Tuesday, December 14, 2004

It's history Jim, but not as we know it...

I hesitate to open on a note that may contain a hint of snarkiness, finger-wagglery or bitchification, but I think it's fair to state from the beginning that when and if military history becomes the subject of a treatment on these pages, the characterisations employed will be slightly more precise than this
It was therefore natural that Europe would define itself in contradistinction to the United States, which it characterized as a living fossil from the age of power politics, a survival from the Stone Age of civilization. What they had forgotten, Kagan pointed out, was that the foundations of the continental miracle were rooted in the greatest military campaign of the twentieth century: the defeat of European fascism by the United States.


Naively I had been labouring under the illusion that a highly unpleasant Communist dictatorship and an island of tea-drinking imperialists had something to do with the proceedings. I am pleased to discover that this was not in fact the case and that the fevered nightmares from which I wake screaming on a nightly basis may now end.

The Hunting of the Snark

While on such topics I may as well raise the case of this article by Victor Davis Hanson in the National Review. I have no particular wish to savage the piece on its own terms as in many ways it's an amusing read and a provocative analogy. I also won't hear a word against VDH as a year or so ago he responded to a critical email of mine with a lengthy, detailed and generous email of his own in which he managed the formidable juggling act of not treating me as though I were a drooling idiot while simultaneously making abundantly clear that he was thoroughly unconvinced by my argument (it was on "new" Europe and the future of German-American relations if you were wondering...). So he's down on my list as one of the good guys. I mention the article only because, somewhat ironically, when I was watching the Two Towers at the cinema I was searching for analogies from the 1930s and World War 2 to apply to the various character groups and races and I have to say that I did feel on balance that the Ents were America pre-Pearl Harbour. I hope that you will be so entranced by the whimsy of this juxtaposition that you will overlook the fact that this clearly flags me up as the most unrelentingly anal personality type imaginable.




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