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November 12, 2012 5:57 AM   Subscribe

Of all the countries in the world, the British have managed to invade or attack all but 22 (Torygraph), making the US look like absolute pikers. Somewhat inflated by the fact that the authors of the study counted everywhere British forces attacking, including pirate attacks on silver ships in the Spanish Main, not just those places where the UK planted a flag.
posted by MartinWisse (87 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
The British get around so much because they can stand everything except other Brits.
posted by The Whelk at 5:58 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The British never invaded Sweden? Not true.
posted by three blind mice at 6:02 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some of these are a bit weak, however. I mean, I can't think of any invasion of Portugal but the Peninsular War. And to call that an "invasion" seems a little off.

Also, Japan?
posted by Jehan at 6:13 AM on November 12, 2012


The British get around so much because they can stand everything except other Brits.

Actually mostly its the drizzle. Nothing makes you want to go out and invade somewhere quite so much as a week of endless drizzle.
posted by garius at 6:14 AM on November 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm surprised Sweden's on the list - you'd have thought they would have tangled once or twice when they were both imperial powers.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:20 AM on November 12, 2012


Somewhat inflated by the fact that the authors of the study counted everywhere British forces attacking...

Also somewhat inflated by the fact that many (most?) of those countries weren't those countries yet, in those particular forms, and just little bits of those countries at that, leading to huge swaths of pink where really there should just be a lot of little pink dots.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:21 AM on November 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


The list would be much more interesting if it included the countries Britain *did* invade, when, and why - as there are a whole string of places that I'm sure should be included in the 'did not invade' list.

But I suppose this list is the entire reason the book referenced in the Telegraph article exists.

I think I've just talked myself into buying the damn thing.
posted by channey at 6:22 AM on November 12, 2012


Yes, when did this British invasion of Poland happen? During the partitions, when Poland didn't actually exist?
posted by pracowity at 6:24 AM on November 12, 2012


You forgot about Poland!
posted by Egg Shen at 6:33 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't think of any invasion of Portugal but the Peninsular War. And to call that an "invasion" seems a little off.

I would say more than a little.
posted by adamdschneider at 6:38 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Lucy Parsons Bookstore crowd in Boston will sometimes pass out a list of places the US invaded, which includes such entries as Indonesia, 2005 (as in, the post-tsunami rescue operations in Aceh counting as a US invasion of that country).

And I yawn and get on with my day. And reason to pay closer attention here?
posted by ocschwar at 6:40 AM on November 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Also, Japan?"

Yup
posted by Blasdelb at 6:40 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, technically the British invaded/liberated Thailand. Like they invaded/liberated lots of countries in WW2.

Germany has invaded a lot of countries too. It still does. Its new tactic is to send large aircraft full of rotund retirees to take the beaches with rolled up towels.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:42 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, when did this British invasion of Poland happen? During the partitions, when Poland didn't actually exist?

I believe this is mentioned in the article, but as far as I understand author counted the modern day country for any location attacked, even if the political entity as it currently exists wasn't invented yet.

Personally I thought that was fair enough, really. You end up with inflated numbers, but otherwise you're liable to end up with deflated ones that don't reflect the geographic range of activity. Otherwise every fight with a French colony in Africa only counts as a blow against France, or the Zulu/Boer war doesn't get thrown in since South Africa the modern country was itself a colony of Britain and the UK hasn't fought with it since it became independent, and the true scope of their activities in Africa is substantially diminished in a way that to me seems less reflective of history than inflating it would be.
posted by Diablevert at 6:43 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's just dreadfully tempting, when you have Maxim guns and pretty much nobody else does.
posted by jfuller at 6:43 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm also surprised that Cote D'Ivoire didn't make the list, surely there were hostile anti-slavery naval raids at some point
posted by Blasdelb at 6:46 AM on November 12, 2012


"Also, Japan?"
Yup
Ah, we supported the invasion of Okinawa. Didn't know that! But I suppose it counts.
posted by Jehan at 6:47 AM on November 12, 2012


That Telegraph article is a bit of an embarrassing read. It's like listening to an old drunk guy at a bar rambling: "I used to be somebody. I could take you all. All! One hand tied behind my back. Both hands! I beat him up. And him up. And that guy. Wait, maybe not that guy. Yeah, I did. And the big lunk over there? Clobbered him. Clobbered him, I did. I used to be somebody. Will you buy me a round? Awww, come one, just one. I'm barely drunk. I'll take you! I'll bloody bash your face in, I will." And then falls off the stool.
posted by Kattullus at 6:50 AM on November 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Got no arguments from this little Indian.

