Thursday, February 22, 2007

The USA's slick new marketing campaign (UPDATED)

This one really threw me off for a while:

This was apparently created as part of a campaign to combat rising anti-Americanism in the UK and elsehwere in Europe. I hate to be a spoilsport, but I have to argue with the some of the "history" presented here--if there were no America, would everything else have proceeded exactly the same way except with right-wing-talking-point-friendly side effects?

Just a thought: if America never existed, there might have never been a French Revolution, so no Napoleonic Wars, no dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, no Franco-Prussian War, no World War I, and therefore no World War II in which the Soviets could liberate Paris first. That may be going a bit far, so let me slow things down a little.

If there were no America during World War I, but otherwise everything else was the same, how long would the Allies and Central Powers continue slugging it out on the Western Front? It has been suggested that, without U.S. intervention on the Allies' behalf in 1917, the war in the west might have eventually ended in a draw of sorts. Here is one interesting scenario:

In World War I, America remained strictly neutral until the beginning of unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917. To this, America had to respond, but as the President pointed out, this did not commit America to taking part in the disastrous ground war being fought on the French frontier. Instead, a vigorous and ruthless naval campaign was carried out against both German submarines and surface vessels, whether civilian or military. At the same time America’s scientific establishment cam into action, developing a sonar device as early as 1919 and effectively ending attacks on American vessels. Without American intervention, neither side could prevail, and in 1921, with both Germany and France physically and financially exhausted, and threatened from within by Communist revolution, the Western Powers concluded a peace treaty that left matters substantially as they had been in 1914. Without the indignity of military occupation or the vindictive conditions of an imposed peace, including vast “reparations” from the defeated, radical right-wing German parties could gain little traction; an obscure agitator called Hitler was killed in a beer garden brawl in 1937.

My point is simply that nothing about history is pre-ordained (a point I've tried to make in earlier posts) and that hindsight is 20/20.

All the same, it is kind of nice to have the UK stumping for us, isn't it? USA! USA!


It occurred to me that it sort of sounds like I'm saying that, without America, there would not have been any war for the past 200 years. There certainly would have been wars, just not the same ones. The Crimean War may have occurred unchanged without a US, as well as the Russo-Japanese War. A lot of things would have been different, though, and "better" or "worse" is hard to say. I'm inclined to say worse, though.

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