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USA vs. England; Updated

By Doug Powers  •  June 12, 2010 10:11 AM

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

A battle of hopefully not soon-to-be-former allies is brewing. England and the United States are going to go at it big time. Oh, and the two are also playing a soccer game today in the World Cup Tournament.

First, soccer.

I’ve never been a soccer fan, which of course as an American is my birthright, but I must confess that I do sneak a peek at the World Cup games. As I write this, South Korea is playing Greece, which experts are speculating will end prematurely at the 79:30 mark due to the Greeks declaring bankruptcy and getting their shorts repoed.

The reason I might watch a bit of the World Cup in spite of the fact that I don’t even like soccer might be because it’s an actual world tournament — it’s billed honestly. Some sports, the World Series for example, are open only to teams from the US and Canada. The Super Bowl is often referred to as a “World Championship” but it only features teams from the United States. Hockey’s “Stanley Cup” is often given to guys who aren’t named “Stanley.” The list goes on.

Vice President Pluggers is in South Africa for the US/UK World Cup match, and let’s hope that his motorcade can avoid running people over this time. Joe Biden has a close kinship with soccer, in that neither are very popular in the states.

Now, on to the other match, which I refuse to consider an England vs. USA spat, but rather as the Obama administration vs. England.

The British aren’t too happy with President Obama’s response to the oil spill (if they think it’s bad there, they should witness it from this side of the pond):

Has the worm turned at last? As the oil continues to gush in the Gulf of Mexico, angry rhetoric has gushed from President Barack Obama’s lips. His rabid denunciations of BP have damaged the interests not only of that company but of most British people, in a way that must make us wonder whether he leads a friendly country.

Vince Cable, the new Business Secretary, calls Obama’s rhetoric ‘extreme and unhelpful’; London mayor Boris Johnson says it’s ‘anti-British’, adding that ‘BP is paying a very, very heavy price indeed’.

Bemusingly, David Cameron says only that he understands the U.S. administration’s ‘frustration’, although he promises to take up the matter with Obama, after the Prime Minister returns from Afghanistan – where British troops are fighting and dying on behalf of the United States, it may be recalled.

Two things are important to note — aside from a brief history lesson that would negate thousand-fold the jab in the final paragraph above: The accident was in fact the fault of BP (as well as environmental regulations gone insane), and as such a company causing a catastrophe like the Gulf spill, along with those in the country where that company is based, should expect a dramatic drop in stock value. If Exxon Mobil contaminated the Thames River, I’m reasonably certain the US-based company could expect some level of denunciation from Downing Street and an inevitable drop in stock value.

That said, the Obama administration’s response, or lack thereof, has been, by most measures, a disaster.

The most recent example is this: It turns out that there are only two kind of people Obama will refuse help from: People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures, and the Dutch:

Three days after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch government offered to help.

It was willing to provide ships outfitted with oil-skimming booms, and it proposed a plan for building sand barriers to protect sensitive marshlands.

The response from the Obama administration and BP, which are coordinating the cleanup: “The embassy got a nice letter from the administration that said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’” said Geert Visser, consul general for the Netherlands in Houston.

In the several weeks since, BP and the Obama administration reconsidered the offer:

U.S. ships are being outfitted this week with four pairs of the skimming booms airlifted from the Netherlands and should be deployed within days. Each pair can process 5 million gallons of water a day, removing 20,000 tons of oil and sludge.

At that rate, how much more oil could have been removed from the Gulf during the past month?

In late May, Obama said, “Those who think we were either slow on the response or lacked urgency, don’t know the facts…”

The problem is, the more facts we know, the more we think Team Obama was slow on the response and lacked urgency.

But back to soccer… Best of luck to the USA today!

And to get pumped up for the match, here’s a soccer announcer’s famous “goooaaallll” call:

Update: The game was a tie, and Obama talked to the British PM to try and tie things up there as well.

Meanwhile, my remark about history negating thousand-fold the remark about British troops in Afghanistan fighting and dying on behalf of the United States, which was certainly not intended to take for granted the sacrifices shared by many nations in the fight against terrorism, garnered this email:

Enjoyed your blog on England vs USA, but was curious as to the brief history lesson that would negate thousand-fold the impact of the quoted paragraph regarding British troops dying for American interests. Would it concern the World War in which the (long over-due) entry of the US was caused by a direct attack on the American forces at Pearl Harbour? Despite Hollywood’s impressive feat of urinating on the graves of millions by eliminating any evidence of Allied help (see: Australian involvement in Vietnam) in their huge “historical” films and series about how the USA single handedly won the war, there were actually other countries involved, without whom the war could not have been won, and America’s future would have been dubious at best. Interestingly, a large portion of British deaths in Iraq (and some in Afghanistan) were by US forces.

I understand the Blog is tongue in cheek, but the ignorance regarding British involvement by Americans does grate. The internet and Xbox Live are, I think, the main contributing factors to the downfall in Anglo-American relations.

I was kind of referring to the liberation of Europe against the Nazis, but hey, in the spirit of friendship, we’ll call it a tie — just like the game today.

And please don’t lump most of America in with what “Hollywood” does or says. Too many of them aren’t on the side of the US or England.

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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