/Dad's side were freedom fighters, jail and all
posted by infini at 6:51 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also somewhat inflated by the fact that many (most?) of those countries weren't those countries yet, in those particular forms, and just little bits of those countries at that, leading to huge swaths of pink where really there should just be a lot of little pink dots.

Not to mention that Britain wasn't Britain at the time, in some cases. For instance, an invasion of Gaul by the Romans who were occupying (what is now) Britain can hardly be called an example of British aggression.
posted by Infinite Jest at 6:52 AM on November 12, 2012


Crash Course: 19th Century Imperialism.
posted by The Whelk at 6:53 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


In fairness, it generally didn't end well and we mostly feel pretty bad about it.
posted by Artw at 6:57 AM on November 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


A more telling map would be how many countries the British have gotten drunk in and vomited on.
posted by srboisvert at 7:01 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually mostly its the drizzle. Nothing makes you want to go out and invade somewhere quite so much as a week of endless drizzle.

Totally true. Also, we are using Wales as a place of breeding a Sardaukar-like force of such utter savagery that those remaining 22 nations will crumble like soggy biscuit. Sadly, so far we have only managed to assemble some excellent Welsh male voice choirs, and they have a pretty poor grip of the weirding way.
posted by The River Ivel at 7:08 AM on November 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


Scotland and Ireland were totally in on the whole invading places thing when not moaning about having been invaded. Having it both ways, I call it.
posted by Artw at 7:11 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Welshmen were of course historically unable to act as seconds in a duel due to their natural bloodthirst.
posted by longbaugh at 7:19 AM on November 12, 2012


Totally true. Also, we are using Wales as a place of breeding a Sardaukar-like force of such utter savagery that those remaining 22 nations will crumble like soggy biscuit.

That and the fact that we were a nation of shit-stirrers without peer. Never field an army if you can persuade someone else to field one for you.

"Oi! Prussia! Jesus guys, you should have heard what France was saying about you last night! No way I'd put up with that kind of thing if i were you..."
posted by garius at 7:21 AM on November 12, 2012


The process of making and consuming tea is a social and time consuming one. We must wait for the water to boil. For the tea leaves to release their flavour. For the tea to be poured. For the tea to cool, and be consumed, usually with the addition of a sandwich with the crusts cut off (middle class) or a biscuit (working class) or the crusts from the aforementioned sandwiches (servants and butlers).

That is a lot of time spent in social contact, based around the process of "having" tea. Inevitably, conversation about even the weather soon runs dry (no pun intended).

Which is why the conversation, over the centuries, has often turned into countries of the world. Which has the best resources. Which has the better weather. Which haven't we invaded yet. And which may have the ideal growing conditions for tea.

And that, in a nutshell, is why we have invaded most countries and principalities. Including the USA. Several times.

Yes, I spelt flavour correctly. If you have the temerity to argue about it, then all I'll say is: "Florida is ours..."
posted by Wordshore at 7:31 AM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


> The British get around so much because they can stand everything except other Brits.

Actually mostly its the drizzle.


I've heard that the food may have also been a factor for a while.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:39 AM on November 12, 2012


Yes, I spelt flavour correctly. If you have the temerity to argue about it, then all I'll say is: "Florida is ours..."

You can have it.

FLAVOR!
posted by adamdschneider at 7:47 AM on November 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I can't think of any invasion of Portugal but the Peninsular War. And to call that an "invasion" seems a little off.

Did Napoleon ever set up a puppet state, as he did in Spain?

But the British certainly had a significant military force stationed in Portugal.

As for invading France: do all of those post 1066 invasions count? A lot of them were two French people fighting over bits of France, one of whom also claimed part of Britain.
posted by jb at 7:58 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's quite a vague definition of "invasion", since it includes "incursions by British pirates, privateers or armed explorers ... provided they were operating with the approval of their government."

So Brazil appears as "invaded", when in fact we were helped by the awesome poker skills of Lord Cochrane in our independence war.
posted by Tom-B at 8:00 AM on November 12, 2012


Scotland and Ireland were totally in on the whole invading places thing when not moaning about having been invaded. Having it both ways, I call it.

