Red carpet

Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context. 


14 March 2012

We refer below to the writings of 18 C radical Tom Paine on a day when US President Barack Obama has rolled out the red carpet for British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is being honoured with a 19-gun salute and a state banquet at the White House on his official three-day visit to the States.

The overt purpose of this lavish reception, described in the Guardian as “the grandest welcome of any world leader in Washington this year”, is to celebrate the so-called “special relationship” between Britain and the United States.

The covert purpose is to plan the retreat of western occupation forces from Afghanistan. The occupation is ending in the humiliating defeat of the most technologically advanced troops in the world by a motley crew of ragtag guerrillas whose only equipment is out-of-date rifles and home-made fertilizer bombs.

As most of the world now knows, last Sunday 11 March 2012 a US soldier shot dead 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children and three women, in a murderous rampage near his base in southern Afghanistan. This comes in the aftermath of other widely-publicised scandals, including US soldiers killing three Afghan civilians for sport, US marines urinating on the bodies of three dead rebels, and the burning by US troops of copies of the Qu’ran.

This is the monument that the western occupation forces will be leaving behind them after over 1o years of non-stop warfare in central Asia.

Time to go home, dudes. Time to throw in the towel.

Vietnam II is over. You lost the first time. Now you’ve lost again. With your “special relation”, the Brits, at your side as ever, plus a coalition of troops from up to 46 other US satrapies, all of them willing to sacrifice the lives of their own young combatants in order to curry favour with the boss nation.


The following passage is from page 350 of ‘A History of Western Political Thought’ (1996) by J.S. McClelland, senior lecturer in politics at Nottingham University. McClelland is summarising arguments developed by Norfolk-born radical thinker and politician Tom Paine (1737-1809) in his 1776 pamphlet ‘Common Sense’. Paine was actively involved in both the American and French Revolutions. The text is McClelland’s, not Paine’s.

“It is sometimes said that America has prospered under British rule because of the protection America has received as part of the British empire, but Paine thinks that whatever protection America has received was simply an expression of British self-interest. Again, it is often said that Britain and America together can face the world, but all that means is that when the British monarchy next chooses to embroil itself in foreign wars America will be swept into hostilities on the king’s coat-tails….A special connection with Britain, which is only a small part of Europe anyway, is in fact harmful to American interests. America has outgrown the British connection.”

 McClelland then quotes Paine, using the capital letters that Paine himself used for emphasis:


Comment by Antigone1984


Compared with Paine’s time, the roles of Britain and America are reversed in the “special relationship” between the two countries today. Nonetheless, Paine’s conclusion “’Tis time to part” may well still be valid. This time in Britain’s interest. Regardless of the razzmatazz today in the White House.


You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts.  For instance:

 1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)

2. Das Vierte Reich/The Fourth Reich (6 Feb 2012)

3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)

4. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)

5. What would Gandhi have said? (30 Jan 2012)

Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.




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