Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Incredible Shrinking British Empire

"The Sun never sets on... oh never mind!"

Pretty soon now, Americans will no longer be confused by what to call what used to be the "British Empire."  Is it "The UK" or "Great Britain" or "England"?  We get confused and the Brits get all huffy about it.   Well, traditionally, England was just part of the United Kingdom which included Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.   And technically, the UK is part of a greater Commonwealth of Nations, at least in theory.

But with Brexit now a thing, and Scottish Independence all but assured, it is only time before Northern Ireland and Wales jump ship.  The Queen of England will be... the Queen of England.  Balmoral castle in Scotland will be up for sale 

And we can now interchangeably use the terms GB, UK, and England and much confusion will be avoided.  A few spelling errors to correct and of course driving on the wrong side thing fixed, and it will be a lot simpler for us Americans to deal with the "English" (once they learn to speak English, of course!).  Jolly Good Fun!

"Your pitiful little island hasn't even been threatened!" - Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
Maybe not then, but this time around?  Easy pickings.

What is the deal with the Incredible Shrinking British Empire?  This is part of a nationalist trend that Vladmir Putin is watching with glee.  The Spanish may divide up into three countries, including the Basque region and Catalonia.   Scotland and Wales are gearing up for their own defections and reviving their centuries-old tongues.   Each part of Europe is dividing up into smaller and smaller chunks.  Czechoslovakia is now Czech and Slovakia (which is different from Slovenia, of course!).   We are going back to a map that is not only pre-WWI but almost harks back to the middle ages.

So sad, to me, as all of these countries and regions are great, and it will be sad to see them fight amongst themselves.   We can only hope it does not devolve into civil war.

The only thing we need now are the "great crowned heads of Europe" to come back.   Well, that might be next!   Make Europe Great Again!

The theory behind these divisions is one that is being bandied about here at home.   Strong central governments - or even weak ones like the EU - are seen as autocratic and not catering the needs of local citizens.  Why not secede from your country and start out anew?   It is something that several provinces of Canada seem keen on, too - particularly the Quebecois.

Of course we tried this here in the States, nearly 150 years ago with mixed results.   Actually, it was the bloodiest war we fought, killing more people than all other wars we have been in, combined.   It was a bloodbath akin to World War I, which is something Europeans might be able to grasp.   And what started World War I?  Lots of tiny little countries all hating each other and arming to the teeth and agreeing by treaty to defend each another.  It was a war about nothing.  It was stupidity on the highest order.

It is a nightmare that could repeat itself.   Putin is counting on it.   And it is not that Putin wants to invade France like Hitler did, but merely get back his satellite states like Hungary, Poland, Czech and Slovakia.   And Slovenia, and Latvia (upper and lower!) and all the tiny bits of Yugoslavia, including Montenegro.  This would give Russia the buffer it wants between them and the West, as well as access to markets and raw materials.

So they foment these divisive elements in European countries - and even here in America, which is what is driving the Trump vote, nationalism, and divisiveness.   Brexit will be a disaster for the UK but a Godsend for Putin.   Useful idiots in "England" don't realize that the Polish are not the enemy, the Russians are.   And the Russians have no qualms about murdering people, right on British streets.  They feel that emboldened.

But people don't see that.  They only see their little corner of the world, their culture, their home town, and think that it would be swell to divest themselves from the rest of their country.   What they fail to realize is why countries were founded in the first place - to group together in a common good to defend against outside invaders.  It started with city-states and progressed from there.   If you don't unite under a common banner, you end up fodder for the country that does.

The Italians learned this during the Renaissance.   If you don't unite Italy under one banner, then you better learn French.  Or maybe German.   Today, maybe Russian.  Because once Europe is fractured and squabbling and divided and NATO is weakened, Russia has literally nothing to lose by invading some countries it wants to have.   And in fact has already done so.  Remember the Crimea and how no one raised a finger when the Russians took it over?

You think Putin will stop there?   You think America will protect you?  Think again.   America won't risk nuclear war with Russia, even if our military is far larger and more powerful than theirs.  And the reason why is in this graph:

Mutually Assured Destruction is still a thing, my friend!

So enjoy your little cultural enclaves and tiny divided and defenseless countries.  But don't expect the US of A to intervene a third time (or fourth, if you count the cold war) to waste men and material for countries that have no clue as to how lucky they are to be free in the first place.

Good Bye!  Good Luck!  Good God!