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Boris Johnson Is as Incompetent as General Haig at the Somme
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On 1 July 1916, the British Army attacked the German front line on the Somme in an ill-planned and over-ambitious offensive. Advancing soldiers were slaughtered by machine guns and artillery fire as they tried to struggle through unbroken barbed wire. The battle was to go on for 141 days, but on the first day alone the British suffered 57,470 casualties, including 19,240 dead.

The man primarily responsible for the greatest disaster in British military history was General Sir Douglas Haig, whose over-optimistic planning under-estimated enemy strength and ignored lessons to be drawn from failures in earlier battles. Inspired by wishful thinking, Haig assured sceptical subordinates that the British would soon break the German line and he had five cavalry divisions waiting to exploit their victory.

A little over a century later, Boris Johnson has been facing the equivalent of a war in combating the Covid-19 epidemic. As with Haig at the Somme, he has shown over-confidence and poor judgement during the battle, leading to Britain suffering a greater loss of life than it might have under a more competent leader.

Nobody knows how many more British soldiers would have survived if Haig had not been the ultimate decision maker at the Somme, but in Johnson’s case one can be more precise about his lethal influence. On 29 May, the former chief scientific adviser to the government, Sir David King, said that, “40,000 excess deaths could have been avoided if the government had reacted responsibly”. It locked down late, lifted restrictions too early, haphazardly ignored expert advice, and failed to learn from mistakes made during the first wave of the epidemic in the spring. It thereby guaranteed that there would be a second wave of infection, as bad or worse than anything experienced earlier in the year.

“I don’t have sympathy for the government making the same mistake twice,” says a scientist on the Sage advisory committee, quoted in a report by The Sunday Times Insight team. “We told them quite clearly what they needed to do for it [the lockdown] to work…They don’t do that. It has been wishful thinking all the way.” The report estimates that Johnson’s refusal, contrary to the views of the most senior members of his own government, to introduce stricter measures in September had already led to between 7,000 and 13,000 additional deaths by mid-December.

The latter figure is increasing by the day and is likely to jump sharply because of a loosening of restrictions during Christmas, something that could have been avoided if Sage’s firm advice for a “circuit-breaking” lockdown on 21 September had not been rejected by Johnson at the last moment. The estimate for excess deaths in Britain caused by government failings during the first and second waves of the epidemic now total about 50,000 people, adding together the estimates from Sir David King and The Sunday Times report, a number that will inevitably increase in the coming months.

The stellar career paths of both men towards high office, despite a notable lack of ability and accomplishment in each case, is a depressing illustration of the unchanging grip on power of the British social elite. Unsurprisingly, Johnson and Haig have personality traits and patterns of behaviour shaped by their upbringing and geared to furthering their ambitions. These include complete self-confidence stemming from a sense of entitlement and great skill in gaining and keeping power, though in my opinion, not in using it.

Another part of this skills set is the ability to control subordinates who may have greater abilities and knowledge than their boss. In the battle of the Somme, the organisation of the offensive was in the hands of General Sir Henry Rawlinson, the commander of the 4th Army, who had strong misgivings about Haig’s unrealistic plan to break right through the German front line.

But Haig over-awed Rawlinson, whom he had saved from the sack after he had made a mistake in an earlier battle. He therefore went along with his commander-in-chief’s deluded views, even when he knew they were likely to produce failure. Johnson has a similar controlling relationship with his cabinet.

Not sacking ministers and subordinates, who would have lost their jobs because of scandal or incompetence in any other government, is seemingly a lever of power to which Johnson is particularly attached. The price paid for this approach during a year of crisis is repeated poor decision-making and operational incapacity when efficiency is most needed.

The serious failings by the Johnson administration is too long to list: they include minor errors – such as allowing sports fixtures like the Cheltenham Festival, attended by hundreds of thousands of people, to take place, when the rest of Europe was closing down – to putting a non-public health professional in charge of the vastly expensive test and trace system, with calamitous results. Despite £22bn being spent on this system, a Sage report says that it has had marginal impact on the infection rate, and it seems it is therefore as useless as Haig’s cavalry divisions at the Somme.

