America is not really very good at brinksmanship. For one, it goes against our grain.

We’re the only nation in the history of mankind who sent its armies, mostly volunteers, to defend, even liberate people not even related to us. That began when 6 million young men volunteered from one half of America to go free the slaves in the other half. 600K died.

That had never happened before…in over 5000 years.

And once done, the last player from that same generation that fought the Revolution and penned the Constitution, James Monroe, announced the Monroe Doctrine (1820) to the rest of the world, allowing Simon Bolivar over 30 years to lead or inspire the freedom of most of South and Central America from their Spanish overlords.

In the meantime, America pretty much kept itself to itself, pretty much doing what America has always done, exploring new frontiers and inventing better mousetraps.

With that in the back of your mind, I want you to listen to the words of the Irish songwriter, Eric Bogle, written in 1975, who said it was written to honor the Irish men who died in France in England’s behalf.

Over 49,000 Irish died in France on England’s behalf, but over 700,000 Englishmen died in France on France’s behalf. And therein lies a hidden message of “The Greenfields of France”, and why, as a general rule, Europe just isn’t worth it. Never was.

But by 1900 a generation of men (mostly) had risen who believed it was time for America to step out and take its rightful place in the World ( with a capital W).

Teddy Roosevelt was one, having shown his spurs in Cuba, helping liberate those people from Spain. But accidentally, I guess you can say, America itself became a colonial master (the Philippines), and then had to set itself on a 45 year project of trying to teach those Filipinos about “democracy” without having really figured out how the American formula actually worked.

This was largely because, by 1900, the American political had become captive to the intellectual thinking of eastern elites, who saw America as a shining city on the hill, only 90% of the American people were never part of that picture.

Woodrow Wilson was one of those elites and why 116,000 Americans died on those same Greenfields of France, only inside six months, just so, when WWI was over, America would stand tall in the new League of Nations Wilson had envisioned.

(It’s a another story worth telling, only not here, but Wilson would be denied membership in the world council he would design, because Congress refused to join.)


There was a joke going around during World War I that “France would defend France to the last drop of English blood”, and that original postcard I found in the Balkans (shown)

echo’s that sentiment, for the art can be interpreted that the French soldier is shielding himself behind a wounded Englishman, reminding us that 700,000 English died in France, plus another 260,000 from the British Empire and Canada.

As mentioned, America, who did not have a dog in that fight, other than Woodrow Wilson, who, like the rest of his class (they called themselves Progressives at the time) wanted to  insinuate America into the last year of the war just so the United States could have some say about the formation of the League of Nations, oversaw 116,000 men die from April-November, 1918, just for that vanity. (By comparison, America lost 292,000 men in 44 months of war, 1942-1945.)

(Barbara Tuchman, who I’ve mentioned before, wrote The Guns of August, which is cited as one of the finest histories ever written. -Recommended- It only deals with the first month of the war, after the Crown Prince had been shot in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. Germany declared war immediately and launched attacks in both direction, toward France and Russia. In less than 60 days the whole western world was at war, all because of personal commitments of all the royal houses of Europe, to which the United States and the MOPB (minder of other peoples business), Woodrow Wilson were not a party.

You could call this the “first reset”.

Jumping ahead 40 years, the United States became a Great Power in 1945 because it developed the atomic bomb, and used it to save millions of lives by defeating Japan without costing Japan a million more lives, and our own people many hundreds of thousands more. After all, we were not France, and had no one willing to shed their blood on our behalf.

Russia (the Soviet Union) became a Great Power in 1949, after successfully testing their atom-bomb, having first stolen the plans from the United States. Before, they had just been a big glob of dirt in Asia, wishing they could could get a little respect in Europe.

(It has been the same way with China, who has extraordinary skills in developing and expanding technologies others had created. But neither Russia nor China have indicated any skill at being able to take a First Step, of formulating an idea from whole cloth and creating something with it. This is not unlike the “geniuses” that comprise the World Economic Forum, about whom I will talk more at a later time. It will always be the great failing)

I’m not an isolationist, but I do think we need to return to minding our own business, and avoid commingling our monkeys with their monkeys in their circus.

Used to, we only stepped in because of a Higher Cause. And that was why people looked up to us. But we’ve been leaning this way for many years, as President Eisenhower warned. 


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