our heads out of our fundaments, and stood the damage and the loss of life, including almost all the equipment of their premier expeditionary force at Dunkirk.

French Marshal Philippe Pétain, the future leader of the collaborationist Vichy French government was convinced that Germany would successfully invade Britain as it had done France. He told Churchill that in three weeks Britain would “have its neck wrung like a chicken.”

On December 30, 1941, the Prime Minister answered, speaking to the Canadian Parliament, in good short Anglo-Saxon words, “Some chicken, some neck.”

And that brings up something, Churchill may have been the best orator to have ever led an English speaking country, very few from any of our countries compare. When in 1963, he was made an honorary citizen of the United States, President Kennedy said this:

In proclaiming him an honorary citizen, I only propose a formal recognition of the place he has long since won in the history of freedom and in the affections of my — and now his — fellow countrymen.

Whenever and wherever tyranny threatened, he has always championed liberty. Facing firmly toward the future, he has never forgotten the past. Serving six monarchs of his native Great Britain, he has served all men’s freedom and dignity.

In the dark days and darker nights when England stood alone — and most men, save Englishmen, despaired of England’s life  — he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle. The incandescent quality of his words illuminated the courage of his countrymen.

And that he did superbly, in mostly short words, of Anglo-Saxon origin that every native speaker of English understood deep in his bones. They still echo in the soul.

Here is the document, and then a very small part of the story.

This was the result in London.

Here is the Prime Minister Winston Churchill

On 4 April 1945, elements of the United States Army’s 89th Infantry Division and the 4th Armored Division captured the Ohrdruf concentration camp outside the town of Gotha in south central Germany. Although the Americans didn’t know it at the time, Ohrdruf was one of several sub-camps serving the Buchenwald extermination camp, which was close to the city of Weimar several miles north of Gotha. Ohrdruf was a holding facility for over 11,000 prisoners on their way to the gas chambers and crematoria at Buchenwald. A few days before the Americans arrived to liberate Ohrdruf, the SS guards had assembled all of the inmates who could walk and marched them off to Buchenwald. They left in the sub-camp more than a thousand bodies of prisoners who had died of bullet wounds, starvation, abuse, and disease. The scene was an indescribable horror even to the combat-hardened troops who captured the camp. Bodies were piled throughout the camp. There was evidence everywhere of systematic butchery. Many of the mounds of dead bodies were still smoldering from failed attempts by the departing SS guards to burn them. The stench was horrible.

When General Eisenhower learned about the camp, he immediately arranged to meet Generals Bradley and Patton at Ohrdruf on the morning of April 12th. By that time, Buchenwald itself had been captured. Consequently, Ike decided to extend the group’s visit to include a tour of the Buchenwald extermination camp the next day. Eisenhower also ordered every American soldier in the area who was not on the front lines to visit Ohrdruf and Buchenwald. He wanted them to see for themselves what they were fighting against.

During the camp inspections with his top commanders Eisenhower said that the atrocities were “beyond the American mind to comprehend.” He ordered that every citizen of the town of Gotha personally tour the camp and, after having done so, the mayor and his wife went home and hanged themselves. Later on Ike wrote to Mamie, “I never dreamed that such cruelty, bestiality, and savagery could really exist in this world.” He cabled General Marshall to suggest that he come to Germany and see these camps for himself. He encouraged Marshall to bring Congressmen and journalists with him. It would be many months before the world would know the full scope of the Holocaust — many months before they knew that the Nazi murder apparatus that was being discovered at Buchenwald and dozens of other death camps had slaughtered millions of innocent people.

Read the entire account.

Most of the American, British, and Canadian forces having defeated the Germans were soon preparing to be transhipped to Asia to assist in the invasion of Japan, with the realism of veterans few expected to survive. But President Truman saved the allies perhaps one million casualties and possibly the entire population of Japan with his decision to drop the Atomic bomb.

Thus ended the war that Hitler had started on 17 Sept 1939, soon another and greater foe of liberty would arise in Europe, and the Allies would face that one down until it disappeared in 1990. Thus lending point to the old adage: “If you would have peace, prepare for war”.

American troops went on to occupation duty, soon General Patton at a review in Berlin would pronounce the 82d Airborne as ‘America’s Honor Guard’. In 1950, the Bundesrepublik Deutschland would be formed and would soon become the eastern bulwark of NATO, along with the Norwegians, British, Dutch, Italians, Turks, Canadians, and Americans. thus would freedom be sustained in western Europe and in God’s own time the Soviet Empire would fall, restoring freedom to all of Europe. The Americans and some British are still in Germany, no longer as an occupation force but, as an ally, and as a friend.