In one significant respect, perhaps Johnson’s record is worse than that of any other British government in times of grave crisis because the stench of alleged corruption is growing by the day. Shady dealings over procurement contracts have now reached a level previously associated with the Middle East. An investigation of those contracts that have been made public by The New York Times revealed that out of nearly $22bn spent, “about $11bn went to companies either run by friends and associates of politicians in the Conservative Party, or with no prior experience or a history of controversy”.

It seems that a shadowy VIP fast lane was used by politically well-connected companies to win profitable contracts, while other companies without those connections were shut out from the process. Companies in Britain already in the business of manufacturing PPE got no answer to their calls, while companies with no experience of doing so were given contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

The Conservative benches in future parliaments are likely to be filled “by hard-faced men who look as if they did well out of the epidemic”, to adapt the saying of the Conservative leader Stanley Baldwin about the House of Commons after the First World War.

ORDER IT NOW

Haig and Johnson both did or are doing great damage to their countries in times of devastating crisis. Heavy loss of life was inevitable in both 1916 and 2020, but their ineptitude as leaders ensured that the casualties were higher and the misery worse than it needed to be. They should not be forgiven.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: History • Tags: Boris Johnson, Britain, World War I 
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  1. unit472 says:

    In the US where the states have implemented their own Covid response there doesn’t seem to be dimes worth of difference in the outcomes. The virus is too widespread so community transmission occurs no matter what steps a government takes.

    California and New York imposed severe restrictions on business and gatherings but now have higher infection rates and deaths than Florida which didn’t. One could reasonably claim that the public is not following the decrees of Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo but that should be expected. People are going to socialize if they are not at high risk from Covid. In Florida, otoh, where the average age is higher, Ron DeSantis , reasonably assumed he did not need to close restaurants because retirees would be sensible and protect their health and avoid crowded dining while younger people could dines as they pleased.

    • Agree: Bardon Kaldian
    • Replies: @utu
  2. German_reader says:

    It thereby guaranteed that there would be a second wave of infection, as bad or worse than anything experienced earlier in the year.

    I think Johnson is an appalling figure, but come on, all the major countries in Europe f**ked up pretty badly in the Corona crisis. In Germany there’s even talk now that there might not be enough vaccines available to achieve widespread immunity before next autumn (so maybe we’ll see a repeat of the current lockdown drama in the winter of 2021/22), because the damned EU commission didn’t order enough doses.
    The issues can’t be just pinned on grotesque figures like Johnson, Trump or Merkel, there seem to be systemic problems with the quality of the political class in Western societies.

    • Agree: dfordoom
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    , @utu
  3. from the outside we can easily assume that this is probably the weakest and worst british government sincnce the second world war and without doubt the poorest prime minister the uk has ever had.
    remarkably he is ahead in the opinion polls,as UNICEF feeds the poorest of british children.gives you a clue to the mentality of the present british population.lambs to the slaughter.

    • Agree: dfordoom
  4. Here’s a thought: Nobody screwed up until they locked down, turning what would have been a natural culling of the weakest into a broader disaster where those lives that could have been meaningfully protected and extended through routine cancer and cardio treatments that were instead foregone to the detriment of those lives, while NHS carers in the largely underutilised non-COVID hallways were dancing on TikTok, and while tens of thousands of others were cast into lives of penury and despair that are increasingly ending in suicide or succumbing to substance abuse.

    The “experts” in the technocracy have sent Boris on a bigger fool’s errand, the effects of which will ripple through Britain for several decades.

    Lockdown’s are idiocy, and those who think they work have never learned or have forgotten the lesson Canute taught to his courtiers; that a wise leader should know that he can’t stop the tides.

