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William Hooper: “David Cameron Drums of War”

December 11th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

The following analysis came via William Hooper at the Oligarch. Much of it resonates with me. It is in response to the latest politics between the U.K. and the European mainland where U.K. is decidedly against Germany’s and France’s efforts in dealing with the Euro financial crisis. Hooper’s characterization, eloquently, of U.K.’s latest actions is apt too, in my opinion, of the prevailing mindset in the U.S. mass media towards everyone else:

Once someone seriously looses sight of everything except their own self interest, they become a “wild beast” held in check only by “fear of punishment” not “shame”.

David Cameron and the drums of war

Friday 09 Dec 2011

News: EU Agrees Treaty, UK left isolated (Bloomberg)

Yesterday, as a freak storm with 165mph winds hit the UK, David Cameron vetoed the critically important European financial stability treaty amendments Merkel and Sarkosy were desperately rushing through in Brussels. Cameron tried to take advantage of their desperation, he kept everyone up all night trying to win what we call in the world of politics “pork barrel concessions” for his country, but the Europeans called his bluff and agreed on a new treaty which supersedes Lisbon and omits the UK, leaving the UK looking more isolated than ever before. This short article analyses the ethics of David Cameron’s action, and looks at the possible implications for the UK’s relationship with Europe.

One of the things I have repeatedly pointed out on this web site is the fact that David Cameron has started to define justice as “Whatever is in British Interests”. When justice looses all divinity and revolves completely around the self all goodness has gone and we philosophers start talking about a slide to “tyranny”, and religious people start taking about a slide to “evil”.

Once someone seriously looses sight of everything except their own self interest, they become a “wild beast” held in check only by “fear of punishment” not “shame”. For example, in Plato’s Gorgias the inability of the journalist-politician Callicles to feel shame when Socrates ridiculed his arguments in front of an audience marked him out as a wild beast who had slipped into the abyss, whose last chance for salvation was the wrath of the gods, redemption by terror and suffering on earth until judged incurable, at which point he is allowed to die and cast into the fires of hell. This is why Socrates said anyone who commits an injustice should beg for punishment, dying unredeemed is the greatest fear, dying redeemed the greatest hope.

In order to understand this idea of shame and punishment, imagine a person suffering from a life threatening disease and desperately in need of medial treatment. He dials 112 but can’t get an Ambulance because the naive staff at Emergency Services have already sent out all their ambulances to treat flu cases, and now they have only one ambulance left, and there’re reserving that last Ambulance for cardiac arrest cases. So the operator tells the dying man to hail a taxi. The man then hangs up and flags down a taxi, please can you take me to the hospital immediately he half screams half begs. The taxi driver understands the severity of the situation, and says that will cost 100 euros instead of the usual 10 euros. The taxi driver is an example of a person who feels no shame, and an onlooker with no sense of “justice” would call the taxi driver “a good capitalist”. If the dying man has a friend with him, and his friend is both courageous and principled, his friend will be outraged by the taxi drivers behaviour and punch him on the nose. The Eurozone crisis is a bit like this, Italy is the dying man, David Cameron is the tax driver, the Telegraph Newspaper is the home crowd who feels no shame and are applauding his good capitalist blackmail, and the everyone else in Europe just retaliated by taking away his taxi licence, and now we are wondering whether they are going to punch him on the nose as well.

An Ancient Greek legend said that when Zeus made humanity he created but on law: anyone who feels no personal shame, or anyone who feels no urge to punish the wickedness of others, is a pestilence to society and should be put to death. The glue that binds human society together is made by the reaction that occurs when two substances are mixed together – outrage and shame. However, society can in fact survive with a few pestilent shameless wild beats inside it, because the majority’s love of justice keeps them in a state of perpetual fear, but as the proportion of wild beasts in society rises the end of civilization grows gradually near. So the Ancient Greeks said measure the strength and beauty of a society by the presence of “justice” and “shame” in its people – Athens was destroyed by the gods when the Athenians became “idle and cowardly, chatteres and money grubbers”.

