Oh yes, very good, very good indeed

No, don’t ask, just go read it.

America was the most important thing in the world at the turn of the twentieth century, but no one knew it yet. It took World War I to demonstrate what paper tigers the European empires had become. America flipped the 19th century script and went to Belleau Wood with all the fury of a father turning the car around. When it was over, we shirked the big mantle and went back to our cornfields. We avoided the responsibilities of a great power until the hakenkreuz and the rising sun were waved right in our faces. We shrugged and rolled up our sleeves and pounded the world flat again, because that’s the way we liked it. It’s easier to drive on.

Then came the fifties. The Soviets stood there, leering over half the globe, and said they would bury us. We yawned. We had the sobriety of Eisenhower on our side. We had the muscle of finned cars rolling off assembly lines uncounted with a sunburned arm out the window on day one.

30 comments on “Oh yes, very good, very good indeed

  1. “We yawned.”

    Hah! Are you kidding me. We *panicked*.

    Witchhunts, wars of containment, proxy wars, hell – *the space program* was built on cold war paranoia.

  2. The thing is, I really think the USA has lost it. It had a massive headstart after the war in that the rest of Europe was so fucked. That built the motor industry, funded the sort of research that led to them getting there first with the transistor and a ton of stuff that followed that.

    But voting for Trump with his 70s/80s throwback MAGA is as bad as voting for Corbyn and socialist nationalisation. The country is riven with socialism from top to bottom, from bank bailouts, to universities creating a gazillion pointless graduates to people in the middle thinking Trump is going to bring back manufacturing jobs. The Republicans will remain the party of Jesus and the Dems are going to get the Bernie Bros running for them.

  3. As long as you don’t read it for facts. “but no one knew it yet”: bollocks, it was widely commented on before 1900.

    “It took World War I to demonstrate what paper tigers the European empires had become.”

    What an idiot. It demonstrated undeniably that they weren’t paper tigers. It did, however, mean that by 1917 they were exhausted tigers. When two exhausted tigers face each other a helpful hyena can aid in tipping the balance.

    “We shrugged and rolled up our sleeves and pounded the world flat again”: as the agents and fellow travellers of the USSR never tired of pointing out, the Reds did much more of the pounding of the Nazis than the Yanks did. As it happens the aforesaid scumbags were right.

    “We avoided the responsibilities of a great power until the hakenkreuz and the rising sun were waved right in our faces.” It’s true that it’s mystery – at least to me – why Hitler declared war on the US. There’s no mystery, however, about the Japanese attack on the US – the US had provoked Japan to war. You may argue – I would – that the Japs were bloody fools to rise to the provocation in the way that they did, but to pretend that it was all a consequence of the US turning it’s back on the world is the exact opposite of the truth.

    Does this buffoon know no history at all?

  4. One point it might be America’s century but its only put beyond doubt when the French are paying to see your artists.

  5. At the moment, I’m reading The Deluge, and Wages of Destruction, both by Adam Tooze.

    Yeah, dearieme’s probably right.

  6. Dearieme is right. And, in WWI, the USA’s contribution was useful but marginal: Britain alone ensured allied success. See (the often cited here) ‘Mud, Blood & Poppycock’ by Gordon Corrigan.

  7. I quite liked it, I have been known to gush a bit about my heroes myself and its was entertaining . The problem with music has always been that it is its own language, the only kind of meaning we can create that is independent of language.
    Music journalism is always about all the things that are peripheral to the thing , because the thing is…… …

    Riding along in my automobile
    My baby beside me at the wheel…

    This writer is trying to capture the something about the feel of it by having Mr Berry surfing on the American wave, and it was alright

  8. I think you are all missing the point. Young, tall, slim good looking woman (according to the evidence of this article) is putting the boot into her fat, dumpy third wave feminist sisters by saying how awful it is to be a tall, young, slim woman in this hideous patriachy.

    Did I mention how tall and slim I was? Oh, and did I also mention that men are awful? And how tall and slim I am?