    • Agree: Cortes, Felix Keverich
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  5. I know its not the actual subject of the article, but one of my pet peeves is this ill-considered characterisation of Haig. Haig can’t be understood without understanding the task he was set: Push the German army back in to Germany.

    Germany went on the defensive quite early, and from that point in time they were quite content to predominantly hold their trench lines. That meant that it was up to Britain, France and Russia to do most of the attacking which in turn meant crossing no-mans land to close with the waiting enemy in their prepared positions.

    In that scenario, it’s the attackers who take the massive casualties because not only do they need to cross no-mans land under withering machine gun and artillery fire, they need to have enough soldiers left for hand-to-hand fighting in the enemy trench (which means the attackers can’t be out of breath by trying to run across no-mans land) and then they need to have enough soldiers and ammo left to hold the trench from the German counter-attack using fresh reserves.

    Adding to the difficulty for Haig was that WW1 is probably history’s most technologically dynamic war, and it was the soldiers on the western front who had to figure out what weapons were actually useful, how to best deploy them and how to defend against them. Things like radio, tanks, mechanised troops, steel helmets, poison gas, aircraft, very high explosives, very long range artillery, indirect arty fire, the creeping barrage, barbed wire, air-burst shells, camouflage, in-depth defence, flame throwers, grenades and automatic weapons. Most importantly, mass production allowed those technologies to be deployed at a scale that had never before been approached.

    Throw all of those variables together and add in an equal and sophisticated enemy, and it seems to me that irrespective of whether it was Haig or some other Field Marshal giving the orders, the end result is a meat grinder.

    Now back to your normally scheduled broadcast.

    • Agree: 36 ulster
    • Thanks: Dan Hayes
  6. Throw all of those variables together and add in an equal and sophisticated enemy, and it seems to me that irrespective of whether it was Haig or some other Field Marshal giving the orders, the end result is a meat grinder.

    Haig ignored reports that the German defenses were still standing and that British artillery hadn’t cleared the barbed wire as anticipated.

    Instead of testing those defenses he decided to send waves of young men at them in broad daylight.

    • Agree: Miro23
    • Replies: @Houston 1992
  7. polistra says: • Website

    He’s not Haig, he’s Rommel. His assigned job is to obliterate Britain, and he’s doing it far more successfully than Hitler.

  8. The corruption is real, speaking as someone with 30m respiratiors to offer who was told he would have the order until the decision was passed to the DHSC.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  9. @The Alarmist

    I’ve tracked the numbers for Wales and there is absolutely no evidence for excess deaths other than Covid-19. Indeed, there is a slight dip in non Covid-19 deaths.

  10. @German_reader

    It demonstrates just how strong a grip the newspapers still have on people’s opinions. The broadcast media do not support him. The Right press, middle and working class, support him on Covid-19 and Brexit.

  11. utu says:
    @unit472

    California […] imposed severe restrictions on business and gatherings but now have higher infection rates and deaths than Florida which didn’t.

    Florida 958 deaths per million
    California 574 deaths per million

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    , @unit472
  12. utu says:
    @German_reader

    all the major countries in Europe f**ked up pretty badly in the Corona crisis

    Containing the epidemics in individual countries was possible. If the infection rate is kept below the manageable (what is manageable depends on country) threshold R0 can be kept around 1 with effective tracking and isolating plus social distancing and universal masking. Japan succeed doing this during spring and summer because it had experience in tracking and isolating process and because of almost universal masking.

    Countries that did not do well like Spain, Italy, UK, Belgium did not respond early enough. Or if NYC had lockdown two weeks sooner the number of fatalities would be 10 times lower. The infection rate was already very high when they introduced lockdowns. And then in summer when the infection rate went to below the manageable level their tracking and isolating system turned out to be ineffective so they were hit with big second waves.

    Sooner you do the lockdown better off you are. Bringing the infection rate from higher level to the manageable level takes longer than bringing it down from the lower level of infection rate. Any delay in lockdown costs lives and prolongs the duration of the lockdown. So it is incomprehensible why Germany waited for so long to introduce lockdown when they knew they lost control of the second wave already in mid November or while Poland is postponing its lockdown till after the Christmas while they lost control already in October.

