I’m a big of a fan of America. I love their movies, they produce some great music, and their ladies are on the whole very pretty. They are also successful, powerful, love small government (both democrat and republican), and as a nation appreciate the value of hard work. Then there is that most impressive of concepts, the pursuit of happiness and the American Dream.
I love that stuff and wish more of that get up and go spirit would take hold over here in Europe. However, and this is the sad part for us Yankophiles, the US can also be extremely arrogant, introverted, and selfish too.
That’s arse you may say, those traits only apply to individuals, not whole nations?! Well that may be true, and it is a sweeping statement, however from what I’ve seen over the last week regarding the whole furore over the death of Lance Corporal Matty Hull, the American military has been exhibiting those very characteristics.
They have been arrogant because they seem to care little for the troubles of others. Introverted because they either cannot or choose not to see the world from another perspective, and finally, selfish, because they always put their own needs before that of any other. What makes this situation particularly galling is that in this case it’s directed towards the UK, their closest ally.
Saying that, I do admire how America, and the American people especially treat their armed services, they certainly could show us a thing or two on the domestic front. However the way the Pentagon treated the family of Matty Hull and our MOD is shameful. Their guys made a mistake, and caused the death of one of our soldiers, if discipline is to mean anything they should be held to account, not wrapped up in cotton wool and insulated from the repercussions. Behaviour like that is slowly eating up any good will left in this country for America, and that’s an unsettling prospect from my perspective.
The problem is that general public opprobrium for a single unfortunate act (and it was an accident remember), feeds into the anti-American media machine that latches on to any misdemeanour and exploits it for all it’s worth. Whether that’s through greed or bigotry on their part the outcome is the same, damage to Anglo-US relations. It would be a disaster if these many small cuts turned into a real diplomatic wound between our two nations. Considering all that we do and achieve together, both now and in the past, for the UK to turn into another member of the anti-US European club would be greatly damaging.
The EU though perhaps a nice idea on the surface; is too neurotic to provide us with the support we need on the world stage, America on the other hand does, economically, militarily, and diplomatically. Our goals are very similar. The defence of the Anglosphere is put at risk by US military blundering both on the battlefield and behind the scenes, and America needs to realise that. It cannot continue to disregard its allies and expect our support.
There is good news on the horizon though. The first pieces of the post-Bush era are falling into place across the Atlantic. Many new and better Presidential candidates than the incumbent are firmly in the running, my two personal favourites being Giuliani and Obama. Lets hope that these new players provide a constructive debate on which direction a new American era needs to take. I sincerely hope that they’ll produce a more magnanimous and diplomatic America if elected, I also keep my fingers crossed that any new magnanimity from the executive will eventually rub off on the military too. I’d like it to be sooner, but I can’t see it happening for now, unfortunately.