Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Gee, I Wish We Had One Of Them Doomsday Machines

Not one or two, but three utterly deranged opinion blahs at the Telegraph today, each perfectly insane in its own particular way but each carrying much the same message: the West has yet again shown despicable weakness by not blowing even more shit up.

Well, let us note that what underlies all this spectacularly homoerotic talk of Strength and Will and Courage  is neither anger nor regret, but jealousy

All of these mocking invocations of Britain's "weedy fist" or its "weakness" - "the weakness within us all", no less - or Barack Obama's "adolescent sass" and (ahem) his "small stick"... 

...Are placed in odd proximity to talk of Vladimir Putin as "the strongest leader among the world powers", with his Flexing Military Muscles and so on.  He's a martial-arts proficient former KGB colonel, don't you know.

Why, just look at those pecs.  Mmm.

Now, all these jokers would flat-out deny man-crushing on the hunky Butcher of Grozny like teenage girls at a One Direction show.  Call me an amateur psychologist if you will but in their Scrappy-Doo routines, I detect unspoken demands for enlargement pumps and Viagra, motivated by stark terror that the Russkie is just plain waving a bigger wang.

Telegraph writers are hardly alone these days in swooning over a rugged man of action in a smart set of epaulletes, but we should note that this desire to condemn all Britain's metrosexuals who are so thoroughly gaying-up our proudly martial nature springs from much the same urges as the very ones that put a glowering, tiger-blasting, secret agent stripogram on the Russian throne.

No doubt this craving for "strong leadership" has always been part of our national character and God knows, there was enough of it around back when e.g. Chris Hitchens was lusting sweatily after the firm western will to beat off contain the Iranian Mullahs, or whatever.

Still, it's been spurting forth in hilarious profusion ever since Labour decided that they didn't want to fling a bunch of aimless rockets at Damascus.  You could argue that that vote represented actual democracy, I suppose, and I tend to see our fractious and bickering behaviour as one of our better qualities.

Plainly however, to guys like Coughlin and Hodges, our much-remarked fecklessness and our temporarily wussified, murder-phobic politics need to be reined in, channeled and directed by more forceful men.

Consider the broader phenomenon: when mainstream figures criticise NATO, is it not almost always on grounds of insufficient belligerence?  Don't we routinely hear complaints of European unwillingness to plough arseloads of cash into the construction of a massive, throbbing military machine to match the meat of the manly Americans, so that we can all then thrash some sense into whomever?

That's always struck me as strange.  For a Treaty Organisation from the North Atlantic specifically aimed at countering Russia, its fans don't half spend a lot of time complaining that it doesn't look and act enough like the Warsaw Pact. 

Anyway, all of this strikes me as a bizarrely militaristic, if not comically totalitarian, impulse to direct against actually-existing thugocracies such as Russia or threatening phantasms like the ever-incipient but never quite solidifying Caliphate.  Ironic, even.

But you know, I would say that, being the huge quivering pinko that I am.


organic cheeseboard said...

This reminds me of the Martin Amis line on radical Islam - 'the thing about this minority view in Islam is that the freedom of the West is hateful, so what the West should do with all Muslims, not just the Islamists, is to actively discriminate against them and curtail their freedom - that'll teach "them" to hate our freedom!'

That Dan Hodges piece is awful:

Afghanistan is now seen as a costly mistake.

Is this true? I think most got behind that invasion - I did, more or less, (though I was a bit of a Decent in those days).

Iraq at best a catastrophe, at worst a war crime.

Even cheerleaders of the Iraq war surely can't ignore the fact that it was a catastrophe? Isn't that the Decent line - that the planning was dreadful and that terrorists are bad?

Libya, to the extent anyone remembers or comments on that action at all, an eccentric aberration.

I do find it funny that Decents like Hodges don't talk about Libya more. They seem to ignore it far more than anti-war types. I wonder why that could be.

On Libya - I've said this several times but still - surely Libya, which after all Russia and China approved, is a key reason behind Russian actions now, as opposed to Syria (in fact it's surely one of the reasons they vetoed military action in Syria). What Libya demonstrated was, if there were any lingering doubts, that Western military intervention is not about protecting civilians but about regime change, and fuck the consequences thereafter.

Lying behind all of this bleating about Britain being 'isolationist' is surely the unpleasant truth - the reason why British people are reluctant to approve military interventions is that the track record in the last 10 years has been so fucking awful. When the population hasn't been actively lied to for months leading up to it, it's seen protracted conflicts with ridiculous aims that are more or less unplanned, leading to hundreds of casualties for very little return.

ejh said...

it doesn't look and act enough like the Warsaw Pact

Don't think they'd fancy it, actually. As far as I can see the Warsaw Pact only ever invaded one country, which was one of its own members.

Anonymous said...

"Lying behind all of this bleating about Britain being 'isolationist' is surely the unpleasant truth - the reason why British people are reluctant to approve military interventions is that the track record in the last 10 years has been so fucking awful."

That and the fact that, apparently, we have to keep on making shows of strength over and over again to be credible.

This "Iraq casts a long shadow" chatter (of which there has been a lot lately) fails to engage with why the invasion of Iraq does cast such a long shadow. The people who mis-sold the invasion are obviously not sorry and they obviously don't care that it was such a strategic mistake (except as an excuse to meddle in Syria to counteract the increased influence of Iran). Why should the public agree to any other military adventure while these people are still in politics or writing newspaper columns?


organic cheeseboard said...

well yeh, and the fact that these 'non-interventions which demonstrate our weakness' are so often chosen seemingly on a whim. so not intervening in Syria demonstrated our weakness, but not intervening in Bahrain or Egypt (or Venezuela?) demonstrated, um, what exactly?

Dunc said...

Do these mentalists not realise that it's Russian gas that's keeping the lights on all across Europe?