The result of the Second World War was thus the Liberation of Europe as a result of what was in Eisenhower’s term The Mighty Endeavor.

Thusly:

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

And so, as we face another dark time, this time not, as yet, on the battlefield it would a good time to recall the heroism and steadfastness of those whom we call our cousins: the British.


And now, Palm Sunday without the Extravagance

I was going to reprint as I often do on Palm Sunday, my post, Palm Sunday, Triumphalism and Leadership, but when well over a hundred of you have already found it in the last week, it seems a trifle superfluous. But because it’s message is timeless and may be more pertinent in this time of plague than even when I wrote it (2013), I will share a bit of it.

What can we learn from this? General Patton put it this way:

“For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of triumph, a tumultuous parade. . .

A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.”


We know that earthly glory is fleeting, who can recite the exploits of Edward Longshanks, or Frederick Barbarossa from memory. Sure we remember some of our founders but its only been a few generations, and we have been trained (some of us anyway) pretty well.

But what is different about the Christ, other than the Resurrection that is. Like most troublemakers through the ages he died a common criminals death. Think about that for a moment. Within a week he went from the darling of the populace, to an executed criminal, that’s quite a fall, in any time or place.

The other thing is: He never forgot the mission. What thoughts must have been in his mind on that long ago Palm Sunday, knowing, as he did, the fate that awaited him. But he never flinched, only prayed that this fate might be averted. He knew, as did his disciples and followers in coming times, that there would be many martyrs, Saints of the Faith, if you will. There will be many more. Christianity, even more than the Judaism from which it sprang, is the religion of the oppressed, the underdog, the person who never got a fair shake in this world, the sovereign individual made in God’s image. All you have to do is: Remember the Mission and take care of your people. The shepherd of the flock. And that is more than most of us can do consistently, without God’s help, because it is one of the most difficult missions ever entrusted.

Do not fall into the trap of triumphalism, earthly glory leads to nothing but trouble. I think most of us know this instinctively. What is the thing we remember about George W. Bush? He had many faults, which most conservatives can recite from memory. But, and it’s a huge but, he was a humble God-fearing man. To me, that is a lot of the difference between him and Barack Obama. Obama wants lives for the acclaim of the crowd, the earthly glory, one could easily call it the cult of personality.

And so the lesson for me from this Palm Sunday is the old one that the US Air Force taught me long ago and far away:

First the Mission

Second the People

Last Yourself.

That’s all very well, and I hope you read (or reread) it but there is a follow-up. Jessica wrote a piece that flowed from this article (as often happened with us, and is beginning to with Audre as well. It tends to strengthen both). Here’s what she said in Leaders and Non-Leaders.

One theme of this blog is the importance of leadership. Those of us who read today’s Gospel for Palm Sunday (though where I live it is more like Arctic Sunday, and we are dreaming of a white Easter) will have seen a perfect example of its absence – and the results.

Pontius Pilate was the prefect of Judea.  It wasn’t one of those top notch jobs, and like most Romans in such posts, Pilate had two priorities: keep things quiet and make money for himself.  The Romans were pragmatists. Gods? Heck, they had hundreds of them. So it was irritating that those Jews insisted there was only one of them. What was worse is they wouldn’t bend the knee to the gods of Rome. Live and let live was Pilate’s motto. He went to Judea in about AD 26, and had been there a few years when the Jews brought Jesus to him. He couldn’t see much wrong in the fellow, and he tried to find a way of avoiding blatant injustice. He was quite willing to have the fellow flogged, but crucifying him – that was another matter.

But there, blast it, went those Jews again. They wanted the fellow crucified. Pilate didn’t want any trouble, and you can almost hear him: “Come on guys, give us a bit of wriggle room here, the guy’s basically harmless, c’mon, cut me a bit of slack.” But they wouldn’t.  On the one side the pragmatic politician looking for a way through; on the other men who knew what they wanted and would stick at nothing to get it. If you didn’t know, you’d be able to tell who was going to get their way, and you’d not put money on the first guy.

