High life

We're still repeating the mistakes of the first world war

In the Big Bagel this week, it was just like the heady days of 2002

11 October 2014

9:00 AM

11 October 2014

9:00 AM

The time-honoured saying that England’s great battles have been won on the playing fields of Eton is a lot of hooey. Blücher was the real winner against Napoleon at Waterloo, and the only thing he said to Wellington after the battle was ‘Quelle affaire!’ (Hardly an Old Etonian expression.) England’s great battles have been won by some Old Etonians, to be sure, but the heavy lifting has been done by England’s allies, such as the Yanks in the first world war and the Russians in the second. If that ogre Woodrow Wilson had not sold his soul to the bankers and kept America out of the war, I am convinced we’d be in far better shape today. The bankers had loaned lotsa moolah to the Anglo-French but Germany was winning the war and the money men were up shit creek. So Wilson sent in the doughboys, as they were called, and F. Scott Fitzgerald movingly wrote about American farm boys dying on the Somme.

What bothers me is that no one ever learns from the past. Our politicians are by far the worst we’ve ever had, certainly in America, which is totally controlled by special interests and the Israeli lobby. And the news media are just as bad. Bill Kristol is a small, fat, ugly man who wants Uncle Sam to bomb and invade countries he and Israel don’t like. Dick Cheney is a cowardly person who avoided the draft during Vietnam (six deferments) but is now asking for more blood to be shed. The neocons and the George W. gang lied us into war 11 years ago, but none of them has lost his place on think tanks or in the media. Today, if they could, they’d fight on three fronts: Syria, Iran and Ukraine. When I say they would fight, I of course mean that others would do the dying.


There is an unbridgeable existential divide between those who do the fighting and the cowardly sofa samurai who bang the war drums. Papa Hemingway once wrote that abstract words such as honour, glory and courage were obscene, and the only words that had dignity were the names of villages and rivers, and the number of regiments. Unlike Blair, Cheney, Kristol, Podhoretz, the Kagans and their ilk, Hemingway had seen war from up close and had been seriously wounded in 1917 in the Tyrolean Alps. He spent the Spanish Civil War in Madrid, boozing it up and servicing Martha Gellhorn, and never flinched during the bombing, refusing to go to the shelter. He then led his own army of hangers-on to Paris and liberated the Ritz while some German units were still in the suburbs. Yet this very brave man called the words used by Tony Blair and other physical cowards exhorting us to back wars obscene, nothing but warmongering slogans.

This week I flew into the Big Bagel and it was just like old times. Netanyahu was ranting against Iran at the UN and was warning the consumer zombies that the end was nearer than they thought. Strike early and strike often is his message, year in and year out. Last year he got 40 standing ovations while addressing both houses of Congress — a Congress, mind you, whose great majority of men and women have been conceived by chimps with a dose of the clap. Never mind. Instead of making our peace with Iran, an ancient and very large country that we Greeks kicked the shit out of 2,500 years ago, we are siding with those who financed terror long before 9/11. Go figure, as they used to say in Brooklyn when Brooklyn was Brooklyn and not the name of some football player’s son.

Another recent warmonger — this one wants us to fight Putin — was once the richest man in Russia. Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been doing the rounds in Washington and New York and has been treated like the great Lindbergh was on his return from Paris in 1927. I guess heroes are easier to come by nowadays. Putin threw him in jail where he cooled his heels for ten years before being freed with a pardon. Instead of loving Putin for helping him to cleanse his soul and ennoble his spirit through suffering — a great theme in Russian literature — this bum wants Uncle Vlad to be overthrown. And Vlad even let him keep some of his millions, taking only the billions away. Khodorkovsky is no hero back home. Again, never mind. Washington and New York and London and Paris and, yes, Switzerland adore him, and if he writes a book about his ten years in protective custody he’ll most likely be a new Solzhenitsyn, awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. And now I have to cut this column short and go and puke. Arrgh!

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  • Fritz123

    Well, in 2019 we will have 100 years of Versailles aka international criminal law. Whether we call it law or war does not make a big difference. A war without end and the base of what you describe. But what would have happened without the US in Europe? Austria still alive and kicking? Would we all be memberstates of that empire?

    • ClausewitzTheMunificent

      Debatable as to whether Versailles (1919) really represents the beginning of international criminal law for 2 reasons. 1) It was not a negotiated settlement, but a settlement imposed on the losers, in which only wrongdoers on one side were condemned – moreover, this involved asking the other country to prosecute, and 2) Why choose 1919 when could one just as well choose Versailles 1814 or even many other dates in which international judicial agreements were made in the immediate post-war period?

