Friday, November 29, 2013
Island Disputes Part III: The Northern Territories
Later, in 1941, the Empire of Japan and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact in which both promised to respect the territorial borders of the other and to take no part in any conflict that involved Japan or the Soviet Union with a third power. It was signed in April of 1941 and was stipulated to be valid for five years, so it would not have expired until April of 1946. The Empire of Japan was scrupulously faithful to this agreement and this is why, for example, when her fellow Axis partners Germany and Italy invaded the Soviet Union only a couple of months later, Japan took no part. The only mistake Japan made was in assuming that communists ever keep their word or honor their agreements. In spite of the non-aggression pact, the Soviet Union agreed with Britain and America to go to war with Japan after Germany was defeated in Europe. Of course, because communists are as cowardly as they are untrustworthy, the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin waited until after the war had already effectively been won and after America had dropped one atomic bomb on Japan and one day before they dropped the second, to suddenly stab the Japanese in the back and invade the pro-Japanese Empire of Manchukuo. They grabbed everything of military or industrial value, looting basically the entire infrastructure set up by Japan before going on to loot, rape and murder the Manchu populace. Three days after Japan surrendered to the Allies, Soviet forces also moved in to invade and occupy the Kuril Islands.
When the official treaty ending the war between Japan and the Allies was signed, the Treaty of San Francisco, the Soviet Union refused to sign on, in part because the treaty did not recognize the Soviet right to the islands they had occupied. In 1956 a Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration was signed to end the state of war between these two countries prior to a permanent peace treaty, a peace treaty which has still not been agreed to. In the declaration the Soviets agreed to return the Habomai and Shikotan Islands to Japan to be carried out after a permanent peace treaty was signed but that has never happened. More might have been done at the time but the United States objected in 1956 and to this day Japan and Russia have not agreed on who should control which islands. Today Russia still claims that even the islands of Etorofu and Kunashiri are part of the Kurils and thus Russian territory in spite of the fact that, as mentioned at the beginning, the Russian Empire never claimed these islands and in their original treaty with Japan in 1855 recognized them as Japanese territory. The fact should also be reiterated that the entire Kuril island chain was not gained by Japan by violence but by peaceful territorial exchange and Japan does not claim all of these islands or the southern half of Sakhalin that was lost to the Soviets after World War II. All Japan claims is those islands which had been recognized as Japanese territory by Russia from the very beginning.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Flag Flaps, Part III, Australia
God Save the Queen! God bless Australia and keep it flying!
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
-Hilaire du Berrier
(Note: This is a monarchist quote, not a quote by a monarchist as I would not call Hilaire du Berrier a monarchist, however, he was certainly of the opinion that the monarchy was the right answer to the problems in Vietnam)
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Dealing with Iran
It is undeniable that there is much about modern western society that is disgusting and despicable, but the sort of fanatics in power in Iran did not just start hating the west since the ‘swinging sixties’. These are people who would have called the height of the Renaissance a den of depravity (all that drinking and art with unclothed women), who would find the Middle Ages morally deplorable (after all, there was dancing going on -with men and women actually touching each other!) and who were already screaming death to the “Great Satan” when Beaver Cleaver was on TV and Lucie and Ricky (a real life married couple) were still sleeping in separate beds and the word “pregnant” was considered too graphic for audiences. Anyone who thinks that devout Christians of the west could ever make common cause with the brand of religious zealotry practiced by the rulers of modern Iran is very much mistaken. If anything, they would oppose the restoration of a more traditional Christendom if for no other reason than that it would be a much stronger enemy to overcome. One can see this quite clearly in the sort of people they choose to do business with today.
