Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Beware the Politicians' Ploy.

Back in 1982 Argentina sent troops to occupy the Falkland Islands (or Malvinas to the Argentineans) which were British sovereign territory. Britain sent a combined army and navy task force to re-take the islands and a war was fought, ending ten weeks later with a British victory.

There were questions asked in Britain at the time – and subsequently – about the known and possible diplomatic and military manoeuvring which surrounded the conflict, not least because Mrs Thatcher’s popularity rating had been low before the war but rose massively as a result of the victory. That rise was attributed then, and continues to be attributed, to ‘The Falklands Factor.’

Because it has long been recognised that the popularity of a national leader gets a big boost from military victory, and so the suspicion naturally arises that taking the opportunity to go into a winnable war might be a ploy engineered to achieve that end: unite your supporters and detractors behind you in a common cause that will bring success to your country, and everybody will suddenly start cheering you.

And that’s why I think Americans should exercise a measure of circumspection in the matter of Donald Trump’s dealings with North Korea, and especially his ‘fire and fury’ statement which he made today. No doubt that statement alone has sent the rednecks hollering with ecstatic hubris and flinging their hats heavenwards. Let’s hope it doesn’t give Mr Trump too much encouragement.

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