“But would it be too much to claim that many Americans saw a radical incompatibility between the Barbary system and their own? And is it not pleasant when the interests of free trade and human emancipation can coincide? I would close with a few staves of Kipling, whose poem “Dane-Geld” is a finer effort than anything managed by Francis Scott Key:
It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nationTo call upon a neighbor and to say:—“We invaded you last night—we are quite prepared to fight,Unless you pay us cash to go away.”And that is called asking for Dane-geld,And the people who ask it explainThat you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geldAnd then you’ll get rid of the Dane!
Kipling runs briskly through the stages of humiliation undergone by any power that falls for this appeasement, and concludes:
It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation, For fear they should succumb and go astray; So when you are requested to pay up or be molested, You will find it better policy to say:—“We never pay any-one Dane-geld, No matter how trifling the cost; For the end of that game is oppression and shame, And the nation that plays it is lost!”
It may be fortunate that the United States had to pass this test, and imbibe this lesson, so early in its life as a nation.”
No need for me to add any of my ramblings to this, Hitchens eloquently says it all. More here. *L* KGS