One thing that can be said about all of those places is that they at least have self-interest to explain their actions. With the possible exception of Russia which, it seems, wants Iranian access for oil but which always seemed a bit absurd to me since Russia has such huge oil reserves of its own. However, countries like India and China need oil and just as much they need cheap oil and Iran is a place to get it. For Christians in the west, however, there is not even self-interest to be served by siding with or sympathizing with Iran, only self-destruction. Does anyone honestly think that if these radicals in Tehran had their way, they would only massacre the immoral secularists while leaving the devout Christians alone? Do not be absurd. The same rule could be applied to modern-day Islamic terrorists all across the board. Were they selective in any attacks based on the immoral culture of the west? Did they bomb the brothels of Amsterdam or porn studios in Berlin? No, they bombed passenger trains in London and Madrid to kill as many people as possible. Did they fly planes into the smut-producers of Hollywood or the “Sin City” of Las Vegas in America? No, they targeted the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Capital to try to cripple the country as a whole (and spent their last night alive in nudie bars watching infidel women take their clothes off -the stuff “martyrs” are made of). They have bombed Christian churches in Africa and would likely do the same in Europe were not for the fact that they are mostly empty.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Royal News Roundup
On the continent, the hits just keep coming for the Spanish Royal Family. Earlier the King was forced to give up his royal yacht to appease those who think the Spanish debt crisis is the fault of the monarchy and not the massive spending program of the socialists they keep electing to give them “free” stuff. Well, it seems that tactic came back to bite the Spanish taxpayers as they are now being sued by the crew of the yacht for wrong dismissal and the total amount being demanded is about a million pounds or 1.2 million euros. More embarrassing was the revelation that the captain of the yacht earned a larger salary than the prime minister and only took the ship out once last year to exercise the engines. For more bad news, accusations are now swirling that HRH Infanta Cristina and her husband failed to pay corporate taxes and even with the witch-hunt that has been going on, the state prosecutor is still being accused of showing favoritism for the Infanta for not forcing HRH to appear in court. In better news, HM the King went in for hip surgery on Thursday and at last report was said to be doing “satisfactory”. Also this week, TRH the Prince and Princess of Asturias were in Miami this week to mark the 500th anniversary of Florida, formerly a Spanish colony. The mayor gave them the keys to the city and the heir to the Spanish throne opened a book fair. Unfortunately, it has always seemed to me that the Spanish royals have never been given nearly enough attention or entirely proper treatment on their many visits to formerly Spanish areas of North America. Not that I’m bitter at all…
And, for some happy news, Their Majesties the new King and Queen of The Netherlands were in the Caribbean this week for a tour of the Dutch West Indies. The Orange royals got a warm reception and while Queen Maxima was, as usual, noted for her style, King Willem-Alexander was noted for his gallantry, springing into action to shield his Queen consort from a particularly obtrusive Argentine reporter. Good job there. In other news the Grand Ducal couple of Luxembourg visited the Republic of Turkey, the Grand Duchess bringing some cheer to some of the Syrian refugees forces to seek shelter in Turkey. During the visit Grand Duke Henri voiced his support for Turkey being admitted into the European Union -which is sure to upset some in Europe and it would upset the Turks as well if they knew what was good for them. Elsewhere in the royal world, the Grimaldis were out in glamorous force to celebrate National Day this week. Princess Stephanie, Princess Caroline, Princess Charlene and Prince Albert II were all on hand for the mass of thanksgiving but of the Casiraghi trio only Pierre was present with newlywed father Andrea absent and mother-to-be Charlotte skipping out as well. U.S. President Obama met with King Mohammed VI of Morocco this week, praising the monarch for his leadership in “deepening democracy”.
In East Asia there was not much major royal news this week. The most talked about thing was Democrat faux-royal Caroline Kennedy arriving in Japan to take up her new post as Ambassador and presenting her credentials to HM the Emperor. Her initial speech upon arrival was less than stellar, mumbling a word of greeting in Japanese along with an awkward shrug (she doesn’t speak the language) before mentioning how much her father wanted to be “the first U.S. President to visit Japan” which shows, evidently, that America’s new ambassador to Japan is completely unaware that the first President to visit Japan was Ulysses S. Grant in the 19th Century. But still, she’s a Kennedy so that didn’t phase the cheering crowds. Of course she took the elaborate horse-drawn carriage to the Imperial Palace to present her credentials and I always love that part, especially when it is a super-liberal ambassador from a republic because every ambassador has their choice of a simple car ride or the horse-drawn carriage and they *always* pick the horse-drawn carriage, no matter how much they claim to be liberal, egalitarian republicans. In all the glowing press accounts most did at least mention that some responsible people in Japan have some concerns about choosing a celebrity rather than someone with actual (heck, *any*) diplomatic experience for the post at a time when North Korea is causing problems, China is expanding militarily and the leader of South Korea is refusing to even speak to the Prime Minister of Japan. It could be a problem.