The liberal ideologist Hilary Clinton will tell you this Ancient Greek legend is this untrue because in the 20th Century we finally found the holy grail, we reached the end of history, we developed universal constitutional laws that perfectly define injustice, along with police forces and law courts to enforce them, so Western society now runs on auto-pilot without the need for Zeus’s glue. It’s a flawed argument at the best of times, but it’s a completely absurd argument at the geopolitical international level. International laws mean nothing because laws can be “interpreted” by lawyers and diplomats anyway they like – for example, there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and Trichet raped the Euro’s constitution far more effectively than DSK raped the maid (Trichet, like DSK, claimed in his defence she looked at him with terrified stupid eyes and he knew she wanted it).

So when the geopolitical community looses idealism big countries start bullying small countries, and small countries find big allies to protect them, and it gets messier and messier until eventually world war eventually breaks out. As an Ancient Greek philosopher, my favourite example of this is Ancient Athens, the Athenians began defining “justice” as “self interest”, then they pushed everyone around and got very rich, and eventually the whole Greek world broke out in war, and eventually the Spartans wiped the Athenians out. Another example, of course, is 1914 Europe. Great statesmen such as Otto von Bismarck could educate his neighbours about justice in debate creating a consensus, keeping the world safe, but when Europeans embraced populism and replaced their grand old statesmen with a popular elite, opinions about justice waved, everyone defined it differently, everything fell to pieces.

Democracy is the slippery slope to self interest and self deception, elite democracy only avoids tyranny if the elite remain worthy, yet the elite today are sick and dying, they seem to have crossed the rigidity of a Medieval Ideologue with the stupidity of Facebook and Twitter. So as I have pointed out in the past the UK is gradually reaching the end of the slippery slope, you can see it in our journalism, politics, and rioting.

Now David Cameron has made it clear that he is no longer Merkel’s and Sarkosy’s friend, so now they will stop being his friend and ask themselves the question “What are the EU’s best interests as regards the UK?”

Kicking the UK out of the EU would would terrify the Greeks and make countries across Europe much more serious about reforms, would repatriate European financial services to Paris, would demolish the Gilts / £ safe haven and drive big flows back into the Euro Sovereign Bonds, would increase elite property prices in the EU, and would give both Angela Merkel and Sarkosy an enormous political boost domestically. Remember how the Falklands secured Thatcher’s election? Voters love their leaders doling out a bit of rough justice, and it’s exactly the sort of move that is in sync with the swing away from effeminate muddle headed liberalism.

From a philosophical point of view David Cameron is no longer Merkel’s and Sarkosy’s friend, he has committed multiple injustices against them, the right thing to do is to exile him, any other response would be cowardly and weak. It’s also in the interests of the Western World because democracy has to learn to behave responsibly and we need someone to experiment with economic crisis and new ideas, and the UK is the karmic epicentre of modern socioeconomic philosophy and therefore ideally placed to learn from it’s mistakes when it sows what it has reaped.

“May you live in interesting times” said the Chinese sage, well we surely do.

  1. December 12th, 2011 at 05:53 | #1

    Let me simply leave aside the bizarre nature of the commentary here (democratically elected leader acting in accordance with electoral manifesto = shameless) and simply say this:

    “May you live in interesting times” is not (as far as anyone knows) a Chinese saying and I’m surprised you would approvingly re-post an article claiming that it is without commenting on this.

  2. raventhorn
    December 12th, 2011 at 06:28 | #2


    And let me simply leave aside the bizarre indirect non-support from the “50 Cent Envy” Party, and simply say this:

    Reposting without commenting is not “approving”. I’m surprised you would comment on 1 English mistranslation by jumping into another. 🙂

  3. Al
    December 12th, 2011 at 08:30 | #3

    Of the whole article, all u are able to do is “comment” on a minor issue on the last sentence?? Which has more or less NOTHING to do AT ALL with the issue at hand…
    Empty day there, eh FOARP??


  4. December 12th, 2011 at 09:22 | #4

    “Democratically elected?” If you believe there is any country in the world that can be described as a democracy, you are more naive than I thought.