      • Fritz123

        Well, maybe we could say modern international criminal law and the Leipziger Prozesse were some sort of victory of the German diplomacy over Versailles. The Rome statut is negotiated more of less by the big powers over the weak. Ok, ISIS is strong in the moment but — on the risk of saying something very stupid — what is the difference between ISIS and the way wars were fought in the 30 years before 1648? Maybe what we do is some sort of legal colonialism? Maybe they are not bad, but slow. As I said, on that risk, and I am not shure but maybe there is a problem. Friction, see Kenya.

        • ClausewitzTheMunificent

          I’m sorry I’m replying so late, but I just now saw your comments. I have learned much that I did not know before. Thank you! In particular, I was not aware of the details of the Leipzig process which as you say was quite abnormal for the preceding period. Then again, I was not quite sure what your point was, and I see now that my points were off the mark – you were not trying to imply anything about “good” or “bad” justice (which is an interesting discussion of itself) I also agree that the Rome Statute and interventionism (mostly Western of late but also during the Cold War) is a form of imperialism. Of course it is! It’s designed to be: a way of projecting the power of the Dominant state and threatening other leaders. What you say about ISIS is also correct, but ISIS is not a state agent, so I think better examples would be the NATO operations in Libya and Syria, which were completely determined by Realpolitik and supported by the usual crowd of useful idiots. Moreover, On a side note, I am not entirely convinced that ISIS appeared from nowhere – it is a very useful excuse to invade other countries.

          • Fritz123

            I read the Leipziger cases, they are not many, and there is the distiction between international crimes and international illegal acts. Less is maybe more anyway. Lets start with… But I also found by accident that treaty between Sveden and Russia of 1721 with a nicenst example of such an amnesty that was common upto Versailles in the learnt German scientific community. IMHO anything else just makes the war longer. War as in enemy etc. Maybe 2019 is a good date to discuss in in extenso.

        • ClausewitzTheMunificent

          Absolutely, it gives power, to large countries to bully smaller countries, intervene in them, generally makes them easier to control. This is why I think it is a sham, much like “Human Rights” is used as an excuse to fund opposition forces in unfriendly countries.

          • Fritz123

            Kasachstan is the darling number one today. A lot of cotton?

          • ClausewitzTheMunificent

            Heh, just saw David Cameron was in the country after calling for an EU from the Atlantic to the Urals. Sounds scarily like the Third Reich vision, whose living space was to stretch to Archangelsk!

          • Fritz123

            From pariah to partner…..? See also Whiterussia and Hungary. The space of freedom and security…….

      • Fritz123

        Anyway, what people actually do in future out of their free will, what they really lean from the past, is allways more important than storymaking over the past IMHZO. Hope it makes sense in English. Itr is interesting to see the difference between the Brtish and the French approach to penal law after WWI and armies can do what they want to enforce discipline in the own ranks anyway. In general maybe less law is much more.

        • ClausewitzTheMunificent

          I agree about the last statement. But the British and French are special cases, because of their huge Empires. No other European country had any reason to get involved in “International Law” because they didn’t have control of other parts of the world.

      • Fritz123

        And third, to answer your last question, to explain, what I was thinking about: well I am German and I have learned, it is popular believe here, that at the end of wars there was an amnesty until 1919. There is still such an amnesty in the Geneva law and they have, according to newspapers, even an amnesty for torture committed by “little green men and their friends” in the Ukraine now. What matters is not the law in itself but what we do with it.

        • ClausewitzTheMunificent

          Undoubtedly, in civil wars an amnesty is very important. In Italy after the 2nd World War, huge amnesties were given for fascists and partisans. Both sides had much innocent blood on their hands, I personally have very little sympathy for either, but it was probably necessary, to stop the thing getting out of hand. In any case, without amnesty, the Reds might really have launched a revolution! But it was morally disgusting that so many murderers got away with it, and even got celebrated for it! I do not think there will always be people ready to prosecute. Outsiders, maybe, but if something drags on long enough, people get fed up. That’s why international law is such a touchy subject. Partly because I don’t understand who can give someone such authority, partly because it usually does more harm than good. Did the Jugoslav states benefit from the 10 year long trial of Milosevic? What about the fact that equally culpable Croat leaders were not tried? I think it did much to keep relations between Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks poisoned.

      • Fritz123

        Found a very good example of an amnesty in some treaty in which Sveden gave Riga to Russia in 1721, sorry in German:

        Es soll ferner beyderseits eine allgemeine Amnestie
        und ewige Vergessenheit alles dessen seyn/ was währendem Kriege über/ von der einen oder andern Seite feindliches oder widerwärtiges/ es sey durch die Waffen oder sonst/ gegen einander fürgenommen/ ausgeführet und geschehen ist/ so/ daß dessen nimmer weiter soll gedacht werden/ vielweniger jemand dessen zu irgend einer Zeit in Unguten entgelten;

        http://www.histdoc.net/nystad/nystad_de.html

        • ClausewitzTheMunificent

          Vielen Dank!