Finally, I saved the worst for last and this story comes from Australia. The current Governor-General of Australia, the representative of HM the Queen, Quentin Bryce (and I though Quentin was a boy’s name) who is set to leave office in March of next year (offering her resignation after her politician son-in-law was elected boss of the main left-wing party), came out as a republican. The current, conservative Prime Minister, defended the Governor-General in remarks, saying it was common for an outgoing G-G to make their political positions known, which is true, but most do not out themselves as traitors and total hypocrites. That is what this disgusting woman is, a liar, a traitor and a hypocrite. After all, does anyone honestly think she just became a republican in the last few weeks or months? No, and frankly it should not surprise anyone as her entire career can be summed up as being a cheerleader for “equality” causes. She was a republican traitor all along, she was a republican when she hypocritically accepted the post of being Her Majesty’s representative in Australia and she was a republican when she perjured herself in taking the oath of allegiance to HM the Queen of Australia. Moreover, as I have said many times before, the entire, absurd argument of these disgusting people makes no damn sense at all!
She said she hoped to live to see the day when a young Australian boy or girl could grow up to be the first Australian head of state. And just to make sure there was no doubt about where she was coming from, she came out in favor of homosexual “marriage” at the same time -and she‘s a Catholic so double-hypocrite on that one. This really, really disgusts me and I am sure I will never understand the mentality. Why an Australian-born head of state? I just don’t understand the idea of HM the Queen as a “foreigner”. The Queen looks like most Australians, speaks the same language as most Australians, worships the same God most Australians worship and has a history shared with Australia. How and why is she considered so foreign just because of what bit of land she was born on? And to drag some others into this, which I probably shouldn’t, think about Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and how she is so beloved and popular in Australia. Do these republican xenophobes think it is appropriate for Denmark to have an Australian Queen consort instead of a Danish one? Oddly enough, the decent Danes do not seem to mind and have been pleased to welcome Crown Princess Mary into the national family. So why are so many in Australia so much less kind? It should go without saying that I think Bryce should be driven from office immediately. If I had my way she would be arrested on brought up on charges of perjury and treason but, rest assured that won’t happen as it seems no countries in the First World at least even believe in such a thing as treason anymore.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Christ the King
Friday, November 22, 2013
Why I Will Not Join In Kennedy Worship
Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and from the political left as well as the right, ‘Kennedy worship’ has been in overdrive. The airwaves are full of tributes of that ‘magical’ time of “Camelot” with that darling liberal family becoming American royalty. The tales of perfection are never ending. How the Kennedy clan is the quintessential American story, poor Irish immigrants, fleeing British oppression, coming to America for freedom, working hard, becoming extremely wealthy and entering politics to “give back” to the country that has made their success possible. Frankly, it’s enough to make me sick. I will not be joining in with this Kennedy love-fest and the most simple answer as to why should be clear enough. I am a monarchist and heaping adulation and hero worship on a republican politician is not on my list of priorities. I consider the list of American presidents to be a sorry collection overall and even the few I consider comparatively better than others I could never bestir myself to actually admire, defend or praise and commemorate. However, to my surprise, some monarchists apparently adore JFK and the Kennedy clan that has remained in power ever since, benefiting from the myth-making surrounding their fallen hero. This surprised me, especially coming from admirers of the British Empire (something Kennedy opposed) and the tenacious defense of Kennedy by some. Having taken on other beloved American presidents in the past, not excluding Washington and Lincoln, perhaps I should explain what some of my problems with Kennedy are. His sincere worshippers will surely not be moved by this, most have no recollection of the “Camelot” days and even then it was more form than substance but, just in case there are some open to persuasion, here are the reasons why this monarchist has no love for the late President Kennedy.
