He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.We are now a short ten months from the centennial of the Guns Of August, when the War To End All Wars began a terrible maelstrom that was to consume Europe, directly or indirectly for most of the 20th Century. It began with what can only be described as barbarism.
- George Bernard Shaw
The Imperial German Schlieffen Plan called for the capture of Paris in only 39 days. To do this, the Army could not afford the time to tramp through the wilderness of the Ardennes, but instead was to sweep across Belgium and northern France. The problem of the Treaty of London, guaranteeing Belgium's neutrality and signed by the Kingdom of Prussia - was solved by a handwave. Perhaps the quote of the war was from Chancellor von Bethmann Hollweg, expressing incredulity that His Britannic Majesty's government would go to war "for a mere scrap of paper".
But worse was to come for the civilians on Belgium, and soon. Belgium in 1914 was the World's 6th largest economy. The German Army dismantled most industrial equipment and sent it back to the Reich, along with not a few of the Belgian skilled workers. Arguably, Belgium's industry has never recovered.
But pride of place is saved for what is called to this day "The Rape Of Belgium". The Imperial Reichsheer was exceptionally brutal to the conquered population. It massacred men, women, and children in Dinant, Liège, Andenne, and Leuven. It burned the University of Leuven's library, with its collection of 300,000 medieval manuscripts. Nuns were abused and nurses shot by firing squad.
|Cartoon Thrown to the Swine: The Martyred Nurse (1915). |
The nurse is Edith Cavell.
Much has been made that the Allied propaganda was exaggerated and over the top. The problem for the Germans is that the story of Edith Cavell was not just widely publicised in Europe and America, but that it was true. There was quite solid support for German in the United States in 1914. Two years later, that support had dried up, even among German Americans.
The mask had slipped, and had shown - had presented facts to a Candid World, you might say - about the true nature of one of the sides. As the long dead Tallyrand might have summed up the Rape Of Belgium, it wasn't just a tragedy, it was a blunder.
We've seen this today (in fortunately a less sanguine manner) in the theater of government shutdown. Nevermind the propaganda, what's important is that the mask has slipped:
In the myriad actions the Obama Administration has undertaken in the wake of the government shutdown triggered by Harry Reid’s refusal to consider legislation duly and constitutionally passed by the house, it should now be obvious that it is the most spiteful, petty and vindictive presidential administration in history. It is one thing to play political hardball as part of the shutdown, it is quite another for Obama’s minions to go out of their way to inflict harm on innocent Americans because Obama isn’t getting his way.Lawrence has a long and detailed bill of particulars. You might call them facts, offered to a Candid World. They are repeatedly and completely damning, and entirely demonstrate the true nature of the beast behind the mask.
That is what Ted Cruz has forced to the public eye and consciousness. And make no mistake, consciousness it is and by intent. The current Administration wants to cause petty pain to as many of the citizens as possible. Tallyrand looks down (or up*, depending on your view of that late Statesman) and smiles.
It wasn't just a tragedy, it was a blunder.**
Cruz has caught Obama in a vise of Obama's own character: by publicly thwarting the President's plan, the POTUS' vanity demanded a public and vigorous response. But since Obama isn't very smart (and therefore doesn't surround himself with very smart people who might overshadow him), the response has been a rolling thunder of incredibly bad PR.
But the vise tightens, as to back down would be to be seen as a loser. Caught, like a beast in a trap beyond his intellect. Well played, Senator Cruz, well played.
It matters not a whit if the GOP establishment blinks, giving Obama a "victory". The entire brand of the Democratic Party is in shambles. Even people who don't care about politics care that dying World War II veterans are turned away from the WWII Memorial. Even people who don't care about politics care that the NIH has turned away children with cancer. Even people who don't care about politics see the futility - and the punitive rage - behind blocking off Mt. Rushmore scenic turnoffs on a public highway.
And even with the corrupt Mainstream Media, there's simply no way for the Democrats to spin this. There are pictures and video aplenty, appearing soon in campaign commercials painting the Democratic Party as the party of rage against the American People. And no fancy talk will overcome the image of ancient vets in wheelchairs, stopped at barricades.
This will energize the GOP next year, and will entirely demoralize the Democrats. The smart Democrats will be demoralized because they will realize just how stupid their leadership is; the less smart will be demoralized because they will be sick of trying to justify the unjustifiable. The elections of 2014 will be a landslide for the Republicans, and we can thank Senator Cruz (and Senator Paul from earlier in the year) for this.
I think that this may be the smartest political trap that I've ever seen in my life. Anyone who thinks any of this was accidental needs to think again, long and hard, about the wages of arrogance.
Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.* It is said that when Tallyrand - Minister to Louis XVI, Napoleon, and then the restored Bourbon Monarchs - was on his deathbed, he was visited by King Louis-Philippe himself. He complained that he "suffered the agonies of Hell"; the Sovereign replied, "Already?"
- Arthur Schopenhauer
** This was Tallyrand's comment on the occasion of having the Duc d'Enghen kidnapped and shot after a show trial in Europe. It turned the bulk of Europe's aristocracy against him.