Enter Mrs Pilate, telling him that she’s had a dream and that he should let the man be. That was all he needed, the little lady putting her oar in. Didn’t she realise he had enough trouble with those stiff-necked Jews?  Clearly not. Well, only one thing to do, wash his hands of it and let it be. And it all went off well in the end. There weren’t any riots, and although there were the strangest stories that the man had not died, it caused Pilate no problems for a bit. Politics is the art of the possible. You can see him afterward with Mrs P: “c’mon, what do you want? I did my best. Now what’s for supper, not more larks’ tongues?”

Small men, large events. Churchill said that in his father’s day there had been great men and small events, but during the Great War it had been the other way round. But really, we only see the real size of men when they are faced with great events. Cranmer just quoted some recently released papers from 1982 and the Falklands Crisis. Nearly every member of Mrs Thatcher’s Cabinet was for a quiet life and giving in. We remember none of them. She was for doing what was right. We remember her.

There’s a lesson in Pilate for us all – small men never get to grips with great events – and without vision the people perish.

And so we are seeing once again in our midst, the difference that leadership makes to the people. Jess is correct in quoting Proverbs that without vision the people perish. But perhaps we might remember the rest of the chapter, for it applies well today, I think.

Proverbs 29:18-27 King James Version (KJV)

18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

19 A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.

20 Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

21 He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.

22 An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.

23 A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

24 Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.

25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.

26 Many seek the ruler’s favour; but every man’s judgment cometh from the Lord.

27 An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.

Trying to Start a War?

So the Dimmocrats, who earn their name every day, want to confiscate your guns. Oh, they say they’ll buy them back, and if New Zealand’s recent experience is any guide, they’ll give you about a quarter of their value, and throw you in jail if you object. Ain’t tyranny wonderful?

Well confiscating the law-abiding citizen guns has been tried here before, of course. The last time was on April 19, 1775. The results weren’t promising, it started the Revolutionary War. I think that might be a bad precedent.

Maybe, just maybe, they should try enforcing the laws already on the books. If you don’t read blogs like Second City Cop, you have no idea just how frustrated the police are. What with the court putting murderers on the street on bail with an ankle monitor, and insanely short sentences if they bother to show up, it’s not hard to see why.

Then there is the evasion of their own responsibility, which we just saw with Mayor Lightfoot in Chicago and her attempt to blame Republicans in Indiana for Chicago’s self-imposed problems.

By the way, there were two, count ’em, two, mass shooting in Chicago over the Labor Day weekend. What’s that? You didn’t see that on TV? Neither did anybody else. It was black people killing black people, and thusly of no interest to the left. It never is, plantation violence is background noise. Nobody but the police even try to do anything about it, and they hamstring every effort to help.

But hey, your AR-15 will probably, all on its own, go out one night and shoot up the neighborhood. David Harsanyi at The Federalist has some thoughts as well.

And they do it without any evidence that it would curtail rare mass shootings or save lives.

While national confiscation would be unprecedented in American history, we already possess hard evidence that bans of assault rifles don’t alter gun violence trends. Gun homicides continued to drop steeply after an “assault weapons” ban expired in 2004. It’s also worth noting that in 2017, the last year of available FBI data, there was a near-historic low of 7,032 murders with handguns, and 403 by “rifles” of any kind, not only “assault weapons.”

To put that in perspective, there were 1,591 knife homicides during that same span, 467 people killed with blunt objects, and another 696 with fists and kicking. (Not every police department reports the type of gun used in homicides (3,096 of them), but it’s reasonable to believe that similar trends apply, since those murders took place in big cities where handguns are most prevalent.)

Although a number of Democrats now unequivocally support a “buyback,” no one has explained how the procedure is supposed to unfurl. What will the penalty be for ignoring the “buybacks”? Fines? Prison terms?

Will local police be tasked with opening case files on the 100 million homes of suspected gun owners who are armed with hundreds of millions of firearms, or will it be the FBI? Maybe Democrats will propose “paying back” family members and neighbors who snitch on gun owners? How else will they figure out who owns these AR-15s? There is no national tracking of sales.

And there won’t be. New Zealand, after it’s government’s stupid and panicked attempted buyback this year, has had to admit that they have no idea how many weapons there are in Kiwi land. Good, that’s how it should be.

And strangely enough, if you don’t care about legality, even in Britain, it seems not all that difficult to obtain guns, and unlike America, real military weapons, select-fire and all.

Well, they always could have listened to Churchill who commented that when you destroy a free market you create a black market.

Of course, even Churchill’s family caught the disease, I noticed yesterday that his grandson, Sir Christopher Soames, who has been in Parliament since 1983, I think, has lost the whip, and been deselected by the Conservative Party for reelection for wanting to remain a Euro-peon. Probably why you don’t hear much about the Churchills between John, first Duke of Marlborough and Lord Randolf, Sir Winston’s father. An easy and soft life doesn’t breed good leaders.