  5. pug_ster
    December 12th, 2011 at 09:29 | #5

    It is not surprising what FOARP is doing as he is trying to derail the thread, making snarky comments while ignoring criticism about Cameron altogether.

    In defense of Cameron, I don’t blame him on what he is doing. If the UK does ‘help out’ with EU’s bailout, it will put their economy in danger. UK’s economy is probably in worse shape than some of the European countries.

  6. December 12th, 2011 at 14:50 | #6

    Guys, I hope you know that all this brings a smile to my face. Pug_ster is actually right – our economy isn’t doing too well, and the new EU treaty would have done nothing to help that. On top of this, having promised his party, and run for election on the promise that no further powers would be ceded to Brussels without a referendum, David Cameron could hardly have settled for less.

    However, “may you live in interesting times” is a classic example of the kind of thing that people in the UK and elsewhere think is a Chinese saying but was actually most likely a product of a tendency in the early 20th century to ascribe all mysterious sayings of unknown origin to ancient Chinese scholars. It is not, as far as anyone knows, a mistranslation – in fact, it would not be hard to come up with an argument for how it’s continued attribution to the Chinese is an example of racism, if you were so inclined.

  7. December 12th, 2011 at 15:58 | #7

    A large portion of the U.K. economy is rooted in financial services. For U.K., it wants to protect the banks and fancy schmancy financial services firms by pumping in more money. This is the same strategy for the U.S. (look at TARP, etc). For the European mainland, their strategy is austerity. This is the tug of war between U.S./U.K. vs. the European mainland.

    As Hooper suggests, if France and Germany succeed in bringing more European financial services activities back to the mainland, I think it will indeed be rougher times ahead for the U.K..

  8. colin
    December 12th, 2011 at 16:33 | #8

    Yeah, FOARP’s just here to troll.

  9. raventhorn
    December 12th, 2011 at 17:09 | #9


    I would call it a mistranslation, but I would let FOARP be the expert nitpicker on that one. I have no desire to classify the various misquotes/mistranslations/misconceptions/mis-conclusions from Western history, (nor the reasons for all the various illogical idiosyncrasies of the English language).

    Needless to say, Dustpin, in it goes. That’s my filing system for things not particularly important to the topic.

    *As for David Cameron, Looking at FOARP’s fascination with the mundane details, I’m not surprised that such a “Democratically elected leader” in Europe would cater to all the IDIOSYNCRASIES of his voters.

    Not like he has any personal integrity and standards, he is just an elected “figurehead”. He could hardly exercise any brains to pick and choose his own policies. That’s WAY beyond the capabilities of Western leaders.


  10. December 12th, 2011 at 21:36 | #10

    @FOARP #1,

    About the quote “May you live in interesting times,” I don’t think it’s black and white.

    There are definitely lots of circumstantial evidence that it has Chinese origins. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_you_live_in_interesting_times

    Whatever the case may be, saying it does have Chinese origins even if it turns out not certainly should not diminish the credibility of the writer in any way based on what we know today…

  11. aeiou
    December 12th, 2011 at 21:49 | #11

    Since when did Britain not stand in the way of a united Europe? England has and always will be a cancer to an continental union.

  12. December 13th, 2011 at 01:14 | #12

    Max Keiser of RT weighs in:

    Paul Nuttall, who is a UK MEP, says David Cameron had no other choice but to veto the new treaty.

  13. raventhorn
    December 13th, 2011 at 05:37 | #13

    Leave it to the Brits to be the perpetual fly in the European ointment.

    Oh well, welcome to WW3 Austerity Warfare, European Theater.

    So much for Western sense of mercy and charity and good-will.

    *Imperialism may be exerted by different means, but it is always motivated by the Wallet and Pride. – RV 2011.

  14. pug_ster
    December 13th, 2011 at 15:00 | #14


    An article explains why Cameron is between a rock and a hard place.

  15. December 13th, 2011 at 16:10 | #15

    The first two comments below your linked article are also worth a read – this MJKT seems to have touched a nerve of MAIWAND:

    MJKT 7:57 PM ET December 12, 2011 Ideal association
    I know it’s naive, but I think an ideal close association between nations would be a US/Canada/UK/Australia/New Zealand association. It seems the UK would have more in common with this grouping than with the Continent.

