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Old November 7th, 2012, 05:35 PM   #1
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"So the British have invaded 90 percent of the world's country, and we've invaded 80"


A curious US corollary of the journalist Adam Clark Estes (The Atlantic Wire) on Stuart Laycock's book All the Countries We've Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To about the British Empire.

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The book stays true to its title and finds in a survey of 200 of the world's countries through that, in one shape or form, Great Britain has invaded all but 22 of them. That amounts to about 90 percent of the world's countries.

It's easy to scratch your head at this figure.
In fact, it's encouraged.
How on Earth could the Brits even have time to invade all those countries?
We know that "sun never sets on the British Empire" slogan, but this is ridiculous.

In a review, The Telegraph's Jasper Copping walks through Laycock's methodology, and it sounds like the author took some liberties with the definition of "invasion."
Or at least, he defined it pretty broadly.
In order to count for an invasion in Laycock's book, the British only needed to achieve "some sort of military presence in the territory -- however transitory -- either through force, the threat of force, negotiation or payment,"
Copping explains.
"Incursions by British pirates, privateers or armed explorers have also been included, provided they were operating with the approval of their government."

Well in that case, we've got a pretty good runner up candidate for the busiest empire award: The United States.
... But sticking to Laycock's formula as closely as we can, Department of Defense records show that the U.S. has military personnel of some kind in a whopping 153 countries around the world.
That's a pretty heft majority of the 190 countries that the U.S. maintains diplomatic relations with.
Though that presence is small in some of those countries -- there's only one troop in Gabon -- it's a presence.

So the British have invaded 90 percent of the world's country, and we've invaded 80 percent.
READ MORE

It's indeed a funny commentary.
But please note that Mr. Estes is actually blatantly cheating.

Not to diminish the American performance, but he is actually not using the criteria of either Mr Laycock or Mr Cooping.

I.e. none of the later is reporting (British) military bases (i.e. not just "military presence") but actual armed interventions of any size, which were actually not reported at all by our lazy & cheating Mr Estes.

So Mr Estes is simply most fallaciously pretending to compare apples with oranges

On the other hand, it would be rather interesting to find any objective count on how many nations would have been invaded by the US according to the stringent criteria applied by Mr. Laycock to Britain.

Is any Historumite aware of any such count or estimation?

As usual, any contribution will be highly welcomed.
Thanks in advance.
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Old November 7th, 2012, 05:48 PM   #2

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"some sort of military presence in the territory -- however transitory -- either through force, the threat of force, negotiation or payment,"

By this reckoning every country with an overseas embassy has invaded its host!
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Old November 7th, 2012, 05:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belgarion View Post
"some sort of military presence in the territory -- however transitory -- either through force, the threat of force, negotiation or payment,"

By this reckoning every country with an overseas embassy has invaded its host!
Please note that your conclusion is right for the US under Mr Estes' bogus criteria, not for the UK under Mr Laycock's (which you are actually quoting verbatim).
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Old November 7th, 2012, 06:17 PM   #4

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As an American, I prefer an empire 10,000 miles from tip to tip over one where the sun never sets

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Old November 8th, 2012, 01:32 AM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post

Is any Historumite aware of any such count or estimation?
A count? No. But i have inadvertently over time come across a ton of maps that call it all sort of names like Empire, Interventions, Invasions, Exploitation and ect and so forth.... for what it is worth in counting purposes only!

US and UK Interventions since 1945


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Old November 8th, 2012, 01:48 AM   #6

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Since in Laycocks rather broad definition 'privateers' are include how will you define 'modern privateers' ? and how do we decide if they have 'official' snaction?

For instance Elizabeth's I 'privateers' I believe were included in British 'invasions' but officially she condemed them-- we now know she gave at least tacit approval if not full out support.

How many 'private' venture have tacit approval?
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Old November 8th, 2012, 01:53 AM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevinmeath View Post

How many 'private' venture have tacit approval?
Plausible denial: What private venture?
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Old November 8th, 2012, 08:33 AM   #8

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That's all well and good, but how many headhunting cannibals have they reformed?
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Old November 8th, 2012, 08:39 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Earl_of_Rochester View Post
That's all well and good, but how many headhunting cannibals have they reformed?
More or less the same as the British or any other Colonial system; almost none.

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Old November 8th, 2012, 08:43 AM   #10

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Laycock's criteria are in no way stringent, they are founded on a misuse of the term 'invasion'.
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