a thoughtful web.
Good ideas and conversation. No ads, no tracking.   Login or Take a Tour!
comment by birchbarkcanoe
birchbarkcanoe  ·  1188 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Brexit and Charles de Gaulle‚Äôs Last Laugh

Interesting read! I'm currently studying in France, and I must say it's fascinating to watch this all unfold from a European perspective. I'm doing my best to consume news in French (though here I am on an English-language site, what can I say) and though I'm reading from sources that have similar political leanings to what I read at home in the States, I've been struck by how differently Brexit is being covered.

Intriguing that de Gaulle saw the UK as a "black sheep" of sorts all along...





kleinbl00  ·  1188 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I can't speak for the UK, but Americans learn nothing about the nonaligned movement or really anything about how everybody that wasn't the USA or USSR dealt with the USA and USSR.

De Gaulle had little-to-no trust of the British or Americans because he viewed the Americans as opportunists and the British as island-dwellers whose involvement on the Continent was 100% defensive. Britain didn't send troops to fight Hitler until the Nazis invaded Denmark; the US didn't declare war on Germany until after Germany declared war on the US because the US declared war on Japan (which was a member of the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy). Europe has always been "over there" to the Americans and the "Phoney War" to the UK while to the French it's the Maginot Line.

De Gaulle was the Minister of Defense during the Suez Crisis, in which the USA pinned back the ears of the UK and France for fucking about in the Middle East and giving the Soviet Union cover to crush Hungary. From a European perspective, that's the United States and its puppet the United Nations dictating what Europeans are allowed to do in their own interests.

As an American, it's really easy to see that the world is a better place when America calls the shots. As anyone non-American can tell you, though, you step outside of the funhouse for one minute and empires look like empires.

birchbarkcanoe  ·  1188 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Europe has always been "over there" to the Americans and the "Phoney War" to the UK while to the French it's the Maginot Line

Yes! America has always had the bizarre privilege of being super far away.

    you step outside of the funhouse for one minute and empires look like empires

So much this. Honestly one of my biggest realizations / takeaways while living abroad. I didn't realize how "American" my perspective was before I started reading more international news, and it has startled me a bit. What I'm seeing here re: Brexit is a reaction that I didn't really anticipate, it's more of a "Yeah they're shooting themselves in the foot but that's their problem" kind of attitude, accompanied by a question of concern for non-British EU citizens who have created a life for themselves in the UK and suddenly have a major citizenship question on the horizon. Of course there is interest in exactly what's going down, but the way it's being presented (and discussed between humans) isn't what I anticipated.

kleinbl00  ·  1187 days ago  ·  link  ·  

"Wealth - any income that is at least one hundred dollars more a year than the income of one's wife's sister's husband."

- HL Mencken

People who tend to read essays on economics believe that "equality" can be best created by raising up the poor. They themselves are rarely poor and if they can make things a little bit better for others without affecting their own lives, they win. Everything is better for everyone. This is the core of liberalism.

People whose lives are shit believe that "equality" means everyone is equal. If their lives are shit the least they can do is make those rich fucks have shit lives, too. Yeah, things might get a little worse for them but it'll get a lot worse for those pricks with their cars in garages, their kids in college and their retirement in a fund, not a fantasy. This is the core of populism.

Populists rarely consider that the natural order is hierarchal and whenever you break a structure you provide opportunity for people with exposure to ratchet up their holdings outside the normal constraint of law and order. And liberals are terrible at applying equal gains across all demographics. Thus the cycle of history.