    In Europe several countries did very well like Finland, Norway and Denmark. Then there are Poland and Czechoslovakia which did very well in the first wave because the infection rates were low when they went to lockdowns but then they squandered everything by letting to develop the devastating second wave. They thought the epidemic was over and they did not continue tracking and isolating in summer. In October and November Poland has non-covid excess deaths two times larger than covid deaths suggesting that their medical system collapsed or they are severely undercounting covid deaths.

    Out of the Western countries only New Zealand went for the virus elimination strategy just like Taiwan. The elimination strategy was possible for Europe as well, however it was never put on the table. Instead the do nothing herd immunity strategy was pushed first which delayed and weekend the curve flattening strategy. The laissez-faire cabal (Sunetra Gupta was the face of this operation) that was pushing the do nothing strategy from the UK is responsible for sowing the seed of doubt and delaying the effective response. The seed of doubt was amplified by the useful idiot libertarians and other covid truthers to unmanageable proportions.

    We should not overlook the role of WHO and CDC in dismissing masking as an effective non-pharmaceutical countermeasure. The role of Big Pharma in creating the paradigm for fighting epidemics that is anti the non-pharmaceutical countermeasures should be kept in mind.

    I do not exclude a possibility that we in the West were a subject of a disinformation operation also on governmental level to weaken our resolve by sowing confusion and distrust. In the age of internet to conduct a disinformation campaign by creating distractive and destructive memes and getting on board some credentialed useful idiots professionals and acht und achtzig professoren from Germany as talking heads on Youtube is easy. Russia and China comes to mind as the potential culprits. The Schadenfreude in Moscow and Beijing must be running very high.

    • Replies: @German_reader
  13. German_reader says:
    @utu

    Containing the epidemics in individual countries was possible.

    I agree in principle, but you’d also need strict border controls with quarantine for international travellers (which is unpalatable to European elites with their liberal dogmas), plus some form of efficient coordination on the EU level (which is lacking).

    So it is incomprehensible why Germany waited for so long to introduce lockdown when they knew they lost control of the second wave already in mid November

    imo it’s mostly because of the media (e.g. “conservative” WELT) which has been agitating against strict measures, lots of liberal/libertarian whining about the economic damage due to lockdowns (not entirely incorrect, but the damage in the end will be much worse than it would have been if stricter measures had been taken in spring and summer, which were mostly wasted, no precuations taken for winter either). The federal system also has its weaknesses. Merkel (who’s her usual incompetent self) is kind of a lame duck at this point, and the minister presidents are doing what they want and sought to advance their own popularity by talk about loosening restrictions for Christmas, keeping schools open as long as possible (which must be a major factor for driving infections) etc. With Bavaria’s Söder and North-Rhine-Westphalia’s Laschet this is also linked to competition about Merkel’s succession.
    But you’re right, it should have been clear already in November that a stricter lockdown was necessary, I thought so at the time.

    The Schadenfreude in Moscow and Beijing must be running very high.

    I doubt so about Russia, since they’re also getting hammered by Corona imo (their official statements probably understate the problem).
    Regarding a disinformation campaign by foreign actors: interesting idea, but so far there doesn’t seem to be any real evidence. But there certainly would be fertile ground for it. The crisis shows that political elites in Western countries are distrusted by significant segments of their own population, often with good reason imo. It’s very unfortunate though that this distrust has taken on such a deranged form, a lot of right-wingers have become aggressively stupid nutcases with their Corona-denial, really can make one despair.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @utu
    , @dfordoom
  14. I agree with “the Alarmist” #4. The problem has been the response more than the illness. It sets a precedent for medico-fascism from here on out. As others indicated, the lockdowns didn’t diminish the death tolls, plus focussing on the virus alone is a way of avoiding considering that the restrictions themselves led to more deaths from other causes, including economic collapse. They are doubling down on these fascist economic collapse policies because, if they admit they are wrong, there will be a reckoning.