    And then in response to the first comment:

    MAIWAND 10:49 AM ET December 13, 2011 THe old soap of cruel imperialism
    You should not forget that above mentioned axis is responsible for most of the miseries we see around the world- from Palestine to Kashmir, from suffering Africa in the form of human slavery to the tragedy of global terrorism in the form of Pakistan, not forgetting what happened to poor Irish in the form of imposed famine and struggling Scots- all but an evil legacy of BRITISH EMPIRE that has contributed to human sufferings on all continents far greater than any empire or authority has ever inflicted on human race!The world doesnt want to see that again.
    Much of what Uk had in terms of assets was the historic loot of what it amassed from various nations round the world- taking the form of voyage of loot by a nation and British museum library in the heart of London is a good examplary witness to that. The loot of the centuries has gone dry and now the country sits on the brink of bankrupcy.
    Uk suffers from self created grandiosity delusions which is not more than history of pure loot and cold blood shed of human race across all continents that continues to this day!!!!!!!!!!!!
    There is nothing to be proud of this historical past of loot and genocide.Yet today, Uk wants to be known as the torch-bearer of democracy, HUMAN RIGHTS and so called civilisation , none of which belongs to UK. Lets face the truth, though its extremely bitter!!

  16. December 14th, 2011 at 05:43 | #16

    Not surprised at this. All along, the impression is that Britain did not join the EU willingly. They did so out of necessity to save their economy which was based on inter-Commonwealth trade. If they had a choice, they would have maintained the colonizer vs. colonized relationship. Anyone can see that being top dog confers economic and political benefits one cannot hope to get from membership in a federation of equal nations like the EU.

    Also, there are geopolitical and psychological reasons behind Britain’s detachment from the EU. Most island nations around the world tend to act similarly. Other examples include Japan vs. mainland countries in East Asia, and The Philippines vs. the rest of Southeast Asia. –In a nutshell, island nations are afraid of being cannibalized by the larger entity.

  17. December 14th, 2011 at 05:50 | #17

    yinyang :
    Max Keiser of RT weighs in:

    Max Keiser comes across to me as a nut case, one of those conspiracists who sees NWO at every turn. He is the RT version of Glenn Beck.

  18. December 14th, 2011 at 09:27 | #18

    Yeah, Keiser does come across as such. I’ve only watched couple of his videos.

    Anyways, I put both videos in the above comment – one of Keiser and the other of Paul Nuttall who is a British MEP – mainly to contrast how they position their views.

  19. Raj
    December 15th, 2011 at 14:36 | #19

    I’m not sure that I understand Hooper’s argument. If kicking the UK out of the EU would reap such dividends, why are we still a member? How does one veto turn a net benefit into the complete opposite? The argument just doesn’t hold water.

    And what “injustices” exactly has Cameron committed against Sarkozy or Merkel? He was elected on a platform of renegotiating powers from the EU, yet he has been very modest in what he has asked for. Up until recently he was being labelled as a sell-out by people in his own party.

    Traditionally the EU has not forced QMV on individual member’s core interests. So although financial matters are technically QMV, the EU’s “gentlemen’s rules” meant we supposedly had a veto. So why exactly did Sarkozy and Merkel have such a problem with formalising that? Was it because secretly they want to ram through changes and spit on those gentlemen’s rules? Rules that suited them well in the past, the French especially with CAP.

    Was Cameron’s veto a good thing? Probably not, but only in as far as it got to that stage. It would have been preferable if everyone had walked away satisfied. But I’m not sure how simply agreeing to the changes would have done anything for Britain, except the vain hope that pandering to France and Germany would have made them spare the City.

    On a related note, it seems like some of the 26 might have difficulty passing the recent changes. Another Irish referendum would sink it. And the markets don’t seem impressed, which would require another meeting. Cameron might be quite smug about his veto then.