First of all, I am no fan of the nest that Kennedy hatched from. The rise of the family under Joe Kennedy was no success story of hard work and fair play but rather of political intrigue, corruption and making a fortune on bootlegging during prohibition. Joseph and John F. Kennedy, however, had relatively little in common save for the fact that no woman was safe around either of them. JFK was born in 1917 and named after his grandfather, Boston mayor and later Congressman John F. Fitzgerald who was a lifelong supporter of Irish republicanism and published a weekly newspaper devoted to denouncing the British monarchy called “The Republic”. Joe Kennedy, who hungered for recognition and acceptance from the elites of Wall Street and London, tried to distance himself from his Irish dissident background but John F. Kennedy was the total opposite. Still, his father helped get him elected to Congress and later the Senate by building him up as a war hero. He had earlier purchased John a commission in the Navy and when sent to war his torpedo boat was run over by a Japanese destroyer and cut in half. And, when you’re a Kennedy, getting run over by a ship larger and slower than your own is enough to qualify for “war hero” status.
From his earliest days in office, touring Asia and the Middle East in 1951, JFK was an avowed enemy of the British Empire. In his radio report to the home front, he decried, “Our intervention in behalf of England’s oil investments in Iran” referring to the aid the U.S. and U.K. gave to the restoration of the Shah of Iran who had been driven out by his premier who had nationalized the oil industry, most of which was British-owned. The depth of opposition to the British Empire Kennedy had can be seen in the pages of his book, “Profile in Courage” in which the nominally Catholic Kennedy praises the Puritanical John Quincy Adams for his refusal to, “yield his devotion to the national interest for the narrowly partisan, parochial and pro-British outlook which dominated New England’s first political party”. In a St Patrick’s Day speech in Chicago in 1956 he called on the local Irish-Americans to broaden their opposition to the British Empire in Ireland to revive the American ‘revolutionary heritage’ and apply it around the world against all empires. The following year, in a speech called “Imperialism the Enemy of Freedom” in the Senate, he demanded that the U.S. take the side of the Algerian rebels against the French and decried the resources the Eisenhower administration had given to support the French in Vietnam and the last Vietnamese Emperor.
Anglophiles in the Democratic Party disapproved as of course did the French and the British who were trying to maintain themselves. However, not long after, Charles de Gaulle became President of France, gave up on Algeria and withdrew France from its imperial alliance with Great Britain. This was nothing new however. In his very first political speech, Kennedy said that the only solution to the problems in Ireland were for the end of partition and the removal of the British Crown from any part of the island. For the sake of good relations, he avoided the subject publicly after becoming president, but from his earliest speeches throughout his political career there is no doubt he wanted the British Crown out of Ireland and most anywhere else in the world as well. As an admirer of the British Empire, that does not impress me much, nor does his much vaunted record of anti-communism. Kennedy was elected to office promising to negotiate a peace with the Soviet Union and the first fiasco he had to deal with was the Bay of Pigs invasion. He did not plan it, nor has he ever been held responsible for it but it was Kennedy who called off the scheduled air strikes so as to boost his absurd claim that ‘America had nothing to do with it’. All this accomplished was to make the communists view Kennedy as someone they could push around, and they were not incorrect in that assessment.
Kennedy wanted to show he was tough and thought Indochina would be the place to do it. First up was the Kingdom of Laos where a communist insurgency was underway. However, Kennedy could not bring himself to support the King of Laos who was tainted by being royal and by having been friendly with colonial France, so he made a 2-front war into a 3-front war. Rather than supporting the royalist faction of Prince Souvanna Phouma, he funded the formation a more faithfully pro-American faction under General Phoumi Nosovan. The result was a civil war no side had the strength to win until the victory of the communists in Vietnam allowed them to dominate the region and turn Laos into a puppet state. In Vietnam itself, Kennedy began by aiding the Catholic and strongly-nationalist President Ngo Dinh Diem, praising him as someone untouched by colonialism (unlike the former emperor). However, when the media (two individuals in particular) began to portray Diem in a negative light, opinion was shifted against him and his regime. When Diem refused to take orders from the United States government, Kennedy gave the word to the generals in Vietnam that U.S. aid would stop unless Diem was removed. Diem was not only removed but brutally assassinated along with every member of his family in the country at the time. South Vietnam never had a stable government again and the communists were elated, astonished that America could be so stupid as to remove their most dangerous enemy for them. No, a successful anti-communist crusader Kennedy was certainly not.