Sure. But all too often, "in on the whole invading thing" meant "kicked out of their own country and given no other option but to colonize overseas." It's no coincidence the British Empire made its greatest strides in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, just as the Scottish and Irish populations were being systematically purged from the UK.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:01 AM on November 12, 2012


The British learned the importance of invasion early on from the experience of being on the receiving end so many times - the Acheuleans, the Beaker Folk, the Celts, the Belgae, the Romans, the Angles, the Saxons (and Jutes), the Vikings, the Normans, etc., etc. The isles practically served as testing grounds for assorted prototypes until the indigenous population eventually perfected a local version that they could successfully export globally.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:06 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


making the US look like absolute pikers

Who you calling a piker? Right now, the US has a military presence in about 150 countries. We've probably been in the other 50 at one time or another.
posted by beagle at 8:09 AM on November 12, 2012


I've heard that the food may have also been a factor for a while.

All that invading is certainly a factor in why our food is awesome.
posted by Artw at 8:09 AM on November 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


That Telegraph article is a bit of an embarrassing read. It's like listening to an old drunk guy at a bar rambling.

Cram it Katullus, Iceland's already on the list. They'll do it again.
posted by Diablevert at 8:19 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm no historian, but I think the most significant military operations by the British against Finland were those during the Crimean war in the 1850's. Finland was a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire at the time. Later, UK declared war on Finland during WW II, but there were no hostilities. Maybe independent Finland (after 1917) should count as one country never invaded by the British? It was the Russians who got us into the 19th century mess after all.

During the war in 1854 the British Royal Navy lost a gunboat. It's still kept in Kokkola (Swedish: Karleby).

https://www.kokkola.fi/kulttuuri/museot/nayttelyt/vene/en_GB/vene/
http://www.historytoday.com/matthew-kirk/crimea-finland

Here's a quotation from the Matthew Kirk article linked above:
When I first visited Kokkola a year ago, the Mayor told me that the British had offered to pave the roads of the city in the late 1940s if they would give us our boat back. ‘Look’ he said, with pride, from his office ‘our roads are all paved. What are you offering now?’
Generally this wasn't how the war went, as this Wikipedia article shows, telling us about one of the major battles in the Baltic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bomarsund

It's all past history now (one hopes). Though maybe you Brits should keep asking the Kokkolans nicely about your boat!
posted by tykky at 8:26 AM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Diablevert: Cram it Katullus, Iceland's already on the list. They'll do it again.

To be fair, we'd had it coming for a long time.
posted by Kattullus at 8:29 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of course the British invaded other countries--no on else could do it:
French--to busy eating, drinking, asserting their own superiority, practicing French and pretending to have conquered the world
Italians--Just could not get it together, cities fighting cities, north fighting south, unable to make a decision and could not get bureaucratic approval
Spanish--a few feeble attempts but kept spreading disease and looking for gold--an inevitable dead end except for the language.
Germans--Oh my, tried and tried but basically land locked and just could not muster up a sufficient navy. Also, took to long to decide what really was Germany--the problem of many neighbors. Also--they always tried to follow the rules.
United States--to busy taming the "West", to far from every one, to cold to the North, to warm to the South. Did better in the recent past.
Brazil, Australia, Argentina--Wrong Hemisphere--Nothing much happening down there except revolts, insurgencies and other small change
China--Just do not know enough to intelligently comment
Japan--Good navy but consistently overestimated their capabilities--reasonable successful westward but way to many islands and distance to the East
Russia--had enough trouble just figuring out how big their own country was--Tried moving to the West but just could not hold it together--too much Vodka and ideology--always a bad combination.
And the list goes on
posted by rmhsinc at 8:42 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


More on Stuart Laycock.
posted by BWA at 8:51 AM on November 12, 2012


GB, GB, GB!
posted by arcticseal at 8:53 AM on November 12, 2012


When I posted this to Facebook, someone asked about the Sweden thing pretty much immediately. (And yes, the book absolutely went on my to-read list.)
posted by immlass at 9:00 AM on November 12, 2012


United States--to busy taming the "West", to far from every one, to cold to the North, to warm to the South. Did better in the recent past.

Tsk. And you say this on "The US has invaded lots of places" day.
posted by Artw at 9:05 AM on November 12, 2012


The British have gone a thousand years without anyone sacking their capitol. Not sure anyone else can make that claim, or even come close. The runners up are almost all former British colonies. Best defense is a good offense and all that.
posted by relish at 9:12 AM on November 12, 2012


The British have gone a thousand years without anyone sacking their capitol. Not sure anyone else can make that claim, or even come close. The runners up are almost all former British colonies. Best defense is a good offense and all that.
Well, that's openly not true, nor could it be. Britain has only been about since 1707.
posted by Jehan at 9:23 AM on November 12, 2012


The British have gone a thousand years without anyone sacking their capitol.

