Saturday, June 06, 2015

The Houthis And The Battle Of Britain

I would argue that this saying is at the heart of our foreign policy: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." President Obama is a big fan of it.

It allows us to take a hands-off approach to events around the world. It allows us to cut our military and reduce troop levels. It is also utter nonsense.

In the summer of 1940, the Luftwaffe and the RAF battled it out over the skies of England in what became known as The Battle of Britain. The RAF won, but few today know what a close-run thing it was. At the start of the campaign, the Luftwaffe focused on destroying the RAF. They bombed airfields and did their best to bring the RAF out into the skies for massive dogfights. Not knowing how close they were to victory, they changed their tactics in midstream and chose to bomb cities instead, thinking they could drive England to sue for peace by killing large numbers of civilians.

Just prior to that shift by the Germans, the RAF had planned to pull out of Southeastern England. The airfields there were in ruins and they were paying too high a price to defend them. Had they pulled out, it would have meant that German aircraft and English aircraft would have needed the same amount of time to reach London and other key cities. Coastal radar installations would have been practically undefended and knocking them out would have blinded the RAF planners.

But for a single decision, the moral arc of the Universe bent towards Nazism.

Dig this from today's WSJ.
RIYADH—Saudi Arabia shot down a Scud missile fired into the kingdom as Yemen’s Houthi rebels attacked several points in southern Saudi Arabia, the Saudi state news agency said Saturday, in the first time a Scud has been used in the monthslong conflict.
There is no moral arc at work here, just two nations - Saudi Arabia and Iran - at war through proxies. There is no guarantee the Saudis will win in the long run. There is no assurance that anything other than military might, the will to take casualties and the skill of the soldiers and commanders will make the difference. There is no arc of history at play here, just the same force of arms conflict from time immemorial.

We can be as understanding and open-minded as we like. The people of 1940 England were, too and they quite nearly lost the war.


Trigger Warning said...

"[H]istory is, fundamentally, the growth of human productive power, and forms of society rise and fall according as they enable or impede that growth."
---GA Cohen, Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence.

The moral arc is long, but historical materialism, and thus history, bends toward social justice. As Nancy Pelosi said, the loss of full-time work due to Obamacare is a "liberation" to follow your dreams. Neo-Marxism 101.

On Tuesday, a man "liberated" by Obamacare will be coming to mow my lawn.

K T Cat said...

If you're first quote was true, then the Roman Empire would still be around. Instead, it devolved into a pack of elites satisfying their every animal urge while the nation collapsed.

Hmm. That sounds familiar...