On other fronts, as soon as he gained office Kennedy began a personal correspondence with Gamal Abdel Nasser, the man who planned the overthrow of the Egyptian monarchy and an avowed enemy of Great Britain as well. Kennedy reversed the policy previously favored by Democrats Truman and Dulles and he actively took the side of Nasser and the Arab nationalists against the British and Saudi allied Arab royalists of the Middle East. He was also good friends with President Sukarno of Indonesia who brought an end to the reign of the Dutch monarchy in the East Indies. Even after being betrayed by their American allies, something Queen Wilhelmina had threatened to abdicate over, the Dutch monarchy of Queen Juliana still reigned over half of New Guinea. Sukarno wanted that for the Republic of Indonesia and President Kennedy was ready to help him out. He sent his brother Robert to the Netherlands to demand an immediate evacuation of Netherlands New Guinea and with Kennedy backing Sukarno who was threatening invasion, the Dutch were furious but had no choice but to comply. Afterward, the first lavish aid package for Sukarno’s government was passed a few days before Kennedy was assassinated.
Kennedy had opposed British influence in Asia, Africa and Ireland but for many Brits who had given up on the idea of the glory days of empire, that was not terribly important. Many probably never heard about it or would have cared if they did. They probably didn’t care that when Kennedy visited Ireland he took the time to meet with his cousins who served in the Irish Republican Army, after all, they were so charming and as long as he did not mention the problem directly it could all be overlooked. However, some people in Britain did manage to work up some anger when it came to Kennedy taking over British defense. It seemed to many in Britain that Harold Macmillan had signed over British security to President Kennedy with the Nassau Agreement by which American missiles would be used for Britain’s nuclear deterrent and the U.S. gained a submarine base in Scotland. The British nuclear subs were then to be assigned along with British bombers to a joint NATO task-force that would be under United States control, keeping all nuclear capacity for the alliance in American hands, something Kennedy justified as preventing “nuclear proliferation”. Many in Britain, however, saw it as the loss of British independence in military affairs and it helped encourage the decline of the Tory party. Kennedy would have been thrilled. Kennedy appointees Bob McNamara and Dean Acheson were both of the opinion that Britain was old news and in the words of Acheson, the “’special relationship’ with the United States…is about played out”.
All of that would be sufficient, I would think, in discouraging any monarchist and certainly any British, Dutch, Laotian, Egyptian etc royalist from being part of the Kennedy fan club. For myself, it certainly is and I can add to that my opposition to almost the totality of his domestic policies as well. I don’t approve of his economic intervention, I don’t approve of his immigration plan to shift from Europe to Central and South America, I don’t approve of how he dealt with Native Americans and I don’t approve of his social policies. I do not like how he distanced himself from his religion while running for office and I can certainly not approve of the flagrant immorality of his private life. Were there other American presidents who were worse? Certainly. There were also some who were better. What is more frustrating about Kennedy than other presidents who have been deified and have their own cult-like following such as Lincoln or Washington or FDR, Kennedy had a whole family to come after him and who have benefited from the myth-making surrounding their slain relative. The adulation he received and the elevation of his family to "royal" status allowed a slew of disreputable characters with the Kennedy last name to hold positions of power and influence such as little brother Ted Kennedy, an alcoholic who got a woman killed and who arranged for Gerry Adams to come to the USA for St Patrick’s Day, or daughter Caroline Kennedy who stood up at the last Democrat National Convention to voice her support “as a Catholic woman” for birth control and abortion being part of the Obamacare health plan. The idea that President Kennedy, who did little and even less of any good, while in office or his dysfunctional family in general could have so many ardent admirers astounds me. It always will and if some wish to join in the worship of him or any other politician, I cannot stop them. However, I will be having no part of it myself nor will I ever hold a romantic view of any presidential figure.