Define "sacking." The Blitz doesn't count? The Troubles? 7/7?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:25 AM on November 12, 2012


Define "sacking." The Blitz doesn't count? The Troubles? 7/7?

Plus Daleks AND Cybermen keep invading.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:30 AM on November 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Are you David Cameron?
posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on November 12, 2012


Erm, I was under the impression that the bulk of the activity in "the Troubles" took place in Northern Ireland. I can think of only a handful of terrorist actions in London during that time - I"m not sure that can be accurately called "sacking".

"Sacking" is, to my mind anyway, a raze-the-ground salt-the-earth crush-your-enemies-see-them-driven-before-you-and-hear-the-lamentations-of-their-women total takeover.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:40 AM on November 12, 2012


Britain has only been about since 1707.

I'm working off a widely-held idea. "Mr. President, I speak on behalf of a very old country, founded in 1066 by the French" ~ British Foreign Minister Jack Straw, 2003

"sacking"

An alien invasion does count (of course), a foreign occupation works, burning or blowing up government buildings is extra credit. A Civil War does not cut it in my understanding. Flying a V2 into your neighborhood, no, not even close. It's not the full Conan the Barbarian definition, but you should understand my point.
posted by relish at 9:44 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Define "sacking." The Blitz doesn't count?

Not really - the Germans may have done the burning but they disn't get to do any looting.

That said, the followup to the Blitz means London was a founder member of the very small group of cities that can claim to have come under ballistic missile attack.
posted by garius at 9:48 AM on November 12, 2012


I'm working off a widely-held idea. "Mr. President, I speak on behalf of a very old country, founded in 1066 by the French" ~ British Foreign Minister Jack Straw, 2003
So? You're still wrong, and so's Jack Straw.* "British" in 1066 meant those funny-speaking fellows beyond Offa's Dyke. It's a bit like saying "America was founded by Puritans." Many enough know-nothings might utter such words, but they're still know-nothings when all is said and done. Else William Wallace and Owen Glendower become "British" rebels, and the "British" kings were only putting down rebellions, nothing more. How delightfully useful an idea! Somebody should suggest it...


*Indeed, he's even wronger. Neither Britain nor England were founded in 1066, nor either of them by the French. The idea that the Normans "founded" England by overturning the rightful king and murdering 10% of the population is an...interesting idea.
posted by Jehan at 9:58 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


This creates a rather unfair impression of the poor Brits, I feel.

It's true the British used to be rather unpleasantly invadey and grabby. But the present day Brits are mostly the quiet descendants of the nicer people who preferred to stay at home and not go round bothering people. Over the course of a few hundred years all the grabby people went off and grabbed other people's countries, where their grabby descendants are living to this day.
posted by Segundus at 9:59 AM on November 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's a bit like saying "America was founded by Puritans." Many enough know-nothings might utter such words, but they're still know-nothings when all is said and done.

True!
posted by Sys Rq at 10:10 AM on November 12, 2012


I was under the impression that the bulk of the activity in "the Troubles" took place in Northern Ireland. I can think of only a handful of terrorist actions in London during that time - I"m not sure that can be accurately called "sacking".

I got sacked pretty good in London during the troubles.
 
posted by Herodios at 10:33 AM on November 12, 2012


The British have gone a thousand years without anyone sacking their capitol

I guess the raid on the Medway doesn't count, just like the last successful (Dutch) invasion of England in 1688 doesn't count either...

(incidently, to confirm the thesis that England is astonishingly belligerent and doesn't learn quickly, typing in Second Anglo- expecting to get the Second Anglo-Dutch War actually brings up half a dozen or so other Second Anglo-Bar (boer?) Wars...)
posted by MartinWisse at 10:35 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I got sacked pretty good in London during the troubles.

And I am sorry to hear it. However, the whole of London itself was not sacked, was my point. "Sacked" meaning more of a "razed-to-the-ground" thing.

It certainly has been attacked, however.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:39 AM on November 12, 2012


Later, UK declared war on Finland during WW II, but there were no hostilities.

