Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The World without America

Below is the latest ad produced by 18 Doughty Street and is titled "The World without America". The basic premise of this ad is I think fundamentally correct. We more than likely would've lost WWII if America had not got involved Europe hence Churchill allegedly said Pearl Harbour was the happiest day of his life because he knew the war was won. If America were not the unipolar power someone else would be, and, frankly, the choice is not particularly pleasing.

However, whilst the premise is right there is just something about the ad that feels odd. I can't put my finger on it. Perhaps it's the voice-over actor. I found myself sitting back not sure if I was watching something serious or satire. You may or may not disagree with me on that. Like I say, the premise of the ad is totally sound, the delivery this time left me wanting.

The great news is that embedded video is now working from Doughty Street.


Anonymous said...

We would have lost the Second World War if the USSR hadn't changed sides. It was Russia's ability to provide manpower to absorb German bullets that made the big difference twice.......I doubt the Western Allies could have withstood the entire Wehrmacht on the Western Front if Stalin had done a Brest-Litovsk.

Guthrum said...

hmmm- No Israel ? The forcing of a Jewish State on the Arab peoples may have caused a bit of instability in that region don't you think.

dizzy said...

So I take you think Israel has no right to exist but a state called "Palestine" which never had any borders but merely refers to a general geographical area throughout antiquity does?

Not being argumentative here, merely pointing out that the idea that "Palestine" was ever anything more than a non-border defined general area (a bit like say "The British Isles" is stretching the history to the point of intellectual bankruptcy.

dizzy said...

Might I also ask, do you think the world would be better without America Guthrum? because if Aemrica wasn't the global power the other choices are Russia or China.

Ross said...

Dizzy, to be fair, Guthrum made no claims about 'Palestine', the state or otherwise. He simply noted the friction that has existed since the creation of the state of Israel. It's a legitimate observation.

dizzy said...

Ross I didn't say Guthrum did say that. I asked him if he was saying that. As for this about friction that has existed since Britain created Israel it's an observation steeped in the myopic cherry picking of history.

Anonymous said...

Dizzy, I agree with you about the ad. America is generaly a force for good, though it's current president is a pratt.

On the Israel thing, Britain didn't exactly create it, it was a combination of things events and the UN that did that.

As to the friction there certainly is some in the area because of it. It part because Israel does not recognise it's own borders. (As in the border every other country bar the loons accepts)

Anonymous said...

If American did not exist then Britain would still have an Empire. It was repaying America after that war that bankrupted us, suez that humiliated us and American culture that rotted our brains.

Anonymous said...

We'd have lost WWII in Europe to the Soviets if the Americans hadn't been there to stop them, in my opinion. Personally, I think that Hitler's Germany was doomed when it invaded Russia.

It's interestng to think what it would have been like without America, although you can't just take out America's influence and achievements (good or bad, as you see it) from history and say 'this is the world without America'. The absence of America would presumably have been partly filled by others, for good or bad.

Guthrum said...

Dizzy, I find it difficult to accept the premise of this ad, sure the US has done some pretty good things equally it has done some dire things in the world. I have no intention of listing them. If America had not existed, it is not a given that none of the medical advances would not have happened, that Russia would have liberated Paris. It is a recorded fact that Eisenhower without reference to Churchill ceeded Eastern Germany and Berlin to Stalin. So perhaps if the US had not existed perhaps Prauge,Berlin etc would not have endured fifty years of poverty and state communism. Who knows. As sure as eggs are eggs the US will diminish as an imperial power, as all imperial powers do eventually, it is at that stage we shall be aware of what the world will be like without the US

dizzy said...

I think one look at the Soviet Archive shows exactly what would've happened across Europe had America not been presence.

The rest of your post seems to me to be the expression of anti-americanism that is the problem today. Perceiving the world though this prsim which didctates that hegemony is a bad thing and thus America is bad by virtue of it's dominance. Added to this the sheer absurdity of course that some people (not necessarily you) that play moral equiovalences between democracies and dictatorships.

The history of the world is the history of empires. If America were not the big one someone else would be. We certainly wouldn't be a fluffy utopia because sadly human nature doesn't work that way.

dizzy said...

What I want to know is why so many people (aghain not necessarily you) have such total ignorance of the history of the Soviet Union and instead see it as some honourable project that went wrong.

Anonymous said...

Without America there would not have been WWII as it was the US Wilson who firstly advocated self determination and ethnic states in teh east and then the US who refused to defend then via the League of Nations. Without the US Britain would have avoided WWII, Suez, the decline from Empire and the debasement of our culture. In short it would be a better world.

