Like a fool, I’ve tried to piece together a plausible narrative that describes what motivates the group dynamics at the fore of Gosford Park.  The best I can say is that Lord Stockbridge wanted to remove his capital from investments in the British Empire and move them into more lucrative and modern industries, namely entertainment (because of his peculiar interest in the filmmakers’ business seemed to excite the jealousies of his family, many of whom made their living through imperialism).  His murder insured that empire would go on blissfully without reflecting on its weaknesses, although we all know it would eventually fail.

This all came to mind as I watched Pat Buchanan on Morning Joe insist that Britain unnecessarily risked its empire fighting Germany in WWII.  It seems that the mechanism that informs Buchanan’s historical analysis is that Britain’s decision to become involved in the war had the effect of expanding the war beyond what Hitler had intended.  Indeed, the choices that British governments made created an ever-escalating conflict.  To Buchanan, had the British not become involved, there would have been no loss of empire, a limited Holocaust, and no war in Western Europe.  And because of the war that led to the loss of empire, the West lost its ability to contain extremism globally.

Resisting the urge to debate him on the points (how could German honor be satisfied without defeating the French republic?), I find what may seem to be a worldview antithetical to the one Bush expressed in the Knesset, equally as dangerous.  Both speak against diplomatic engagement.  Both are premised on the question of whether force can be used to maintain order.  Both asks us to wait around until problems can only be resolved by armed intervention (I’ll give Buchanan at least the benefit of having a higher threshold than Buchanan).  Both point to the weaknesses of the conservative opinion of diplomacy: unnecessary as a prelude to force.

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