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This is why England relied so heavily on Continental mercenaries since the Renaissance. I am certainly no military historian, but, on two occasions, they did rise above the typical behavior and field at least competent armies, under Marlborough and under Wellington. The English never took to 'the Prussian Drill' with any zeal and were less susceptible to the nationalistic and revolutionary fervor that made France so strong after 1789. And that is not a bad thing, IMO.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 09:19:07 AM EST
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The English did better out of their navy, and the privatised militias created by/for the East India Company.

The rule was you didn't march around killing people - you did deals with the local big men, and/or introduced drugs and taxes and slavery, and then you marched around killing people, but only if you really had to.

Only the Dutch had a similarly indirect approach to international diplomacy. France, Spain, and the Habsburgs had a more direct and continental Big Arrmy tradition, which made for plenty of set-piece battles, but not so much long term 'growth and stability.'

If you don't understand how sneaky the British Establishment is, consider that England went through the Enclosures, the Industrial Revolution, wars with the Continent and the Colonies, a century of Dickensian squalor and oppression. and two world wars, but hasn't had a significant Euro-style revolution since the Civil War - and even that was largely a fight between merchants/pirates/barons and the monarchy.

And monarchy was restored almost immediately anyway.

While the UK likes to pretend it's the modern cradle of democracy, the reality is it's the modern cradle of neo-Machiavellianism, and the spiritual home of neoliberals everywhere.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 09:52:02 AM EST
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