One can make all sorts of clever arguments—indeed the Brits have, from blaming us to blaming their own—about why this crisis was someone else’s fault, due to a misunderstanding, due to media exaggeration, due to an accident. But what is missing is the simple fact that THIS IS THE BRITISH NAVY. Who would care if the Iranians had embarrassed the Italian Navy, the Russian Navy, or the Chinese Navy? But the Brits? We forget that the entire history of Western navies is predicated on the British experience at sea. The Brits had the greatest admirals, the Brits invented the Man-of-War, dreadnought, battleship, heavy cruiser, and aircraft carrier. The Brits created the very notion of modern seamanship and discipline, and its pantheon of naval heroes like Drake, Cook, Anson, Vernon, Nelson, and Fisher still resonates. So like the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and World Trade Center this was an iconic act that sent a message that the descendents of Xerxes finally upped Lord Nelson.
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