  15. Boris Johnson reminds me of Trump —Trump reminds me of Boris Johnson? They are the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of the coming Hamlet—something was rotten in Denmark opined Mike Pompeo —the alter ego of Netanyahu.

  16. @utu

    So what? Raw numbers are like tits on a bull.

    Florida is famously known as “God’s waiting room.” Cali not so much. Arizona, at a bit over 1k per million, would be a fairer comparison, as would locked-down NY at more than 1.8k per million or locked down NJ at more than 2k per million.

    • Replies: @utu
  17. Re the comparison against Haig’s performance at the Somme; the generals were ordered to butcher the troops. They were surplus labor.

  18. utu says:
    @The Alarmist

    Take your objections to unit472. He wrote an argument using numbers. Apparently he did not reach your level of the truth where numbers do not matter anymore.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  19. @utu

    His numbers, or mine? 😉

    Truth is a nebulous concept … that’s why we have fuzzy logic.

  20. unit472 says:
    @utu

    Those are aggregate numbers since the pandemic began. California’s cases began exploding in recent days reaching a one day total of 61,500 and a daily death count of 407. As covid deaths lag infections California’s daily mortality rate should mirror the surge in infections in the coming weeks.

    • Replies: @utu
  21. utu says:
    @German_reader

    It’s very unfortunate though that this distrust has taken on such a deranged form, a lot of right-wingers have become aggressively stupid nutcases with their Corona-denial, really can make one despair.

    Many Satan’s little helpers were stoking the fire.

    https://www.unz.com/mwhitney/heres-why-you-should-skip-the-covid-vaccine/?showcomments#comment-4315960
    What possibly can you learn from ignorance and specious arguments that are being repeated over and over again regardless of how many times it was demonstrated that they were wrong? While discussions here at UR are academic and thus inconsequential the beliefs promoted here have consequences. Do you want to live in society where a large segment of it believes in all kinds of nonsense that it won’t be able to make rational and educated decisions. So I take it seriously that the UR decided to promulgate and increase the nonsense and thus contribute to the increasing level of ignorance. Ron Unz being libertarian does no feel responsible for the society but he wants to have large traffic and Steve Sailer won’t purge his commenters because, well, pecunia non olet. Actually this is a very sad case. The UR webzine is marginalizing itself more and more even if its traffic increases but only because it attracts all kinds of ignoramuses and deplorables and antisocial elements. What next? Pornography, drugs and gambling?

    The good thing might be that covid has exposed the idiocy and feeble mindedness on the right with some help of unscrupulous provocateurs like Mike Whitney and Israel Shamir that appear on the UR.

    https://www.unz.com/announcement/31000-words-missing-from-the-atlantic-and-the-new-york-times-sunday-magazine/?showcomments#comment-4166108
    The response of people to Covid-19 unmasked a bottomless pit of stupidity at least here at the UR where I witnessed it. I really wonder if Ron Unz has any illusions left for whom he runs this webzine and what good does it do? It stopped me from dabbling in most of conspiracy theories because I saw they are promoted by the same people who were unmasked by Covid-19. I realized that real trolls and shameless propagandists do exist. Thank you Covid-19 for letting me see more clearly.

  22. utu says:
    @unit472

    407 number was a spike 6-7 days ago. Since then numbers are rapidly falling down probably because of tough countermeasures. Compare it with FL that is in a broad peak which is not falling fast. Plot daily deaths/1M CA and FL on the same scale. CA has almost double population of FL.

  23. utu says:
    @German_reader

    “… there doesn’t seem to be any real evidence….” – Does Israel Shamir write the same dreck for Russians instigating them against anti-virus countermeasures spreading all kinds of covid truthers nonsense?

