Bankrupt Hegemon, Part One: Fiduciary Power
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Just like the financial business, geopolitical leadership is based on trust and faith. With these in abundance, things can be achieved that would not be possible looking at just the material resources at hand. With the open or silent consent of other states, a nation can gain leverage with the moral weight supplied by its supporters.

The flip side is, that when that stock of confidence is called upon, a polity may find itself unable to deliver. That is the tragic story of the previous hegemon in world politics, the British Empire.

Over the past year I've been reading a number of books on the British achievements in the first half of WWII, or rather the lack of them. The books are very different in style, narrative and perspective, but in combination gave me a very vivid picture of what challenge faced the Empire in its darkest days.

To start with, the years 1939-1942 provide a depressing string of losses, defeats and outright disasters. I'm going to run through all of them quickly here, so you get a sense of the disaster, and I will go into more detail in later installments.

I have put up a metalist with a reading list.
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Norway (April-May '40)
 
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Dunkirk (May '40)
 
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British Somaliland (Aug '40)
 
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the Blitz (Sept '40-May '41)
 
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Greece (April '41)
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Crete (May '41)
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sinking of the Hood (May '41)
 
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sinking Force Z (Dec '41)
 
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Singapore (Feb '42)
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Burma (May '42)
 
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Dieppe (May '42)
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Gazala (June '42)
 
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15. Board Game: Battle of the Atlantic [Average Rating:6.61 Unranked]
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not forgetting the ongoing Battle of the Atlantic
 
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16. Board Game: Bomber Command [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:3571]
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and the failed bomber offensive against Germany
 
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It is not surprising the British press made the most of the few successes they could report: sinking the Graf Spee (Dec '39)
 
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18. Board Game: Battle of Britain [Average Rating:5.52 Unranked]
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Battle of Britain (July-Sep '40)
 
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Operation Compass (Dec '40)
 
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20. Board Game: Swordfish at Taranto [Average Rating:6.40 Unranked]
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Taranto (Nov '40)
 
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21. Board Game: Somalia Interventions [Average Rating:4.41 Unranked]
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East Africa (Jan-May '41)
 
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22. Board Game: Rome & Carthage [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:7434]
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Cape Matapan (March '41)
 
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23. Board Game: Crusader: Battle for Tobruk, 1941 [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:11057]
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Tobruk and Crusader ('41)
 
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24. Board Game: Sink the Bismark [Average Rating:6.25 Unranked]
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sinking the Bismarck (May '41)
 
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25. Board Game: Syria, 1941 [Average Rating:5.83 Unranked]
 
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Syria (June-July '41)
 
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