That is technically true. However, they did bomb Finland 6 months before the declaration of war.
posted by Authorized User at 11:07 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


They tried to invade the barren outcrop of rockall as well.........
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:13 AM on November 12, 2012


1688
Fair enough. I'm wiggling a little though, I'm not sure that William III and Mary really count as a completely foreign enterprise. It's strikes me that a significant number of Britons welcomed them into the country. Not sure it would go down as the "Glorious Revolution" if it was a meaningful occupation.

My point is still pretty solid. Britain has been basically secure from foreign interventions for many years. 1688 still out-distances most other capitols in this regard.

You're still wrong, and so's Jack Straw

If we are both around in 2066, we can revisit this topic in London. Maybe step in on King William V and solicit his ideas on the subject.
posted by relish at 11:22 AM on November 12, 2012


If we are both around in 2066, we can revisit this topic in London. Maybe step in on King William V and solicit his ideas on the subject.
I dearly hope there won't be a Britain in 2066, and that the Englanders of the day mourn the anniversary of William of Normandy's crimes.
posted by Jehan at 11:46 AM on November 12, 2012


Authorized User: they [British] did bomb Finland 6 months before the declaration of war.

Ah, yes, there was that. Thank you for pointing it out.

The relationship between the British and the Finns during WW2 had some quite interesting aspects to it. There were numerous volunteers in the Winter War from various countries, and likely the main reason for their participation being mostly limited to non-combat roles was the language barrier. Probably the most notable British volunteer was this particular person. He certainly distinguished himself in numerous ways after this episode where the darn Finns kept him from the front lines...

So, yes, I'm just saying wars are complicated. Now, I am sure you have better sources for these events than me, given that I wasn't een born then, so I'll end this sidetrack here.
posted by tykky at 11:59 AM on November 12, 2012


Scotland and Ireland were totally in on the whole invading places thing when not moaning about having been invaded. Having it both ways, I call it.

The Scottish invasion of Norway in 1612 failed:

"According to folklore, the force of the Scottish troops was between 900 and 1,100 or more, but historians generally discount the estimate, placing the probable strength as low as 300. (...)
There are few entirely credible accounts of the battle, but the oral history has two Norwegians on horseback following the Scottish troops, possibly on the other side of the valley. One was a woman by the name of Guri, known as Prillar-Guri to posterity; the other was an unnamed man. The man rode his horse facing backward, providing a distraction for the marching troops. When the Scots reached the narrowest section of the valley - Kringen - Guri blew her horn, signaling the ambush.
According to folklore, the Norwegian troops let loose logs and rocks down the valley, crushing the marching soldiers, but this is not confirmed. It is known, however, that they shot at the soldiers with crossbows and muskets. (...) Most of the Scots were killed during the battle. Some may have escaped, but others were captured. All but 14 were summarily executed at Kvam in what is now Nord-Fron, the survivors then sent to Christiania for imprisonment."
posted by iviken at 12:42 PM on November 12, 2012


They tried to invade the barren outcrop of rockall as well.........

not to mention Sealand

But Heligoland came out a whole lot worse: in 1890 the British struck a deal with Germany to swap this island for Zanibar - but they did so without informing the natives. In 1945 the Royal Navy used it as a bombing range. And, in a final indignity, the island's name was removed from The Shipping Forecast in 1956.
posted by rongorongo at 12:46 PM on November 12, 2012


typing in Second Anglo- expecting to get the Second Anglo-Dutch War actually brings up half a dozen or so other Second Anglo-Bar (boer?) Wars...)

The Duchy of Bar was part of the HRE and then France. Count Henry III of Bar was even an ally of Edward I against France, but ended up paying fealty to Philip the Fair. So, yeah, it's probably the Boer wars.
posted by ersatz at 1:07 PM on November 12, 2012


The UK is still a warrior nation
posted by Bwithh at 1:09 PM on November 12, 2012


England invaded Portugal in 1589. A proper armada and everything, trying to conquer Lisbon.
posted by Authorized User at 1:17 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Probably booze related.
posted by Artw at 1:19 PM on November 12, 2012


That was how the whole aggro with Spain came about, Robert Dudley getting in Philip II's face: are you looking at my bird?
posted by MartinWisse at 1:28 PM on November 12, 2012


Britannia was created by the Romans when they welded countless little tribes together with a single cultural identity. It was more of an ideal than a reality for centuries, but sometime after the Germanic and Viking invasions petered out they started calling it England and it became a real place. The French did conquer England, once, but after that the English returned the favour, over and over and over...