  20. raventhorn
    December 15th, 2011 at 17:19 | #20


    Cameron may be pissing off his EU neighbors in the wrong time.

    Argentina might take another crack at Falklands. 🙂


  21. Raj
    December 16th, 2011 at 00:24 | #21


    What exactly does the Falklands have to do with the euro crisis and the UK’s position over that?

    Can I bring up the siege in Wukan and the lack of commentary from the EU?

  22. raventhorn
    December 16th, 2011 at 05:22 | #22


    I just mentioned it, as I wrote, “Cameron may be pissing off his EU neighbors in the wrong time.”

    Just not a good time for UK to be making fewer friends. Obviously, Argentina seems to be sensing UK’s weakness in the EU crisis.

    You might not think that’s relevant. I’ll let others judge that for themselves.

    *And sure, you can bring up “siege” in Wukan, and let others question your relevance. I don’t mind. (Nor do I mind backing up the relevance of my comments). 🙂

  23. raventhorn
    December 16th, 2011 at 06:52 | #23


    “And what “injustices” exactly has Cameron committed against Sarkozy or Merkel? He was elected on a platform of renegotiating powers from the EU, yet he has been very modest in what he has asked for. Up until recently he was being labelled as a sell-out by people in his own party.”

    I guess the “injustices” committed by Cameron is that he didn’t “sell out” ALL the WAY to EU, or as others would say, Cameron has thrown the EU/Sarkozy/Merkel under the bus for his own political career.

  24. raventhorn
    December 16th, 2011 at 18:23 | #24

    Oh, interesting,


    Argentina has proposed sending its athletes to London 2012 wearing provocative badges declaring the Falklands are Argentine.

    Last night Andrew Rosindell, Tory MP for Romford, said: ‘If this goes ahead, it would be a terrible insult to the people of the Falkland Islands, who have a democratic right to be British.
    ‘It is not for Argentina to abuse their participation in the Olympics and play politics. They should not be allowed to participate if they are going to promote an illegal political cause.’

    Mmmm… UK censorship, and practicing propaganda with Olympics 2012.

  25. December 17th, 2011 at 11:37 | #25

    It is always a problem when the foot is on the other side.

  26. raventhorn
    December 17th, 2011 at 19:24 | #26

    Uruguay joins side of Argentina, and raise the bet against UK in dispute.


  27. jxie
    December 17th, 2011 at 20:33 | #27

    Rv, I am glad you brought it up. This is one of my favorite topics.

    Argentina so far has secured the support of “G77 plus China”, which actually includes some 130 member states. http://en.mercopress.com/2011/09/26/g77-urges-uk-to-return-to-malvinas-sovereignty-negotiations-with-argentina.

    Last time when hostility occurred, Chile and Colombia provided support to the UK. So far Argentina has secured the support of all Latin American nations (from Mexico southward). During a recent visit of Argentina, Hillary Clinton urged the two sides to negotiation, which was taken by both sides as a sign of wavering US support of the UK position. Officially the UK has the backing of the EU (with Spain being the most doubtful one). As Cameron pissing off the Eurozone nations, that backing is probably now shaky at best.

    Interestingly, oil has been discovered off the Falklands/Malvinas shores:

    Argentina has affirmed its stand by intercepting Spanish fishing ships with Falklands-issued licenses:

    Meanwhile Brazil, the biggest boy in the block, is showing strong support to Argentina:

    Some British military folks are concerned:

    If you ask me, I think it’s high time for China to sell some fighter jets and missiles to Argentina and its South American neighboring nations, especially Brazil. China even can do a financing deal with future shared oil revenue, East India Company style (state/private cooperation).

  28. zack
    December 17th, 2011 at 20:53 | #28

    possible, but that’d require a major rethink amongst the leaders in south america; a lot of south american countries have been coerced into accepting US arms and tacit dominance, so something as trivial as buying Chinese arms and fighters will set klaxons and alarm bells off in Washington.

    if these countries are willing, then by Crom jets and arms ought to be sold to the ARgentines; after all if the Americans can sell arms to Taiwan (ROC), then there’s no reason why the Chinese can’t sell arms, tanks and ships and planes to the Argentines

  29. silentchinese
    December 18th, 2011 at 06:39 | #29

    On the other day on NPR I heard President of United States of America Barack Hussein Obama calling on the neighbors of Iraq to respect Iraq’s sovereignty.
    I could not hold down, and laughed and cried, at same time.
    Do people actually hear their own words any more?