Monarch Profile: Emperor Tu Duc of Vietnam
Fortunately, for peace and order, imperial troops quickly crushed the rebellion and Prince Hong Bao was arrested. Emperor Tu Duc was inclined to inflict the legal punishment for treason but his mother, the powerful Empress-Dowager Tu Du, persuaded him to show mercy. In any event, it did not finally matter as the prince committed suicide in prison. The throne was secured but it was an inauspicious start to the reign of Emperor Tu Duc. In all the years since his reign, the image of Emperor Tu Duc has been subject to a great deal of distortion by many people. Contemporary foreign accounts tended to portray him as brutal, cruel and close-minded. However, the truth was exactly the opposite. Emperor Tu Duc was an upstanding Confucian monarch, a great scholar and generally was in every way what a good, traditional Asian emperor was expected to be according to time-honored values. Much of the “bad press” Emperor Tu Duc has been subjected to involves his treatment of the Christian minority. This is worth considering since it was, to some extent, the treatment of Christians that was used as a pretext for the French Emperor Napoleon III invading Vietnam and setting the course for the eventual French colonization of all of Indochina. Despite what many say, Emperor Tu Duc was not completely intolerant of Christianity though, like most Confucianists, he was wary of it.
Moreover, this was not an isolated incident. There had been missionary involvement, possibly backed by the French government, in several coup attempts and there had been many Christians involved in the initial rebellion against him when Emperor Tu Duc took the throne. It is unfortunate that the missionaries and converts did not refrain from involving themselves in politics in this way rather than working to show that they were loyal and that Catholicism did not contradict being a loyal subject of the Emperor. Yet, all too often many were inclined to join in subversive activity in the hope (usually naïve) that a new ruler would be more favorable and give greater privileges to Catholics. The result was that in 1848, at a time when it was hoped that France would be too busy in Europe to meddle in southeast Asia, Emperor Tu Duc decreed that all Vietnamese Catholic converts must renounce Christianity and return to their traditional beliefs or be branded as heretics and lose all privileges. He also cracked down on French and Spanish missionaries which brought western opinion down against Emperor Tu Duc, most having never heard of the previous intrigues against the Emperor by spiritual men trespassing into temporal affairs. The devoutly Catholic French Empress Eugenie (who was Spanish by birth) championed the cause of intervention and soon French troops were landed in the far south, Cochinchina, and began attacking north.
|French land at Danang|
In the years since, many accounts have been unfairly critical of Emperor Tu Duc. He was the longest reigning emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty and had to deal with problems and enemies of a sort no previous monarch had ever had to face. He was highly educated, intelligent and refined, devoted to the Confucian moral code and the traditional rites. Because of an affliction with smallpox as a child he was unable to have children of his own, though he had many wives and concubines. He was an accomplished poet and probably the most literary of any Vietnamese monarch. A French official who met him was surprised that he was so different from the beast he was portrayed as, describing his delicate manners, soft voice and comparing his features to those of an ancient pharaoh. If a wise and upright ruler had been all that was called for, the reign of Tu Duc would have been very different but, instead, his reign saw rebellion, invasion and ultimately the first beginnings of what would become the era of French colonial rule.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Royal Friends of Texas: Great Britain
|Baker's San Felipe flag|
During the 1820’s six Englishmen were given empresario contracts by the Mexican government to establish colonies in Texas but none did so. Beale’s Rio Grande colony included a number of English families and after independence the Republic of Texas authorized a large grant to the Peters colony in 1841 that settled large areas of north Texas and was named for English immigrant William S. Peters. It is interesting that, due to strong trade ties between Great Britain and Mexico, the Republic of Texas was not immediately recognized by the British government. At least not officially. There was a Texan envoy in London but, while everything worked as though there was official diplomatic recognition, there never was officially because of British fear of offending Mexico. It can, in some ways, be compared with the way countries today deal with the Republic of China on Taiwan without officially recognizing it as such for fear of losing access to the lucrative markets of the People’s Republic of China on the mainland. It was diplomatic recognition in all but name. Also interesting is that, during the war and after, Britain was the primary supplier for the Mexican navy. Because of this, all of the ships the Republic of Texas Navy faced at sea were British ships, some even with British crews and British officers all in the pay of Mexico. What is surprising is that, given that, the Republic of Texas Navy heavily copied the Royal Navy of Great Britain when it came to everything from uniforms to regulations.