Guthrum said...

Dizzy, I think I would agree with your last bollocks statement.I am not anti-American, the drafting of the Constitution was a high point in Libertarian thought, and can be traced back to the English Civil War. Sadly since World War II I am not so sure that America has lived up to the ideals of its founding fathers, this president certainly has not, at home and abroad. As to Russia, I spent a good deal of my post graduate studies on this subject, so I hope I have a valid perspective.I also work as a consultant for a UK company working in Russia, and in South Africa which did not exactly enjoy US/UK support in its attempts to throw off apartheid.
The Russian State from 1921 was never a monolithic state, the CPSU always had competeing factions within it, even Stalin was forced to appeal to Russians to fight for Mother Russia not the party in 1943 when their back was against the wall. The central premise of the Ad is that the US is an unquivocal force for good in the world. It is an Ad so it promotes its product. I just think that the situation is far more complicated than America good,Russia bad.

Raedwald said...

The US has many enviable attributes; the degree of social mobility, local control of tax-funded services, a freedom of speech we simply don't have in the UK and many others.

Our peoples share strong bonds of culture, language and heritage. We share values - that democracy is essentially good, that citizens should be free etc.

None of which means that we have to agree with the US on foreign policy. Yougov poll last year; only 11% of Brits think the US is a 'beacon of hope' for the world - 77% don't. And on and on - we believe that the US is destabilising the ME, only 12% of us think the US can deal with world problems, another poll suggests we think the US is the biggest threat to world peace.

This is not anti-americanism. Despite all of the above, 70% say we like Americans.

We need to be careful not to get into the anti-semite trap (i.e. calling every critic of Israel an anti-semite) - you *can* be critical of US policy and behaviour without being anti-american.

dizzy said...

yes you can, the problem is shifting goalposts. For example, those blaming the mess in Iraq right now on the US and calling for withdrawal would blame the mess in Iraq on the US becaise of them withdrawing if they ever did.

There is a default viewpoint that exists thoughtout the media that perceives the US in a negative luight in all circumsatnces and shifts arguments to fit that paradigm of thought.

Take Robert Fisk, or Patrick Cockburn as examples. You know, no matter what, that in whatever they write at whatever time, the reason for anything bad in the world ever happening will be because of America.

The argument that criticism of policy is not the same as criticism of people is only valid when the totality of many opinions is taken into account.

The polling you give is a good example. If America acts in the world she is considered wrong and imperial. If she doesn't act she is considered wrong and uncaring.

Sorry but I had an epiphany about five years ago on this matter. Anti-americanism is very real, and it flows throughout the dominant meme of what passes as the intellectual meandering of the chattering classes today.

You won't notice it if you look at things in isolation - Fisk is a great example of that - but you will notice it if you take a moment to research the dominant theme throughout virtually all foreign policy debates which involve the US as a player - especially in Europe.

Croydonian said...

While I ponder on the more serious issues, eight words:

Little but British folk music on the radio.

Guthrum said...

I like Folk Music !

Agree that that default of European 'intellectual' thought is anti US, ditto other commentators that you mention.

I have had the pleasure of having two American guests here for the weekend, they acknowledged that the power brokers on the Hill are from a very small pool of people usually with some lobby interest to promote, and that the USA has gone from an anti imperial power looked upto by the developing world around the time of Suez to the situation were the US is now perceived as an international bully boy.

Anonymous said...

To draw these two thread together, I think British opinion towards America has turned upsidedown in the last 50 years. The traditional right have disaproved of America going way back to President Wilson, US isolation in the 30's, the anti British behavior of Kennedy senior, the bullying of Churchill over India, snobish views on US culture and above all else Suez.

The Left conversly aproved of US views on the British Empire and US popular culture but became increasingly anti American by the Regan years for economic reasons and now hate Bush and US interventionism. Just as the left now hate the US the (new)right in Britain have learnt to love its economic liberalism and now have fewer cultural hang ups.

Therefore it is right that the US was the kiss of death to the British Empire, it is just some people like this and some don't.

komadori said...

I think the advert fails because it extrapolates too far. It is just not believable. For example, the combination of Margaret Thatcher 'arriving in her ministerial Lada' and Arnie as 'president of Austria' is stretching credulity too far. Using just one of these in that scene would have made the point without making it seem totally silly.

Anonymous said...

Oh come off it Dizzy, if we'd won the War of Independence we'd have been much better off!