A Lying Execrable Plagiarist, and His Helpers at the Smithsonian

Like just about everybody else that knows anything about American history, I’ve fulminated about the crap (which is what Mitch Daniels, then Governor of Indiana and now President of Purdue called it when Zinn finally died) that is Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States which is not only bad history slanted far left  but full of  plagiarism, as the main link today tells us.

In any case, what brings this on is that The Smithsonian is sponsoring some seminars to help history teachers to lie (perhaps inadvertently) to their students by promoting Zinn’s execrable pseudohistory. Mary Grabar explains on The Federalist:

This semester, the Smithsonian Institution is helping. Teachers will learn new teaching strategies and receiving continuing education credits at two “teach-ins” — on Sept. 7 in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and on Sept. 28 in New York City.

Both “teach-ins” are efforts of our national museum, the Smithsonian, and D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice, “a project of Teaching for Change.” The invitation promises to feature “classroom resources for K-12 from Native Knowledge 360 [Degrees]” and from “the Zinn Education Project, including the campaign to abolish Columbus Day.”

The Zinn Education Project’s Infiltration

The Zinn Education Project is a nonprofit launched by one of Zinn’s former Boston University students who was taken in by the radical professor’s tales of derring-do in protesting the Vietnam War and, in spite of Zinn’s pro-communist rhetoric, had done quite well for himself as a capitalist.

The Zinn Education Project’s mission is to distribute materials from its namesake’s record-breaking best-seller, “A People’s History of the United States,” in the form of downloadable K-12 lessons on such topics as imperialismLatinxLGBTQsocial classprison uprisings, Black Lives Matter, reparations, and immigration. Zinn died in 2010, but these lessons are updated by his acolytes, such as Adam Sanchez, who, in a lesson titled “When Black Lives Mattered: Why Teach Reconstruction,” claims President Trump’s “racist rhetoric and policies have provided an increasingly encouraging environment for attacks on Black people and other communities of color.”

Our tax money at work, undermining the United States. Time to privatize the Smithsonian, and tax the hell out of it.

Many of you know that I fell in love with history when I was about eight years old. I happened to check out of the library with a biography of US Grant, and I was off.  By the time I graduated high school I probably had 150 or so books on history, lots of it military history. Those books burned with dad’s house,  and I’m still replacing some of them. But a lot of the reason is that I stumbled across some that knew how to tell a story, and yes, some were historical romances. But you know, those romances, interested me enough in some parts of history to follow up with real history,  Like the invasion of Quebec up the Kennebec River during the Revolution, or the life of William the Marshal, First Earl of Pembroke, and the man who actually made Magna Charta law. The absolute best for me was Bruce Catton on the American Civil War, but Winston Churchill on the First Duke of Marlborough wasn’t all that far behind. There were many others, and others have joined the list over the years.

The thing is, when my stepdaughter was in eighth grade,  she asked me for help with her history class. I tried to read the chapter in her book (I don’t know if it was Zinn’s, quite a while ago now) but I simply couldn’t force my way through it. It was both amazingly dry and badly written, and much of it was false: a political screed.

There is an antidote for Zinn’s crap. It is Wilfred M. McClay’s Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story. I’ve read many reviews of it, unless blinded by prejudice they are all outstanding, Here’s one from Amazon:

“This book is the antidote to abysmal levels of historical knowledge our high school graduates possess. History bores them; the textbooks are dreary; lessons play up guilt and identity politics. It turns them off. They want powerful tales and momentous events, genuine heroes and villains, too―an accurate but stirring rendition of the past. This is Bill McClay’s Land of Hope, a superb historian’s version of the American story, in lively prose spiced with keen analysis and compelling drama. Every school that assigns this book will see students’ eyes brighten when the Civil War comes up, the Progressive Era, the Depression, civil rights . . . The kids want an authentic, meaningful heritage, a usable past. McClay makes it real.”
― Mark Bauerlein, author of The Dumbest Generation

Yes, it’s on my list, and thankfully nearing the top of it. To be honest, I have other interests,  like eating, that subtracts more than I like from my book budget. Especially if you have kids, but for yourself as well – buy this book, borrow it from a friend, check it out of the library, whatever – read it.

Before the Dumbest Generation destroys the country we love.

