5 Days Until Ernesto's Graduation
8 Days Until Livy&Sharlene's Wedding
The Sick Men Assemble
Europe has two identities. The first is that of cradle of modern western civilization, home to cultural renaissance, pluralism, rights of man, religious diversity, and a home for freedom. Remember, upon the RAF's wings our century as we know it was saved in 1940. Our European allies have offered small but important military units in Afghanistan. Our NATO partners invoke Article 5, a symbolic gesture, but a crucial one nonetheless. However, there is another side of Europe -- arrogant, defeatist, appeasement-minded, xenophobic, repressive, and autocratic. It is this strain that Europe seems to be following, down the thorny path of enlightened despotism. Faceless commissioners micromanage everything from the volume of music to the labeling of cheese. On a more higher level, Europe lacks truly decisive power projection capability, content to whine, bicker, and oppose its closest ally, the U.S. The Israelis see this more clearly than even our own commentariat. In the UK, the assessment is even more damning. It is an odd development -- just as we conclude a hopefully progressive arms treaty with the Russians -- our western allies bang their proverbial shoes on the table. It is not so much that we have abandoned Europe -- our troops sit in Germany protecting it from an enemy that disappeared in 1991, our garrisons patrol the perpetual hot zone in the Balkans. Rather, it is Europe that has abandoned us and its sincere dedication to freedom. It is reverting to its shameful 1930s role, where few realized the danger and even less did anything. The continent's leaders have not completely lost their way -- there is still time to halt this deterioration in willpower and strength. The question is whether or not the wise men of the old country realize it.
The Sand People
Once I finish Alan Moorehead's The Desert War I'll write up a review for the blog. It is a fascinating read, full of bravery, tragedy, and excitement. The vast North African theatre was a desolate place in between battles and a furious arena of unrestrained violence during the fighting. There was the pristine oasis of Cairo and the shellshocked wreckage of Benghazi. Great generals were rendered impotent, others made famous, and yet others died before they ever had a chance to lead fighting men into the lonely expanse of war.
""I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian!" - Anonymous