Aside from SteynOnline's Bastille Day observances, the United States Government also marked the occasion by dispatching its representatives to the French Embassy's official celebrations for the fête nationale. They were led by America's first four-star transgender admiral, Rachel Levine, and Sam Brinton (pronouns: "they/them"), the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition. Like any red-blooded male, I'm very well disposed to Deputy Assistant Secretary Brinton's waist, but I've spent so much on fuel I don't have any cash to drive over and proposition them.
Whenever I post a picture of Admiral Levine's handsome beribboned bosom, I receive emails from irritated veterans anxious to point out that the Public Health Lockdown Compliance SWAT Team is not officially a branch of the US military. Maybe not, but its scorched-earth strategy on the civilian population has a better track record than shock-and-awe does in Afghanistan and Iraq. With hindsight the militarized dress code of American public health officialdom, which always bemused us foreigners, now seems eerily prescient.
UPDATE! This comment from UK Steyn Clubber Ian Chandler is very well put:
I must say, the remake of An Officer and a Gentleman looks rubbish.
~We have had some discussion in the comments about who is and who isn't a "serious country". If you know of any, you're welcome to make suggestions: Prudent persons of whatever nationality can always use a fall-back option. If you think the Bastille Day delegation suggests a fundamental unseriousness in the flailing hyperpower, well, I also receive comments from cunning Machiavellians who argue that it's all a tremendous head-fake to lull the French, and the Russians and the Chinese and the Iranians, into a sense of false security. Then wham! we've got them right where we want them.
If you say so. For my own part, I notice that great powers in decline tend to take refuge in dress-up games. It's a point I made en passant a summer or two back in The Prisoner of Windsor, but I first made it, as I recall, with reference to the first ever coup in the British West Indies - by Maurice Bishop's Marxist-Leninist "New Jewel Movement" in Grenada. Mr Bishop toppled Her Majesty's Government, but Her Majesty and her viceroy, Sir Paul Scoon, were happy to stay on as long as the dress-up continued as usual. Sir Paul played tennis every week with Mr Bishop, and the Queen presided in nominal council over a People's Revolutionary Government, until her revolutionary prime minister met the traditional fate. They got along with the New Jewels, as long as they were permitted to keep the old ones.
In the long decades of British imperial decline, there was a lot of that. America has no queens or princes, no lord chamberlain or silver-stick-in-waiting, no ancient ermined rituals, and so it has had to invent new dress-up games to cover the remorseless surrender of manufacturing, new technology, critical infrastructure, naval pre-eminence, farmland and the integrity of its leading families to China's version of the New Jewel Movement. As improvised dress-up goes, it's not unimpressive:
~Meanwhile, beyond the dress-up, China continues its world takeover without firing a shot - in contrast to the vulgar Putin and his déclassé warmongering. To Thoroughly Modern Milley and his beribboned comrades, war is just another form of dress-up but with butcher accessories. Yet the Chinese interestingly have figured out they have no need for it.
The favourite to succeed Boris Johnson as British prime minister is the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak. Mr Johnson's family was discreetly sinophile, his brother presently living under the ChiComs and his dad determined never to utter a word against them. Mr Sunak is rather more lucratively plugged in. As our friend Natalie Winters reports, Mrs Sunak (a citizen of India who pays no tax in the UK, despite her hubby being the bloke who taxes everybody else) is the daughter of the founder of a leading "information technology" and "digital banking" conglomeration:
Infosys is listed as an official partner of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which has been accused of seeking to develop the technological infrastructure to implement a global 'social credit score' system.
Mrs Sunak's family business sees the Chinese as the model to emulate when it comes to "digital identity" and the post-cash society:
The Chinese government in Zhejiang Province has developed an 'enterprise digital code' for just this purpose, responding to small and mediums banks (SMBs) with easy-to-access financial resources. MYBank, a subsidiary of Ant Financial, the Chinese Big Tech firm, collaborates with the Chinese government through this scheme to provide cheap loans and other financial products to SMBs.
Meanwhile, as we transition to "virtual" wealth, powerful Chinamen retain a strange interest in the old-fashioned kind:
Plans by a Chinese company to purchase land for a corn milling plant near an Air Force base in Grand Forks, N.D., is causing concern in Congress.
All these keen ChiCom farmers seem particularly attracted to the rich fertile soil adjoining US military facilities:
The former Chinese PLA General who owns 200 square miles of Texas land next to Laughlin Air Base is General Sun Guangxin...
But he has far fewer medals on his chest than Thoroughly Modern Milley, so I'm sure there's nothing to worry about.
~Speaking of Chinese geostrategy, if you're wondering why there's nothing in the above about Covid, well, there'll be time for that anon. As the editors of The British Medical Journal and The Health Service Journal put it, in a striking formulation:
Other variants will be ready for global distribution soon.
You can take that to the digital bank.
~We had a busy weekend at SteynOnline, starting with a roadside edition of our Clubland Q&A that, aside from the usual civilizational collapse, also included a look at the convoluted history of the James Bond theme. On Saturday Rick McGinnis' weekly movie date revisited his youthful enthusiasm for Alex Cox's Repo Man, and our Sunday song selection was also of nostalgic hue but rather more Gallic. Our marquee presentation was the first of our summer poetry-and-music specials, including my reflections on the fiftieth anniversary of a particularly appalling Ulster atrocity.
If you were too busy getting your monkeypox vaccine, we hope you'll want to check out one or three of the foregoing as a new week begins.
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