Too small? Or a Leadership Deficit.

The Week asks the question, is the Royal Navy too small to deal with the Iranian threat.

The Royal Navy is too small to counter the potential threat from Iran, the defence minister has admitted.

Tobias Ellwood told The Times: “The threats we’re facing are changing in front of us, the world is getting more complex. If we are wanting to continue to play this influential role on the international stage it will require further funding for our armed forces, not least the Royal Navy. Our Royal Navy is too small to manage our interests across the globe.”

The Guardian says the British government is facing accusations it had “failed to sufficiently guard its shipping in the Gulf.”

The Independent says the crisis has “roiled UK politics” ahead of a “potentially contentious week” in which Boris Johnson is likely to take over as prime minister from Theresa May.

Well, OK, even Sir Humphrey at PinstripedLine sort of concurs.

The first thing to take away is not to sit there and feel despondency that the RN ‘only’ has one frigate in the region. Other than the US, no other nation has warships permanently based in the Gulf region. To act as if the RN has failed for doing something that practically no one else can do is a uniquely British characteristic.

The harsh reality is that had the tanker had flown the flag of convenience of any other state, then it is likely that said country would not have had an escort anywhere near the Gulf on the day of the incident. The RN may ‘only’ have one vessel permanently based in the region, but that’s one more than most other navies. Perspective matters here.

The RN force in the Gulf has remained relatively static for decades in its structure and size. Back in the 80s it averaged 3-4 escorts supported by a tanker and store ship. Humphreys instinct is that the reason for this slightly larger force was to provide mutually complementary air defence capabilities in a time when RN vessels had more specialised roles (e.g. the so-called 42/22 combo) and needed to work together to deliver the effect. This period also saw a reliance on the use of Mombasa as the main support base, meaning a long passage off station, reducing the number of vessels in the Gulf.

By contrast more modern vessels not only have more effective and mutually complementary weapon systems (compare a Type 23 to an Exocet Leander for example), but they are also able to rely on facilities more locally for support (e.g. Bahrain).

The actual force numbers have remained remarkably constant for decades now – with an average of 1-2 escorts in the Gulf region on an enduring basis. The real change has been the move to a permanently based frigate in the region, rather than overlapping deployments, which has increased ship availability, but reduced the number of RN hulls transiting into, and out of, the region. The overall effect delivered is broadly similar but delivered in a different way.

Suggestions that defence cuts have left the RN without enough ships in the Gulf then are wide of the mark. The RN escort force in the region has been consistent in its size and capability for decades, regardless of wider defence cuts – the RN choosing to prioritise the region over other areas to ensure a continuous presence. Perhaps a bigger challenge than force size is the problem of distances for the force.

Later on, he says this:

What matters now is the safe release of the crew and the continued safety of the Royal Navy crew in the region. Let us keep this foremost in our minds as they once again sail difficult waters and conduct challenging operations to keep this nation safe where the tactical actions of (often very young and very junior) personnel will have strategic consequences. There is no doubt though that once again our nation’s finest people will rise to the challenge admirably.

Well yeah, that is perhaps important, but somehow I doubt that Drake or Nelson would be excited by this dry bureaucratese. I find myself agreeing with CBD over at Ace’s, it ain’t the number of ships, it’s the men (and women) commanding them.

It’s not the size of the Royal Navy, it’s the size of Britain’s balls that’s the problem.

Is the Royal Navy too small to deal with Iranian threat?

Tobias Ellwood told The Times: “The threats we’re facing are changing in front of us, the world is getting more complex. If we are wanting to continue to play this influential role on the international stage it will require further funding for our armed forces, not least the Royal Navy. Our Royal Navy is too small to manage our interests across the globe.”

The issue isn’t the size and reach of the Royal Navy; it has been shrinking for years. The issue is that the United Kingdom has been emasculated by its elites, who would rather kowtow to the maniacal SJWs and cultivate voting blocs within immigrant populations than defend the culture and history of their country. The result is a country without a core; one that is unwilling to defend itself even in response to a direct and obvious provocation from a country that is reeling from sanctions and is lashing out at the world.

I have no doubt whatsoever of that being true. It’s true here as well. but not as badly. The elites/ globalists or whatever you wish to call them, want us all to be what Malvina Reynolds described so well back in 1962:

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,1
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there’s doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

Well, those people aren’t going to make Britain great again. The Brits, like the Americans, built the joint against great odds. And none of the people she described in the song are going to use Nelson’s Telescope, let along go against the standing orders to win the battle that would win Britain supremacy for a century. This is the navy that once executed an admiral for not engaging aggressively enough but now sold to middle management who only know how to tick the boxes.

