Mourning In America

A New York Democrat on politics, journalism, and the Mets

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Friday, January 16, 2004
Cranky Tories Berkeley Economics Prof Brad DeLong reports that some conservative circles in Britain are consuming themselves with concern that Britain actually lost World War II, because it emerged without its empire. For this, they blame FDR (aided by a recent biography of Roosevelt authored by Conrad Black), contending that the U.S. Lend-Lease program was insufficiently generous, and intentionally so, to deny Britain her empire and relegate her to the status of a second-tier power behind the United States.

DeLong masterfully dissects that conclusion, finding that the facts that Britain had 1/4 the population, 2/3 the productivity, and 2/3 the relative spending on national defense that the U.S. mustered were far more important.

But that's not the end of the revisionist paranoia. DeLong quotes a biography of John Maynard Kenes in which Robert Skidelsky suggests that Britain might have been better off had Churchill been less enthralled to FDR and more willing to examine other options "like fighting a more limited war, or even making a separate peace with Germany..."

DeLong, chanelling Churchill himself answers this contention eloquently:

Winston Churchill's Britain was truly a Great Nation because it placed itself in harm's way--when everyone else was running for cover--to fight and destroy Naziism. A Britain that made peace with Hitler in 1941 because American Lend-Lease aid was insufficiently generous would not be a Great Britain, but a Very Small Britain indeed.

As Winston Churchill said: "You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea and air--war with all our might and with all the strength God has given us--and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of all terrors. Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival. Let that be realized. No survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for..."

Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Suiting Up I've gone undercover in the vast right-wing conspiracy, guest-blogging over at Lighten Up, Francis this week. Here's my take on the Dan Marino hiring for the South Florida-centric among you.