    • Replies: @German_reader
  24. German_reader says:
    @utu

    Maybe you’ve got a point, I don’t want to dismiss your theory. I’ve gotten more sceptical of Russia anyway lately. The problem though for me is that while I don’t trust Russia, trans-Atlanticism is a dead end too imo. American liberals are pretty crazy and will try to spread their BLM idiocies and similar “progressive” ideas throughout the entire West. But the American right is obviously no alternative either and has completely discredited itself in my eyes this year…they cheer on Trump’s demented Iran policies (or just don’t care), they think Covid-19 is a hoax or just the flu (and if it’s real, just let the old and sick die for the sake of the economy), they worship Trump as their messiah even though he’s obviously just a vulgar, selfish con man without any real principles, and whose foreign policy is appalling and under the influence of Zionist lobbyists. So from my German perspective this is all very depressing, we’re between a rock and a hard place, because Russia obviously hasn’t really shed the Soviet mentality, while the US is falling ever deeper into total lunacy.

    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @dfordoom
  25. dfordoom says: • Website
    @German_reader

    The crisis shows that political elites in Western countries are distrusted by significant segments of their own population, often with good reason imo. It’s very unfortunate though that this distrust has taken on such a deranged form, a lot of right-wingers have become aggressively stupid nutcases with their Corona-denial, really can make one despair.

    Over the past couple of years a lot of right-wingers have become aggressively stupid nutcases on almost every issue. Especially on the far right the craziness levels have increased exponentially. But craziness and stupidity seem to be more and more characteristic of the Right in general.

  26. dfordoom says: • Website
    @German_reader

    the US is falling ever deeper into total lunacy.

    There’s no question about that.

    But the American right is obviously no alternative either and has completely discredited itself in my eyes this year

    There’s something truly horrifying about the American right. Levels of stupidity and madness that just should not be possible.

    • Replies: @German_reader
  27. German_reader says:
    @dfordoom

    Levels of stupidity and madness that just should not be possible.

    Hah, I’ve got something for you:
    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/what-i-saw-at-the-jericho-march/

    I can’t even stand the author Rod Dreher (kind of a wimp imo, disagree with him on most issues). But as a description of the depths of madness parts of the Trump cult have fallen into this piece is quite valuable imo.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    , @utu
  28. dfordoom says: • Website
    @German_reader

    But as a description of the depths of madness parts of the Trump cult have fallen into this piece is quite valuable imo.

    Yes, I read Dreher’s piece on the Jericho March and the craziness is mind-boggling.

    And yes, there is something increasingly cult-like about large parts of the American right. Weird conspiracy theories which make no sense but are accepted without question.

  29. utu says:
    @German_reader

    “…the depths of madness…” – There is a reason for that depth of madness. There was a brief moment when Trump jump started a genuine populist movement that had an appeal to the right nationalist sentiments and to the leftist blue collar sentiments. In two words: Pride and jobs. But obviously Tump handlers as well as his enemies worked very hard to extinguish this germinating movement by cooptation of deplorable radicals that do not represent majority. But even those deplorable radicals could have been a constructive part if guided and led by somebody who had a vision that he could articulate. Obviously Trump was not that person. People were infected with memes produced by Qanon that possibly started as a prank but was picked up and carried by some operative whose agency protected the brand of the Qanon from competitive copy cats to string along Trump supporters and lead them to nowhere where they could be laughed at by everybody including Rod Dreher’s and Mr.Doom’s of the world. And in 2020 that crowd was enlarged by the covid truthers and all sorts of libertarians and other nuts. Possibly with the help of Russians and Chinese and everybody, including Mr. Doom, who hate America.

    I think people do not realize what a great opportunity for a nationalist movement was presented by the Covid-19. It was godsent. You had an external enemy that was China, you had an emergency that justified shutting down border and stopping immigration and proceeding with overdue deportations and you could unite people around a common good, which was saving lives of fellow Americans by fighting the epidemic that would require quick and short term strict lockdown. It was a time to emulate Taiwan if not China. It was possible even for Trump if he clearly articulated what was at stake and was the objective. If Trump went with the strategy of virus elimination he would force the hand of Democrats to play the role of idiots and covid truthers. But Trump with a great help from Democrats blew it. The only part that he did not miss was to make some noise about China’s culpability.

