by Terje M
London, December 5,1864
Yesterday, an obviously emotional British foreign minister declared that a coalition of concerned world powers have decided to intervene in the American Civil War. The intervention is a dramatic new development in this war, which has lasted almost four years. It was the regime’s considerable progress in the siege of Richmond, Virginia, that made the international coalition decide to act.
‘The coalition of the willing’, created by prime minister Lord Palmerston, intends to establish a no-gunboat-zone along the seaboard and on the major rivers of the ‘Confederation’. These plans have long been on the drawing board, but the final decision was not made until now due to its unpopularity in British public opinion.
In addition, the regime in Washington received assistance from Russia, the only great power that showed any support for it. Tsar Alexander II of Russia sent a fleet last year to New York Harbor to show his solidarity with his fellow leader. It was obviously also intended as a warning to his geopolitical rival, Queen Victoria.
The leader, president Lincoln, has on several occasions declared that he only fights to keep himself in power (‘preserve the Union’). The rebels’ declared aim is «the fight for liberty, democracy, states’ rights and their right to keep their own ‘peculiar institutions’.» The country has long been divided along ethnic and political lines.
There have been proposals to divide the country along these ethno-political divides into a ‘Confederacy’ and a ‘rump Union’, but a string of victories for the regime have left these proposals hanging in the air.
The regime that Lincoln represents is notorious for its genocide against the native inhabitants of the country. Human rights organisations have long demanded that its leaders be put to trial for these crimes against humanity. The rebels are also afraid that they «will be treated like red Indians» if the regime wins the war.
Russian state media claims that the British intervention does not have humanitarian goals. They point to the fact that many countries in this ‘Coalition of the Willing’ have a dubious human rights record. «Just look at the sultan of Turkey or the emperor of Mexico, who is obviously a French puppet. In addition, is the British policy to a large degree formed by the influential cotton-lobby and geopolitical considerations. To claim that the country who not even ten years ago attacked China to force it to accept the sordid opium trade is motivated by humanitarian concerns is ridiculous.»
Lord Palmerston refuted these claims in an emotional appeal to the world opinion. In a speech in the House of Commons, the prime minister, known for his use of robust measures, known as gunboat diplomacy, when required, declared: «The British Empire is known for protecting the interest of the human race and its concern for fair fights. The sun never sets on the British Empire. Lincoln should be aware that the sun will also not set on the crimes of his odious regime, which must go. This use of force against his own population does not belong amongst civilised nations.»
Lincoln was elected in an election many neutral observers describes as rigged. An official in the British foreign office, on condition of anonymity, said: «One-sixth of the population are literally slaves. No free and fair elections can be held under these circumstances. The election of Lincoln is therefore illegitimate, and it is preferable if the international press always refer to it as such.»
Ships from the coalition have long patrolled the coasts around the United States. Their official mission is to stop supplies to the ‘extreme rebels’, such as Nathan Bedford Forrest or Champ Ferguson and his gang. The Lincoln-regime has long protested against these patrols, which it claims only aid in this smuggling of weapons to the rebels but has quietly accepted them, even though the British gunboats have attacked regime-positions several times.
A rebel spokesman denied
the extremists had any influence
amongst the opposition fighters.
‘Now give us weapons.’
The most serious incident happened a couple of months ago, when British and French gunboats hammered Union positions around New Orleans. Almost one hundred regime soldiers died in the attack, and the rebels were able to capture the fortifications afterwards. An investigative committee from the British House of Commons came to the conclusion that: «The federal troops did not signal clearly enough that they were not extreme rebels. They did send out a longboat to parlay with the British commander, but he was in the lavatory during the critical 30 minutes the attack occurred, and was therefore unable to stop it. The Union should have timed their request a bit better.» The committee also suggested the Union owed Great Britain a formal apology for this error.
The rebels in Richmond have begged for a gunboat-free zone for a long time, as a part of a humanitarian intervention. There might be some problems enforcing it, since the city is inland.
The world press prints heartbreaking stories of civilian suffering in the besieged city if Richmond.
A string of letters from 7-year old Beulah in French newspapers has especially touched many people’s hearts. «J’ai peur. La Communauté Internationale doit arrêter l’agression
du tyran Lincoln et son ami Alexandre de Russie.» «Sauvez-moi de régime de Lincoln.». Letters to the editor (not published) have claimed her French and her handwriting are too good for a 7-year old, and that words like «Première Guerre mondiale» and «un holocauste» are too futuristic for her to know. Some have even claimed she is not in besieged Richmond at all, but safe in neutral Canada. But how cynical must one be to doubt the words of a child? And in addition, her mother has assured French papers that every word is true.
Palmerston said: «We are only here to help the moderate rebels fight the extremist groups. But of course, the Lincoln-regime is part of the problem, not the solution. Lincoln must go as a part of a peaceful solution, and the moderate rebels should be part of a government that can decide the future of the country. The rebels’ main demands, their right to decide their own affairs in the cotton industry, should be granted as part of a peace treaty.»
Some critics have raised concerns about the country’s minorities if the extremist rebels should win. Especially the black population would be exposed to reprisals and assaults. A press spokesman for the French emperor Napoleon III, part of the coalition, declared: «The extremists have been known to commit atrocities against this group earlier, and some of them have declared that if they win, ‘they will silence any uppity n***s for good’. It is therefore important to support the moderate elements in the rebellion. The leader of the moderates, Jefferson Davis, should have a say in the fate of these states. If we don’t help the children in besieged Richmond, then extremists like Nathan Bedford Forrest might push the moderates aside. No one will be winners in such a situation.»