The big news is yesterday's letter of support by 8 European countries of American policy towards Iraq. I read the various news site and blogs and I must say that I was annoyed by the gloating triumphalism by the American bloggers. My reaction remains are you contented because the 8 European countries' regard America as the world's lighthouse or because those countries share a like minded commitment to open societies, respect for human right and market oriented economy? In fact, I was disgusted by the term axis of vassals. Unfortunately in the modern European languages vassal connotes an prejudicial image of someone who swears allegiance in exchange for protection. As if those Europea supporters' can't take care of their own interest and their respective militaries are thugs in uniform rather than the patrotic professional soldiers they are.
Another irritating trend is the glee in French and German bashing. There's among the American conflating of Chirac and Shroeder as if they were the State. Yet that's a rather curious attitude to take especially when a member of the French National Assembly wrote an op ed article whose tone is indistinguishable to that letter
With respect to the famous letter, it seems that neither France or Germany were given a copy. So it's kinda facile to bash the French and German governments if they didn't sign something that was never presented to them. Makes me conclude that the snubbing was a calculated ploy to humiliate the French and Germans. A dumb move because excluding them will only harden their reclacitrance and defeat any reasonable discussion on why Western Europe as qua a region of democratic states is worth defending.
The French bashing continues. This time it's the string of military defeats that France has supposedly suffered over the course of the past 2 millenia. Unfortunately, there's one war that France didn't quite lose: the War of the Spanish succession. Louis XIV accomplished his strategic goal: a Bourbon- his great grandson Philip of Anjou- not the British Hapsburgian candidate Carlos became King of Spain.
Thanks to British who pursued their its own national interest they screwed the Catalans who've had to tolerate 250 years of constant denigration until 1978. I'm also so fed up with the Anglophone bloggers who constantly rave about how moral the Anglosphere is compared to everyone else. Really? Then care to explain the Asiento? The Brits coveted the Spanish slave trade like government lusts after our money through taxes. The British empire and English industry sure benefitted from the Asiento; I suppose it's a backhanded sort of tribute that the British repudiated the slave trade on moral grounds but not until their Industrial revolution was well on its way and the slaves suddenly became both an unwanted capital expenditure and a threat to the bottom line when you could hire the displaced farmhands booted out by the enclosures.
To get back to military defeats. How come the Anglophone bloggers glide over Singapore? It was Britian's most shameful, humiliating, disgraceful defeat. On part with June 1940 but pale in comparison to Dien Bien Phu or Algeria. Singapore was an object lesson in imbecility, stupidity and sheer incompetence at how to defend a city from am invading force. The British army was pretty lazy during the pre-war period in East Asia. The troops never trained in jungle warfare, didn't acclimatized to the conditions; the officers viewed the Far east as a quaint tropical posting not much different from the Carribian. So best to spend time at the officer's club that training the men; that's what the lieutenants and sergeant majors are for.
The unpreparedness in Singapore was tactical stupidity that not even the French committed in 1940. The resulting defeat unraveled Britian's strategic position so thoroughly in the Far east that the empire pretty much ended. The most galling part of the defeat in Singapore was that had the Brits defeated the invading Japanese force, I bet the Far eastern colonies would've evolved in the same manner the Anglo-Carribian countries and the cold war wouldn't have posed the challenge that it did in that part of the world. Malaysia, Signapore, and points in between would've been a British lake. The cold war would've been far easier in that region that it was.