          • Fritz123

            De rien.

  • Malus Pudor

    Yes, Taki’s view of Hemingway…. The bully on the left Bank, always twisting the arm of the milksop (Connolly)…. always remains undimmed…

    The man was a thug… who bullied his audience into accepting his self-perceived talents… who, when the game was up and he realised what a fraud he was… stuck a shotgun in his mouth and checked out in Ketchum, Idaho…

    A suitably prosaic ending ….

  • Des Demona

    We’re still reaping the mistakes of the first world war? From the article it seems that you feel the mistake was that the Germans didn’t win.

    • ClausewitzTheMunificent

      Why not? What did England gain by going to war, other than crippling war debts, Central European enmity, a fractured domestic situation, and a tarnished international reputation? More importantly what would it have lost by not joining in? Some prestige perhaps, given that its French Allies had been defeated? The only result of 1-2 day delay caused by the BEF in France was several million men killed or wounded, France bled white, the dismemberment of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the concurrent destabilization of South-Eastern Europe, and the outbreak of the Russian Civil War and the eventual creation of the Soviet Union. A clean German victory against France, followed by the quick crushing of Russia and Serbia would have meant far fewer killed, far less internal / domestic disruption across the continent, and it would have meant keeping Europe free and not a vassal of the USA and the Soviet Union. Moreover, because of the impossibility of large scale territorial expansion in the modern world of nation-states, France would not have lost territory, nor would Serbia be annexed (the last thing AH needed), Russia would have been eliminated as a threat to European security by being stripped of Ukraine – as in fact happened briefly in 1918. The period following 1870 was one of the best periods in the history of Europe for the people of Europe – a time of stability, quick (if intermittent) economic growth and improving living standards. Some of this can be attributed to the strength of the German Reich, which having finally unified the German Nation, stabilised Europe by replacing the centuries old power vacuum in CE with a single state capable of defending itself and keeping the predatorial French and Russians at bay. Of course, the new Reich was not nearly as strong as was later asserted – in terms of numbers (economic, strategic, military) it could not on its own dictate its terms to the rest of Europe – and in war only its greater military efficiency, drastic economic mobilisation, and the skill and daring of its combat troops allowed it to equal a military alliance much larger and with far greater resources than itself. The greatest mistake in analysing the 20th century is to over-emphasize German strength, citing as evidence its military victories, when these were only the by-product of the Prussian tradition of efficiency which had been forged in that Kingdom as a result of being surrounded by much stronger hostile states: an experience incidentally which none of its enemies, neither France, Britain, or Russia had ever had. But of course a German victory would have meant that the British would not have been able to benefit as much from squabbles in the continent to their benefit: the British went to war in 1914 to ensure that a large unified body of opinion did not form in Europe, as it would have been far harder to manipulate and cheat out of colonies. They were playing “divide and conquer” and they deserve all that came to them as a result, namely the loss of the Empire, loss of prestige, and their loss of Sovereignty.

      • Fritz123

        It sounds sustainable but I dont trust the “powers of Altdoebern”, a small place in Brandenburg where those people who were the contrary of Bismarck had their parties. Aristocracy as l’art pour l’art. Incredible backwards, they did not trust cities etc, everything was bancrupt, but “das ist des Adels gutes Recht”. Same in Austria, maybe it would have crashed anyway.

        • ClausewitzTheMunificent

          Unlikely, I think. The internal forces in the 2nd Reich towards instability were far too weak to break down the Army, the Civil Service, and public morality. Moreover, there was no huge economic crisis. Also, I did a study of Austria-Hungary, and concluded, yes things were worsening, but they did so on a periodic basis, and moreover, the South Slavs were just the last to agitate against the Emperor, first had the Germans done it, then the Hungarians, and the Empire had always survived. Fundamentally, without a huge perturbation/shock, there seems little reason for even the porous and disunited K.u.K. Reich to fall apart. It took 4,000,000 killed and millions starving for this to happen. The German aristocracy may have had a poor influence on the country, through the Kaiser, but Kaisers come and go, the Prussian Civil Service remained!

  • Simon_in_London

    “England’s allies, such as the Yanks in the first world war”

    I’d have a lot more respect for you if you’d said the French.

  • StJohnMalta

    Taki belongs to the dying specie of European Traditional White Christian men who have not fallen into ”modern” degenerate sodomite-multicultural-self hating propaganda of the last 40 years. There is not a single Western media,Financial institution,Film studio, political party that is not a puppet of cultural globalist marxist Neocons . Pat Buchanan,Gerald Warner,Taki,Thomas Fleming, Joe Sobran will be remembered as the last great generation of Western men i.e. true paleoconservative, ethnocentric, pro Christian, pro family , pro tradition , anti multicults, anti cultural marxists.