I wonder if the American jokes about French surrender monkeys come from a kind of shared cultural DNA. They've inherited the natural British desire to invade France, but have never had a proper opportunity to carry it out. Invading to liberate France from the Germans just isn't as satisfying.


"As for invading France: do all of those post 1066 invasions count? A lot of them were two French people fighting over bits of France, one of whom also claimed part of Britain."

The kings may have spoken French, but the vast majority of their soldiers did not. I'd say the composition of the armies makes them proper English invasions.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:28 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was how the whole aggro with Spain came about, Robert Dudley getting in Philip II's face: are you looking at my bird?

Beard! It was the King of Spain's beard...
posted by cromagnon at 1:44 PM on November 12, 2012


The British have gone a thousand years without anyone sacking their capitol
No one has ever sacked the British capitol; there isn't one. The capital has been sacked.

posted by kirkaracha at 2:07 PM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


8/24/1814 Never forget!
posted by humanfont at 5:16 PM on November 12, 2012


The British have gone a thousand years without anyone sacking their capitol.

they've gone 300 years under the rule of german families

why sack the capitol when you can have the whole country?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:39 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, if anything, its the Empire that's invaded England, with a balti full of chicken and some chopsticks.
posted by infini at 5:49 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the American jokes about French surrender monkeys come from a kind of shared cultural DNA. They've inherited the natural British desire to invade France, but have never had a proper opportunity to carry it out. Invading to liberate France from the Germans just isn't as satisfying.

Hey, remember the Vietnam War? You'll never guess how that started.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:11 PM on November 12, 2012


My (fuzzy) understanding of it is that the French were defeated by the Viet Minh and withdrew, then the Americans used subterfuge to set up an anti-communist client state (the Republic of Vietnam) in the south. The RoV came under attack from the communist north (the Democratic Republic of Vietnam), and America was drawn into the war to try and rescue their client. The Americans weren't actually attacking the French.

I'm not saying that America hasn't attacked plenty of other nations. It's just that one itch they've never had a chance to scratch.
posted by Kevin Street at 6:41 PM on November 12, 2012


To be fair, the French did do a lot to free the Americans from the British, one of the countless times the French kicked English ass to and away from the curb, from side to side, up the hill, down the hill, and letting the ass come to a rest at the bottom of the hill, at which point the French started stomping on it =)
posted by Kattullus at 7:15 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have no idea why America's best buds are the English and not the French.
posted by The Whelk at 7:35 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, if anything, its the Empire that's invaded England, with a balti full of chicken and some chopsticks.


Vindaloo, Vindaloo NA NA
posted by Damienmce at 8:59 PM on November 12, 2012


The Americans weren't actually attacking the French.

I didn't mean to suggest that it was; only that the whole thing was kinda France's fault, and therefore the US has reason enough to dislike the French, wholly independent of having once been pink on maps.

Vindaloo, Vindaloo NA NA

Vindaloo was imported to Britain from India, which was colonized by the Portuguese, who invented the dish.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:43 PM on November 12, 2012


I have no idea why America's best buds are the English and not the French.

Je regrette, mais vous puez des sureaux.
posted by Segundus at 1:12 AM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I have no idea why America's best buds are the English and not the French."

"Je regrette, mais vous puez des sureaux."

LOL

More seriously though, while the two Empires were relevant, America was really profoundly divided over which one we supported.

At the beginning there was Jefferson's francophile Democratic-Republicans who loved the French for their bloody revolutionary zeal, their crucial and timely help in our revolution, their willingness to stick it to the rich and the entrenched aristocratocracy, and their willingness to fuck up the British. Then there was Hamilton's francophobe Federalists who hated the French for their bloody revolutionary zeal, their crucial but not quite timely help in our revolution, their willingness to stick it to the rich and the entrenched aristocratocracy, and their willingness to fuck up the British. Both sides hated and mistrusted both Empires, and with good reason, but the Federalists saw democratic hope in the British system and gradual change while the Democratic-Republicans saw only continued press gangs and naked Imperialism.
posted by Blasdelb at 5:57 AM on November 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ah, they were all asking for it. Got to give Johnny Foreigner a spanking every now and then. Good for the blighters; even those with the dreadful manners not to let us win. Poor sports, those bounders.
posted by Decani at 2:20 PM on November 14, 2012


Decani, you just broke my irony meter.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:13 AM on November 15, 2012


Cruel Britannia, Britannia's cruel to me,
They invaded all but 22 countries.

posted by Rarebit Fiend at 1:07 PM on November 27, 2012


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