    • Replies: @German_reader
    , @dfordoom
  30. German_reader says:
    @utu

    There is a reason for that depth of madness.

    The American right has been unhinged for a long time, it’s not really a new development.
    And tbh, I’ve pretty much lost sympathy for ordinary Trump voters too. As a non-American I care mostly about American foreign policy, and it’s become obvious that a very large part, maybe even a majority of Trump supporters is totally fine with the crudest jingoism imaginable. Their view of foreign affairs consists of nothing but some mindless rage that ever so noble America is being unfairly taken advantage of by devious foreigners, that she ought to be unrestrained by any treaty obligations and that she needs to re-establish “respect”, preferably by bombing someone somewhere. They don’t care at all about the suffering American policies inflict in Iran, Syria and other places, or about the potential consequences (in the form of new refugee streams) of those policies for Europe, and many of them even revel in it as a sign of America’s power. The favorable reaction of most Trump voters to the Soleimani assassination, an insanely reckless act by any standards, shocked me, it was as if scales fell from my eyes and I realized how naive I had been. All that supposed anti-interventionism on the American right was never more than a way to bash the hated Dems when Obama was president, there aren’t any principles behind it, and if one of their hero figures like Trump would start a war, they’d cheer it on just as much as they did with Bush II and Iraq (and later wallow in self-pity, how they couldn’t have known it was a bad idea, lol).
    So from my point of view, I see no reason to view American right-wingers as potential allies, they’re stuck too deep into their exceptionalist fantasies which are inherently tied up with external aggression. Of course there are very good reasons to be wary of Russia and China too, it would be foolish for Europeans to regard them as friendly powers.

    I think people do not realize what a great opportunity for a nationalist movement was presented by the Covid-19.

    I agree with that completely. Back in January and February Germany’s AfD actually was somewhat on that track and asked why Merkel’s government wouldn’t want to restrict travel from China as a precaution (whereas lefties in Germany’s public broadcasting literally ran with the “It’s just a flu” line and said concern about Corona was just scare-mongering by evil right-wingers). Unfortunately they changed course when Merkel and her ilk belatedly started to take the pandemic seriously in March, and since then it’s just been braindead protests against wearing masks and the like.

    • Agree: dfordoom
    • Replies: @utu
  31. dfordoom says: • Website
    @utu

    and everybody, including Mr. Doom, who hate America.

    But I don’t hate America. It saddens me to see Americans themselves destroying what was once a really cool country. I guess if Americans want to do that they have the right to do so but I think it’s a tragedy.

    And Americans are doing this to themselves. It’s no good trying to blame the Russians or the Chinese. Americans invented the cultural poisons that are killing them.

    What I do strenuously object to is US imperialism and the US aggressively spreading cultural poison throughout the globe (an example being the Trump Administration trying to bully other countries into accepting the crazed LGBT agenda). It’s sad that the only hope for other countries to survive is to develop an anti-American attitude but it’s the only defence there is against the insanities that have taken over American culture.

    I actually have a deep love for the American popular culture of the past, before the madness set in.

    • Agree: Malla
  32. BigTony says:

    More lockdown equals more death. There is no more crackpot of an idea that you can pause civilization as a prophylactic against common respiratory virus. It will be on the ash heap of history with communism.

  33. utu says:
    @German_reader

    I can’t disagree with you. I share most of your sentiments. However we can’t step out from this world to a place where our sentiments would be satisfied. America is here to stay. America is a dominant world power. No world power was ever moral. Was America better or more moral in the past? I doubt it. But it did some good in the past. But you are lucky because you live in Europe. Europe is the most sovereign with respect to America entity. For obvious reasons we are ignoring Russia, China and N. Korea here, though Mr. Doom is even luckier because he loves China. Europe can do a lot to limit American influence. You can do more than you think.