    • jjjj

      Oh dear. To see such ravaged brain in meltdown. What a sight to behold. What paranoia. The fact is that Taki has been writing this stuff for years and it doesn’t look like he’s lost his job, does it? You must be new here.

  • kinghmong

    This man is retarded. If you really believe that the Israeli lobby controls this country you need to have your head examined.

    • StJohnMalta

      ”The programme-makers describe the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) as beyond doubt the most well-connected and probably the best funded of all Westminster lobbying groups. 50% of MPs in the shadow cabinet are Conservative Friends of Israel members, according to Channel 4’s Dispatches”
      http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/nov/16/pro-israel-lobby-conservatives-channel4-dispatches
      The most important members of a modern political party are the fundraisers. The most powerful for Conservatives they are Lord Feldman, Lord Finkelstein and Grant Shapps. Labour’s biggest fundraiser are Lord Levy and Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) of which Lord Janner,Mendelsohn and Baron Jonathan Mendelsohn and Peter Mandelson are prominent members .

      • kinghmong

        Another genius appears. I suggest you get your head out of your ass and face reality. The Jews do not control the UK or the US.

        • StJohnMalta

          You should go out of your JIDF basement, and understand that truth always prevails.

          • kinghmong

            The truth is that you are a sad little moron, spreading lies and stupidity.
            Sent from my mobile device. Expect typos.

          • jjjj

            His lot a are dying breed. Let them have their last pathetic roar as the sun dims on them.

          • jjjj

            Shame the Jews didn’t really control this country. Far better than the Qataris and Saudis who really own this joint. Go figure, as Taki says.

      • Fritz123

        And what is their real effect if there is any?

    • tps

      Just an anti-semetic screed. I am sorry I wasted five minutes of my life reading it.

      • kinghmong

        Agreed. The saddest part is the chorus of useful idiots amending this guy.
        Sent from my mobile device. Expect typos.

        • jjjj

          Most of them are commenting from their Pakistani cave.

      • jjjj

        Some of us have been saying this for years. His articles are a blemish on the Speccie.

    • Fritz123

      I fear Israel is just boring, nobody cares about it anymore.

      • kinghmong

        I wish that were the case but it seems that stupid Europeans are obsessed with it. One only need observe the reaction of the European left town he latest Gaza war. One would think that the death toll in Congo numbers in the mere dozens.
        Sent from my mobile device. Expect typos.

        • Fritz123

          A very boring argument.

      • jjjj

        …unless you are Taki.

        • Fritz123

          Well, not caring as punishment, of cause. Not to listen to them anymore. Taki does not write about Iarael but the world in general and there is the old saying: why do we care about Israel so much since there are so many other much bigger problems in the world? We did also care more about South Arica then we did care about whatever. But maybe the secret is that we care more about friends.

          • Keith Roberts

            You cared about South Africa when it was white controlled, do you care about it now that the anc is running it? No water for weeks, electricity cuts, unemployment, etc…

          • Fritz123

            I do and you are right. We have allways to look at both sides. Thanks!

  • Roy

    Wellington had done all the work when Blucher turned up. Was he hanging back to miss the mess? Well, isn’t it the thing some generals are known for? Whatever his schooling Wellington was one of the best. Few and far between in the annals of many historic battles. It is an unfortunate fact of recent history, we think a Churchill, a Wellington, or a Nelson, or even some Victorian politician will ultimately turn up to turn the tide and give us a turn of events we can be proud of. Now the shocking story of England’s population being supplanted by the very rogues we so despised. The battles so fiercely fought to no avail. We die in our beds and let them take over.

  • Shenandoah

    I shan’t bother to read this through. For one thing, Bill Kristol (pictured) is to Taki-as-they-get as Socrates is to the plebs that read Aristophanes and found The Clouds good and sufficient. I know that will be over Taki’s head, so let’s just simplify it and say that he’s hitting at someone’s shin where he thinks their solar plexus should be. ‘More money than sense’ is one over-basic way to say it.

    No one learns from the past, T? Heck, you can’t think in the present! Who are you to lecture anybody? Kristol is an 800-pound gorilla of knowing and you are not even felt on his pelt. Find someone your own size to suck on. May I suggest a rat?

  • Robert S. Orr

    This article is gibberish. It makes no sense whatsoever.

  • Ken

    This man, as ever tells it as it is – what a pity other columnists are so misguided.

    • jjjj

      Does he Ken?

  • Shoe On Head

    brave

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Blücher was like the Yanks; show up late to claim the glory.

  • Rick Myles

    The USA will fall from within like all great empires. Israel has nothing to do with it. The Obama administration is doing a great job of hastening the decline.

  • Abu Liberali

    Khodorkovsky is a war monger, America is controlled by a Jewish cabal, and Putin and the Mullahs are just poor, aggrieved victims of U.S. imperialism. This could most aptly be described as the banality of a reactionary posing as a leftist.

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