|An early Texas flag proposal|
When Britain did choose to get involved on the annexation, it was after America decided to put annexation up for a vote. Mexico, despite losing the War for Texas Independence and losing another campaign to re-take Texas, still claimed that the Republic of Texas was Mexican territory and threatened war if the U.S. annexed Texas. Britain did not want to see a war break out that would be bad for business and was also not pleased with the idea of America growing even stronger by annexing such a large and valuable country. So, the British tried to broker a deal by which Mexico would finally agree to recognize the independence of the Republic of Texas if the Texan and American governments would agree that Texas should stay out of the United States. For Britain, this would be a win-win scenario, avoiding a Mexican-American War that would disrupt trade and giving the United States some competition for dominance of the continent. Unfortunately for Britain, and Mexico as it turned out, the Mexicans refused to ever recognize the loss of Texas under any circumstances and the deal failed before it could even be proposed to Texas or America. The result, of course, was the Mexican-American War in which Mexico ended up losing New Mexico, Arizona, California and even more territory as well as Texas so, in retrospect, they would have been wiser to listen to Britain.
|HRH PoW at the San Jacinto Monument|
|The Queen at the Governor's mansion|
|The Queen at the Texas Legislature|
God Bless Texas and God Save the Queen!
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
A Note on Political Realities
Unfortunately for Sweden, their Finno-Swedish foothold in the New World was not to last. In an effort to secure control of the Delaware Valley, in 1654 Swedish colonial forces attacked and captured the Dutch-held Fort Casimir. The Dutch got angry and retaliated, conquering New Sweden the following year. However, by that time, the Kingdom of Sweden had secured some colonial holdings on another continent. In 1650, still while Queen Christina was on the throne, a Swedish colony was founded in Africa on the Gulf of Guinea by Hendrik Carloff in what is now Ghana. The area became known as the Swedish Gold Coast and consisted of six forts and a couple of trading posts. The endeavor was backed by the Swedish Africa Company, founded in 1649 by Louis de Geer, and it obtained the land these forts and outposts were built on by a purchase from the Akan King of Futu. The Swedes were, evidently, pretty popular with many of the local Africans as they seemed to prefer dealing with Sweden over the Dutch or Danes. Several years later Ft Carlsborg (the oldest Swedish fort in the region) was captured by Denmark which prompted King Charles X Gustav to declare war on the Danes. The peace agreement made in 1660 called for the Swedish territory in Africa to be restored, however, it was discovered that the local agent in charge for Denmark (another disgruntled ex-employee but this time of Sweden) had sold the land to the Dutch and absconded with the loot to Portuguese West Africa. However, Swedish rule was restored when the local Africans rose up in rebellion against their new masters, driving them out and again offering Sweden a good deal to come back and set up shop again, which they did. Unfortunately, this situation did not last very long as only a few years later the Kingdom of Denmark seized the colony again in 1663 (though the Swedes made them work hard for it) only to ultimately lose the colony themselves to the British later on.
|King Gustav III|
St Barts was the most long-lasting Swedish overseas colony and it was quite a successful one. It was a very free sort of place with more personal and economic freedom that Sweden itself. An enterprising businessman could make a fortune on trade and, whereas Lutheranism was strictly mandatory in Sweden, on St Barts there was religious freedom and eventually many, many more Catholics than Lutherans. The Swedish government decided not to mess with a system that was working and so even employed a Catholic priest to visit the island. In time, however, competition increased and after the Napoleonic Wars ended and the contraband market died down, the economy on St Barts began to suffer. This was critical as trade was all the island had going for it at the time, unlike other islands in the area which usually relied on plantations for the backbone of their economy. When slavery was abolished on the island this lack of a market for manual labor meant many of the freed slaves ended up being worse off for lack of employment. The Swedish island in the Caribbean eventually lost its luster and in 1877, under King Oscar II, a referendum was held on turning the island over to France. It passed with only one contrary vote and St Barts has belonged to the French Republic ever since.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Favorite Royal Images: An American Classic
Monday, November 18, 2013
Royal News Roundup
Today, the British coronation is the only Christian coronation still performed in Europe with all other monarchs having a simple “swearing-in” ceremony (which sounds rather political) and the Pope having an “installation mass” (which sounds like getting a new washing machine). The effort does reveal the secularist mindset for all to see. They want the freedom to not participate in religious services, which they have, but then they also want to ban other people from participating in religious services. They say the coronation violates the human rights of the non-Christian and non-religious and yet do not consider secular ceremonies to violate the rights of those who are Christian or who are religious. They are also encouraging a total lack of freedom by attacking the symbols and traditions of the country and culture that allowed them the right to exist in the first place. This simply sends the message that if you value your religion, your traditional culture and so on, then you should not allow people of other beliefs into your country and you should not allow dissent to be voiced, because if you give them that freedom, they will repay it by trying to destroy that which you hold dear. If the coronation ceremony violates the “human rights” of atheists and non-Christians, my solution (even as a non-Anglican) would be to encourage all atheists and non-Christians who feel their rights are being violated to leave the country and shake the dirt from their boots as they do so. But, of course, I’m sure that would be considered terribly intolerant. Anyway, in lighter news, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall continued their visit to India and also visited Ceylon and both the visitors and the visited seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely.
