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Thursday, July 28, 2011
The superpower in 1812 was the UK. The United States had some controversial readings of maritime law that caused it to (stupidly) declare war on the UK to defend these controversial readings. Long story short, the US got her ass kicked, Washington, D.C., including the Whitehouse, was burned to the ground, and President Madison (or "Mad"-ison, ha) had to flee in exile. Why was not this the end of the story? Well, because the UK was dealing with Napoleon at the same time, so had to fight the War of 1812 with one hand tied behind her back. In 1814 (or thereabouts) the UK had finished her war with Napoleon. Now "Mad"ison was stupid, but not that stupid. He knew that if Washington could be taken over by a half-hearted war effort on the part of the UK, he knew that now that Napoleon was dealt with, he would have no chance if the war continued. He sent James Monroe, his Secretary of State, to Paris to sue (read: beg) for peace, and the UK, tired of conflict, agreed, with the maritime laws EXACTLY as they were before the conflict. The US had won nothing other than an "opportunity" to re-build the Whitehouse. It was the worst defeat in American history, worse even than Vietnam. It is something not taught in American schools, but the facts remain, nevertheless. The US picked on someone bigger, and got beat, and paid the consequences thereof, and the worst part was its reasons to begin with were dubious at best.
Of course, in more recent memory, the UK and the US share a better history, not least with respect to WWII, in which they worked together to defeat the greatest evil that ever was, and hopefully ever will be, Nazi Germany.
Unfortunately, however, the same hubris which impelled the US to the losing 1812 War remains, all these years later. The Tea Party run GOP is about to force the nation into default for reasons ranging from hating old people and poor people to hating the fact that an African-American person is President. If the President envokes his constitutional right to raise the debt ceiling without the permission of Congress, it is very likely the GOP Congress will impeach him, something they have wanted to do all along, taking unfortunately the word "Whitehouse" a bit too literally.
I hope some last-minute deal will be worked out, but right now I am not optimistic. The United States will go into default, the global stock markets will crash as a result, and a Great Depression, not a Recession will ensue. The President might try to work around Congress to avoid this, and if he does, he will be impeached. He will have done the right thing, and will be impeached as a result. He will technically be impeached for overstepping executive privilege or whatever but really he will be impeached for PWB ("President while Black") and every reasonable person knows that.
The debt is a real issue. And guess what, the answer is a combination of spending cuts and tax increases on those who can afford it. David Cameron, the Conservative PM of the UK, has a 3 - 1 plan on this (3 times spending cuts times 1 tax increases). That is the conservative plan. However, the US no longer has any "conservative" notions. They simply want to wreck the US and global economy simply because of resentment over an African-American President. Sad, but true.
How does this relate to 1812? Two reasons. For one, the "conservative" idea of keeping government in check but still functioning is manifested by the Cameron government, not the US government, anymore. Secondly, on a more sweeping note, if the US defaults on its debt, thereby triggering a new Great Depression, it will no longer be "king of the hill" and the only country left to pick up the pieces of the global economy will be the UK. And this will be the fault of arrogant people who put ideology over pragmatism, who put their pet peeves over the well-being of the people.
Mr. Cameron, the Free World may now be in your hands, since the idiots in Washington have self-destructed the United States. Please, take good care of it, since you might be the only person standing between the current generation and "a new Dark Age".
American stupidity has come to this at last. So-called "conservatives" want to destroy the world economy just to undermine a President who is not of the right skin color. I am all for deficit reduction. But it must be a shared sacrifice. Not a "screw the poor and protect the tax loopholes for big business" sort of platform that the GOP now advocates. As Andrew Sullivan might say, there is nothing "conservative" about the current GOP. They are simply anarchists. Who have finally demoted us from "Leader of the Free World" status.
Again, I hope the Cameron coalition can do better, for now, the Free World rests in its hands.
Excuse me while I dump all my stocks, and shore up for the long, GOP-anarchist-made winter.
- Sometime engineer, amateur pundit, amateur actor, amateur poet, cosmology and biology enthusiast, aspiring computational complexity theorist, sometime critic, part New Deal Democrat, part Realist, part Empiricist, not above the occasional employment of mythical references for the sake of description in a sort of Ursula Goodenough-esque sort of way, a theological mix between religious naturalism, Humanistic Judaism, and what one might call a Lacan/Zizecian ontological incompletism, politically liberal, socially left, fiscally becoming more left as the days go by, believer in free and fair trade, a "Rent"-head, also a "Wicked"-head, conneisseur of Armani, Louis Vuitton, sushi, fish tacos, lobster, Lovecraft, Barbara Streisand, Elton John, in short, one at home in the modern, ill-at home in the post-modern, and decidedly forlorn in the pre-modern
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