Let's look at the paragraph Foreign Policy highlighted:
England [sic/[FP's sic]] is just a small island. Its roads and houses are small. With few exceptions, it doesn't make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy. And if it hadn't been separated from the continent by water, it almost certainly would have been lost to Hitler's ambitions. Yet only two lifetimes ago, Britain ruled the largest and wealthiest empire in the history of humankind. Britain controlled a quarter of the earth's land and a quarter of the earth's population.Oh, there's where they cut it off? Well, obviously he was in the middle of making a point. But you know the rule in journalism: Taking things out of context is okay when you do it to hurt conservatives. But I happen to have my Kindle copy of Romney's book "No Apology: Believe in America," so it's easy for me to give you the context. Here are the next 4 paragraphs:
Late in the eighteenth century, after the loss of their American colonies...Foreign Policy didn't want to remind us Americans that Britain antagonized us.
... the British set out to compensate for what had been lost, first by defeating Napoleonic France and then by expanding the reach of the crown in colonies from India to the tip of South America and from Africa to the islands of the Western Pacific.And all that imperialism by the British doesn't make them look too appealing.
Britain’s might was military, having built the most powerful navy the world had ever seen. But what enabled their military superiority was their industrial might. The British had pioneered the Industrial Revolution, and they enthusiastically promoted free trade, understanding the huge export potential for their products. By 1860, the nation’s economy was the biggest in the world.Here's the great compliment to the British, but you know there's a big but...
But maintaining leadership proved more difficult than achieving it. Whereas other nations extended the manufacturing revolution by embracing new technology and innovation, the British reversed course and tried to contain it. The country’s culture of class immobility stymied the entrepreneurialism and initiative that propel a competitive economy.Here's the serious critique.
From owner to laborer, the British were eager to protect the status quo. Industrialists secured subsidies for themselves and tariffs on foreigners rather than face foreign competition and technology head-on. When subsidies proved insufficient for the most unproductive businesses, the government took them over. The nation spent national resources to keep sick companies alive rather than inventing new ones and investing in those that were strong.Now Foreign Policy — a respected journal? — ends its out of context squib with snark: "Its roads and houses are small? The trees probably aren't the right height either." I'm giving you the whole context that Foreign Policy didn't want to deal with. It's about the British decline into socialism. What do you say we take that seriously?
Britain’s economic missteps were compounded when it was forced to fight and endure the cost of two world wars. By the end of World War II, its national debt had tripled. Massive loans were required to shore up the ailing economy; they came from its former colony.
Socialism/capitalism — that's how campaign 2012 has been framed. Let's stare that issue in the face. Sorry if the Brits' feelings are hurt, but this is about us.