The Whining Begins

If you thought the presidential campaign lasts too long, you can add to it the quadrennial whining from abroad, of which Simon Heffer seems to have the first sob:

I doubt we shall be much the wiser on Friday about who will be the next president of the United States, but we can be forgiven for expressing relief that this international spectator sport is now under way. Only 10 more months and it will be over.

Many Britons will feel it would be rather nice to have a vote, too. Well, maybe not a whole vote: I would settle for one worth 50 per cent of those cast by American citizens.

After all, since we are a strategic colony of the US, it would be nice to have even a marginal say in how the empire chooses to dispose our goodwill and our blood and treasure. Such considerations were explicit in the founding of the US, and what’s sauce for the goose…

Why should any of this matter to us? From this side of the Atlantic, most of the differences between the candidates seem to consist in how they would handle domestic policy – whether they would expand health care for the poor, or allow an amnesty for illegal immigrants, or how they would tackle America’s growing economic woes.

The last of those, of course, impacts upon us: the sub-prime loans crisis will long be used by Gordon Brown to excuse what in some part has been his own derelict economic management.

Yet in foreign affairs, and precisely because it is such a sensitive matter in America, the potential presidents are all sounding alarmingly similar…

We say to Mr. Heffer and all the others with the same plaint: kindly go get stuffed.

The reason the UK is a “strategic colony” of the U.S. is because of your own fecklessness in the 20th century. Is it our fault that Britain, once the workshop of the world, is now an innovative backwater? Is it our fault that the Royal Navy, which once ruled the waves, is now down to the Royal Yacht and a dinghy? Is it our fault your nation chose to spend all the money on a health system that now blames its patients if they get sick and will refuse to treat them?

The UK and Europe have made their choices. They exert no real power because that’s the path they traveled down. They’ve left it to the U.S. to spend the money and make the sacrifices to do the “hard power” things while they’ve let loose the tranzi “soft power” goo that makes our tasks that much harder. When did we get to vote on that?

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