10 Unsolicited Pieces of British Advice To America
Religion & Liberty Online

10 Unsolicited Pieces of British Advice To America

British journalist Tim Montgomerie notes that Barack Obama gave some unsolicited advice to the U.K. recently (suggesting that they spend more on defense.) Montgomerie thought it only fair to return the favor.

1. Montgomerie says America should not invade other countries unless we plan to follow through.

George W Bush did at least stick with Iraq and his so-called “surge policy” delivered a reasonably stable nation by 2008. Obama than walked away and we know what happened soon afterwards: ISIS and Iran walked in.

2. Don’t be weak; it’s far too provocative to the Putins on the world.

3. Don’t continue to take America’s trans-Atlantic friends for granted.

It happens with every new US president. Bush I pivoted US policy towards Germany as its key European ally when he entered the White House. Bush II to Mexico. Obama to China. But then America needs an ally at the UN or in some foreign field and American presidents remember it’s nearly always Britain who is readiest to stand alongside it.

4. Do not elect another Kennedy, Bush or Clinton. America does not need a meritocracy.

5. Stop putting so many people in prison.

You lock up more people than any other nation in the world and, using a bit of English understatement, a lot of them aren’t white. If you want to understand why so many black families are broken, you might want to take a look at your penal policy.

6. If you want the Muslim world to respect you, make fewer violent and nihilistic films.
7. Do British guys always have to be the bad guys in American films?
8. Stop calling the “World Series” the “World Series.”
9. It’s not soccer, it’s football.
10. You Americans use too many “z”s in your words: weaponise, not weaponize, for instance.

Admittingly, Montgomerie has his tongue firmly planted in his precious British cheek on some of these. However, there are two of his points that need discussion.

First, Montgomerie clearly misunderstands the U.S. penal system. Yes, we have far too many people incarcerated for what non-violent crimes – held hostage as it were under mandatory minimum sentencing laws, and yes, we have an inordinate number of prisoners of color in the penal system.

What Mr. Montgomerie must understand though, is that much of this was thoughtlessly engineered via the “War on Poverty.” This 1960s program incentivized the breakdown of the nuclear family, especially in the black community. Mr. Montgomerie, please understand: we have no wish to put people in jail who do not belong there, but the system is broken from the outside in. We cannot repair the penal system without first repairing the traditional family.

I’d like to remark on one other bit of advice Mr. Montgomerie so kindly offers: “If you want the Muslim world to respect you, make fewer violent and nihilistic films.” Really? America lost more than 3ooo innocent victims on September 11, 2001 because Hollywood made too many Rambo movies? A Muslim extremist shot four unarmed military personnel in Chattanooga because he’d watched American Sniper one too many times?

And finally, Mr. Montgomerie: please explain why American needs to be pals with much of the Muslim world? Many of them have made it very clear that they hate us, want to kill us, and are constantly making plans to do so. That doesn’t fit any description of friendship I know of.

But we should call it football.

Elise Hilton

Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.