Moving to the continent, the King and Queen of The Netherlands visited Russia and met with President Vladimir Putin. There was some unpleasantness as protestors hurled tomatoes at the Dutch royal couple while on their way to a gala concert in Moscow. Fortunately, no one was hit and two of the culprits (a 23yr old man and 18yr old woman) were sentenced to 15 and 10 days in jail. Were these right-wing Russian nationalists angry at Dutch interference in their energy industry or the trouble with the Russian diplomats in Holland? No, these were actually members of “The Other Russia” opposition party who blame, ridiculously enough, King Willem-Alexander for the suicide of a Russian dissident who was denied asylum in The Netherlands. Meanwhile, in Belgium, retired King Albert II attended mass for King’s Day this week, something which he has not done since his late brother Baudouin was alive. By tradition, the reigning King never attends King’s Day services but as Albert II is now retired, he was on hand this time while King Philip stayed at home. There was troubling but not surprising news for the Crown Princess of Norway who has been having severe neck problems recently, forcing her to cancel many plans. It was announced this week that she will be undergoing surgery to try to correct the problem. Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark arrived in Mexico for a visit on Monday and the Prince and Princess of the Asturias made a visit last week to California.
In Asia, President Putin of Russia called King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Sunday to discuss ways of easing the tensions between the two countries. Relations between Russia and the Saudi kingdom have worsened due to Russian support for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who most Arab monarchs would like to see gone, and over Russian support for Iran and the Iranian nuclear program. Saudi Arabia and most Sunni Muslims in the region greatly fear the Shia Islam theocracy in Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. Russia was sharply critical of Saudi Arabia turning down a seat on the UN security council and recent efforts at reconciliation have had no success. It is rumored that Saudi Prince Bandar, on a trip to Moscow, offered Russia a $15 billion arms deal in exchange for Putin dropping his support for the Syrian dictator but the offer was declined. Russia denies any such thing was even discussed. Across the continent in the Kingdom of Malaysia, AFP ran a story this week on the trouble being caused by the lavishness of royal titles in that country. Particularly the title “Datuk” or ‘sir’ has been bestowed rather generously so that some are now complaining that the title no longer is all that special. Allegations have also arisen of corruption in the way the title is sometimes obtained. Estimates of the number of people in Malaysia who hold royal titles run into the tens of thousands. Fake or purchased titles are also a persistent problem. And in Japan, actor-turned-antinuclear activist-turned politician Taro Yamamoto continues to be the center of controversy over the letter he handed to HM the Emperor regarding the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Many conservatives have called on Yamamoto to resign for attempting to politicize the monarchy while others defend him saying that what he did is being exaggerated in order to keep attention off of ending nuclear power use in Japan. Others, most outsiders who hold nothing sacred and want to impose their lack of values on others, say the whole episode only highlights how the Emperor is still too highly revered for a modern, democratic country. Some, of course, have, like always, brought up again the late Showa emperor, World War II etc. It all really needs to stop. Finally, in another break with tradition, it has been announced that HM the Emperor will be the first Japanese emperor in about 400 years who will not be buried. Instead, when the sad occasion comes, the TM will be cremated and placed in simple tombs within the Imperial mausoleum in Hachioji.
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