    • Replies: @German_reader
  34. German_reader says:
    @utu

    Europe can do a lot to limit American influence. You can do more than you think.

    In theory, but European elites are pretty incompetent and unimaginative, and mostly in thrall to Transatlanticism. There’s no unity between European states either, under the surface the old resentments live on and a lot of people subconsciously fear that we’ll return to 1914-1945 if America’s “benevolent” hegemony ends. I don’t think Europe will ever amount to much in the world tbh, we’re going to be spectators and playthings for the Americans and Chinese, while our “elites” are dismantling our nations through mass immigration from Africa and the Islamic world.

    • Replies: @utu
  35. utu says:
    @German_reader

    “I don’t think Europe will ever amount to much in the world” – What are you talking about? Europe is the best place to live in the world with population of 400 mil people. Don’t bring up minor provincial countries like CAN AUS or NZ as counter examples.

    ..fear that we’ll return to 1914-1945…. – Sure it is but it is irrational and it always will be taken advantage of by the enemies of Europe.

    …be spectators and playthings for the Americans and Chinese… – When/if they go to war being a spectator is the best thing there is. Europe will side with US because there is no other option. Nobody sane in Europe wants to live in the world where China is a sole hegemon. Many may like when China rubs Uncle Sam’s nose now and then but when push comes shove Europeans will know on which side they are.

    …while our “elites” are dismantling our nations through mass immigration… – This is true but I believe this will change sooner than you think.

    …European elites are pretty incompetent and unimaginative... – This is true but would you rather be ruled by ‘competent’ Putin or Xi with all the baggage and dead bodies in the closet they carry?

    • Replies: @German_reader
  36. German_reader says:
    @utu

    This is true but would you rather be ruled by ‘competent’ Putin or Xi with all the baggage and dead bodies in the closet they carry?

    No, but I’m also wary of being dragged into a Cold war against Russia and China by the Americans, I don’t think it’s in Europe’s best interest, all the more so when there are so many other more existential issues.
    Russia on its own can’t do that much, it doesn’t have the power the Soviet Union had and never will again, all that is needed against them is a credible European defense policy (preferably with a common nuclear deterrent, maybe France would be willing to share its nuclear force). Unless Russia crosses certain lines (e.g. attacking the Baltic states), I don’t think conflict is inevitable.
    As for China, they’re on the other side of the world, they can’t project military power into Europe that easily. The real threat from them is economic, there needs to be legislation to curtail their economic influence in Europe, they shouldn’t be allowed to buy up European companies or acquire strategic industries (or gain a foothold in sensitive sectors like telecommunications). Apart from that I doubt it would be wise for Europe to join in projects for containing China by shows of military force (e.g. by sending naval vessels into the South China sea).

    • Agree: dfordoom
  37. Shoveller says:

    The main difference between Johnson & Haig is that Haig was twenty miles or more from the front and was never involved in actual battles or injured whereas Johnson was hospitalised and suffered injury from Covid. Johnson’s initial policy was to do the simple thing and allow the virus to work its way through the population and acquire herd immunity. In 1968, the UK had an epidemic of flu that killed 80,000 people. We are not at that level yet. It was actually the incompetence of the advice given to him by so called experts, many of whom have conflicts of interest, and his experience of Covid that changed his mind. If he had stuck with his original policy, like Sweden, we would not have a trashed economy, a trashed society, businesses going bankrupt, growing mass unemployment and extensive restrictions upon our natural human rights. If he had overruled those advisors and allowed doctors to treat patients as they see fit, sanctioned vitamin D3 supplementation, prophylaxis with hydroxychloroquine, zinc and antibiotics (now Ivermectin), we would have a lower fatality rate rather than the highest in the world. We would also not be coerced into having vaccines that have zero short-medium or long term safety record that may well cause infertility in women and untold thousands of adverse drug reactions; many of them life changing.

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