    This is the leader of the most powerful country on this planet and would like every one to believe it is the upholder of all things great and awesome like democracy and freedom etc etc.
    and he , as part of the system that he belongs, and the entire system for that matter,
    has no shame.

    Sad state of affair in this world it is.

  30. December 18th, 2011 at 08:16 | #30

    The PRC has always supported Argentina’s position but provide nothing but moral support so far. The PRC always use the name Malvinas Islands.

    China does sell some arms and donated equipment to South American countries, mainly Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay, Jamaica etc. Mostly left leaning government. Peru almost bought Chinese tank but cancelled it due to lack of fund. T

    The most successful Chinese military export so far is this but pale in comparison to US, Russian, French and British export. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K-8_Karakorum

  31. raventhorn
    December 19th, 2011 at 06:42 | #31


    Quite interesting, but I don’t think China needs to get more involved. It’s enough that Argentina can stand up to UK with the help of her neighbors. That’s enough regional solidarity.

    It’s a really good showcase for the rise of 3rd world nations, not just China, to stand up to their former colonial masters.

    *On the side note, if UK bans the use of Argentina’s “propaganda” badges on Argentina’s uniform, it certainly doesn’t stop tourists from wearing the badges.

    Chinese Tourists, South American Tourists, campaign now by wearing “UK Out of Malvinas” T-shirts, etc.

    Why wait for 2012 Olympics?! Wear them to London now.

  32. jxie
    December 19th, 2011 at 11:40 | #32

    There are several Eurofighter Typhoons and a destroyer stationing in Falklands/Malvinas. If the disputed islands situated in Northeastern Asia and the opponent was China, Russia or even Japan, those military assets would not last more than 24 hours. Argentina though is hopeless to regain the islands militarily given its current strength. Even for Brazil, it will be a tough fight.

    Sun Tzu said 不战而屈人之兵, which if you think about it, it’s pretty much the same as “peace through strength.” You want to achieve your goals peacefully because war is costly and messy. Yet protest alone can never get the UK to sit down at the negotiation table.

    the UK defense budget is far larger than that of Argentina — Argentina will need the help from its South American allies. Their collective stand seems to be, no oil can be extracted by the UK before any meaningful negotiation with Argentina.

    The best jet-fighter China is currently willing to sell to the international market is FC-1, though there is talk that China may sell J-10B to Pakistan. J-10B with some of the latest 4.5 generation techs such as AESA radar argued by some is a better fighter than the likes of Rafale and EFT, though costs about half of the latter. China is unwilling to sell it to the international market due to, 1. It can hardly make it fast enough to satisfy the domestic need; 2. It is not comfortable to sell it before the next generation fighters such as J-20 are in service. However, the international sales cycle can be rather lengthy. J-20 is expected to enter service in 2017 to 2018. Now it may be a good time to start the conversation.

    @zack, there are a lot of actors in this space, and it’s hardly China vs. USA (or a reverse flip of the Taiwan situation). Each actor has his own angle & his own set of interest and goals. The game is pretty complicated. There is a huge pushback of the Monroe Doctrine in South America, but let’s face it, the doctrine is pretty much dead — Russia and Europe have been selling arms in South America. The US wants to secure the multi-billion dollar F/A-18 deal with Brazil, so it can’t afford to be seen as anti-SA in the standoff between Argentina and the UK. Yet if the Brazilian military may potentially come to the aid of Argentina, you have to wonder why EFT is being offered to them — well that’s the complexity of international realpolitik. If you don’t mind me being brutally honest, China hasn’t played the game that well in South America. China really needs to be thinking outside of the box within the bulk of which are Taiwan, Diaoyu Island and South China Sea.

  33. raventhorn

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