  9. I think TIS needs to get his own blog, so Rob can comment on it.

    It could be the funniest thing, like, ever.

  10. @dearieme, March 19, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    …There’s no mystery, however, about the Japanese attack on the US – the US had provoked Japan to war. You may argue – I would – that the Japs were bloody fools to rise to the provocation in the way that they did, but to pretend that it was all a consequence of the US turning it’s back on the world is the exact opposite of the truth.

    Very true and a fact few appear to know.

    The US Ambassador to Japan told his bosses several times to end the oil blockade on Japan or they would declare war; the only thing delaying war Japan’s Emperor imploring USA to stop as Gov’t had already voted for war.

    USA preferred to spend their time in cornfields rather than listen I guess.

  11. Japan demanded that the USA continue to provide the oil Japan needed to complete its conquest of China. The USA refused. How is this a ‘provocation’? Japan’s demands were more like an ultimatum. If the USA complied, what would Japan demand next? That the USA turn over Wake and Guam?
    “The US Ambassador to Japan told his bosses several times to end the oil blockade on Japan or they would declare war” In hindsight, Ambassador Grew was correct, but at the time few in Washington believed the Japanese would do something so stupid. Not an unreasonable assumption.

  12. Militaristic (to the point of fetishism) state attempting to conquer enormous neighbour, driven by virulent racism and centuries old military code was forced into war against its will? Meh.

    Next: Hitler only wanted to open chain of coffee and Schitzel stores in Eastern Europe; was misunderstood.

  13. ZT – “In hindsight, Ambassador Grew was correct, but at the time few in Washington believed the Japanese would do something so stupid. Not an unreasonable assumption.”

    Actually there is little evidence that people in Washington did not know exactly what they were doing. It is an unreasonable assumption.

    Especially as the Japanese offered to back down if a resumption of oil exports was guaranteed. Washington flatly refused to do so. Which made any withdrawal impossible. They could leave China and still have no oil.

    Now, Japan is not the most sympathetic of victims. But that doesn’t change the fact that US policy was either mind numblingly stupid or in fact the revisionists have a point. The fact that days before Pearl Harbor the US cabinet sat around discussing the imminent Japanese attack suggests they were not stupid.

  14. Especially as the Japanese offered to back down if a resumption of oil exports was guaranteed.

    And Hitler claimed the Sudetenland was it.

  15. The US hardly did anything in WW1, yes nice to have them and all that but would have won without them.
    It took until after December 1941 for the US to start becoming a major power.
    They then were the only major supplier who had not been bombed – and they had few markets! So they helped rebuild, lending money etc – and supplying these markets that needed what America could supply.
    Took until almost the middle of the 20th century before America become the most important thing.
    Outside America anyway.

  16. From one of his earlier posts:

    It’s useful to be reminded from time to time that the United States, and everything in it that’s worth a fig, was built entirely by people who wouldn’t be caught dead lining a bird cage with the New York Times.

  17. “It’s useful to be reminded from time to time that the United States, and everything in it that’s worth a fig, was built entirely by people who wouldn’t be caught dead lining a bird cage with the New York Times.”

    Wonderful video on that page too.

  18. It wasn’t “the Soviets” who said they would bury us–it was just ONE “sovie” by the name of Kruschev. And when he said it (to Nixon, I seem to remember)he was speaking strictly to the matter of economic supremacy. This, of course, occurred BEFORE his visit to the U.S., during which he was absolutely
    flabbergasted at the general level of material existence of (virtually) everyone.

    It must have been convincing–his kids have been U.S. citizens for quite some time!

  19. @John Malpas asked:

    “Who profited from WW2?”

    Not Britain. The US and the Soviet Union were the real gainers.

  20. @ZT, March 19, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    Japan demanded that the USA continue to provide the oil Japan needed to complete its conquest of China. The USA refused. How is this a ‘provocation’?

    Japan did not “demand that the USA continue to provide the oil”. Japan wanted to purchase oil. USA refused to sell to them and bullied/threatened other countries into not selling oil to Japan. That is the ‘provocation’.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.