But that’s not strictly a naval problem, it is the base problem with HMG, which has sold itself to the EU, and their gray dull, masters only want subservience. It a formula for losing and losers. England Expects Better. They deserve it too.

And there is the real task that Boris (and Trump) have each undertaken. And it needs the stamp “ACTION THIS DAY

Eighty Years On

Yesterday was the 80th anniversary of the Munich agreement, where Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister of the UK essentially ceded the Sudetenland, a German heritage area (and vital to the defense of Czechoslovakia) to Adolph Hitler.

I have more sympathy for Chamberlin than most do. My analysis says that if Britain (and France) had gone to war in 1938, they would have lost. The British rearmament was just gearing up, and the things that would save Britain in 1939 were not available in 1938.

What has come down to us though, is that it is always unwise to appease a totalitarian. That is often true. It probably was in the case of Gulf War 1, the second Iraq war is not nearly as clear.

There are cases coming up, mostly in the intersections between Russia, China, and Iran in the Eurasian landmass, where like trying to save Czechoslovakia, it might be clearly an overstretch for the United States to interfere.

That does not mean that we must sit back and allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, or colonize a goodly chunk of the near east.

We too have our vital interests, centering on keeping the maritime trade routes open, and our allies, most of whom, other than Israel are parts of Oceania. One can even make this case for Britain, itself, although what we would have in times past called Christendom, roughly western Europe, is also a vital American interest.

There’s an interesting discussion of this here.

But our own, overriding vital interest is the freedom and liberty of Americans, nothing at all may be allowed to interfere with this interest. Compared to this, all other interests are secondary

In a sense, America holds the ring, keeping the Eurasian conflict confined to Eurasia.

We need to see clearly what is, and what is not, in our vital interest. As Russia and China also recognize, nuclear war is in nobody’s interest, the problem arises with rogue states like Iran and North Korea, who may not understand that calculus, which is why we need to stop them from obtaining nuclear weapons because it is not a given that deterrence will work with them. That is one of America’s most vital interests.

Perhaps these or similar thoughts inspired my friend, the Administrator of All along the Watchtower (and inactive editor here) Chalcedon 451 to recall to us (in a Tweet) a post of his, which has much relevance for us.

[…]In the end, politics is a second order activity. As the third Marquis of Salisbury once said: ‘God is love and the world is what it is. Explain that?’ The answer is that we are a fallen species. At best we can produce Michaelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and St. Francis; at worse, we produce Attila, Alexander Borgia and Hitler. We have the instincts of angels, and of demons. St Paul knew, as our faith knows, that left to ourselves we will veer off and like the dog return to its vomit. Original Sin is the one dogma that can be proven from our own experience of ourselves.

Politics can cure relatively few of our ills. At best there are some good people there who wish to make a difference to the lives of their fellows; the problem comes when they take the short cut of using the resources of others to fulfil that purpose. The intention is good, but the State is not a person and it is generally a mistake to allow its cold charity to replace the instincts of the human heart. It is best if politicians remember they are merely instruments in God’s hand and do not imagine they are that hand, or even God himself. In an era when faith in God is less, it was replaced by faith in politicians and the State; we are coming to the end of the short era in which that appeared to be a viable option to even the politicians.

People want to be told things are going to be all right in the end; children always want a good night story which ends well. That is not how life is. It is easy, tempting and inevitable that I should end by saying we need a Churchill. But we ought to recall that for the whole of the 1930s he was ignored and in the wilderness. The new democracy did not wish to be lectured or told that all was not going to be well. It wanted to believe that there would be ‘peace in our time’; it wanted to believe that Hitler was not evil in human form; it wanted, and got, its good night story. It also reaped the whirlwind.

‘Blood, toils, tears and sweat’, that was what Churchill promised us in 1940. That same democracy which had wanted pretty lies, woke up and took the truth on the chin. Our politicians are wrong to underestimate our capacity for hearing the truth spoken; as they are to underestimate our need for fairy stories.

From Conservatism, and you should read the rest even though I have presumed to grab more than I should.

There is a lot packed into those short paragraphs, and they are valid for us all. As we reflect on what the last eighty years have taught us, I think Chalcedon’s message strikes quite close to the heart of several of history’s messages to us.

The Psalmist reminds us:

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:

That is good advice for us all.

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