Author Topic: History  (Read 40608 times)

DougMacG

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Crafty_Dog

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Re: History
« Reply #51 on: May 25, 2017, 10:05:38 AM »
 :-D

ccp

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Spiridon Ivanovich Putin
« Reply #52 on: June 18, 2017, 07:58:35 AM »
Putin claims his grandfather was a cook or chef who served Rasputin. Lenin, and Stalin.  As author Montefiore notes which would be the most historical chef in history.
 

ccp

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pre Columbian Mexico's original sin (Aztecs)
« Reply #53 on: July 01, 2017, 05:04:20 PM »
I mean since we only seem to find time to denigrate the United States:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-archaeology-skulls-idUSKBN19M3Q6?il=0
« Last Edit: July 08, 2017, 10:24:49 AM by Crafty_Dog »


ccp

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Jack the Ripper kept a diary???
« Reply #55 on: August 08, 2017, 05:10:18 AM »

ccp

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Joseph Stalin's daughter was
« Reply #56 on: September 17, 2017, 04:35:26 PM »
a registered Republican .

and her favorite magazine was National Review:

Information about the next few years is sketchier. Ms. Peters became a United States citizen in 1978 and later told The Trenton Times that she had registered as a Republican and donated $500 to the conservative magazine National Review, saying it was her favorite publication.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/world/europe/stalins-daughter-dies-at-85.html?mcubz=3


Interesting the daughter of a tyrant didn' t become a Democrat!  Guess she knew somethings todays' self righteous do not.

 :wink:

Crafty_Dog

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Stratfor: The First Opium War
« Reply #61 on: June 13, 2018, 08:24:38 AM »
The U.S.-China Trade Dispute: Rehashing the First Opium War
By Ian Morris
Board of Contributors
Ian Morris
Ian Morris
Board of Contributors
Liu Xiaoming, China's ambassador to the United Kingdom, addresses a crowd gathered in London's Trafalgar Square for a Lunar New Year celebration on Feb. 16, 2018.
(JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Contributor Perspectives offer insight, analysis and commentary from Stratfor’s Board of Contributors and guest contributors who are distinguished leaders in their fields of expertise.


    Many of the attitudes on display in the current trade dispute between the United States and China call to mind the sentiments that led to the First Opium War in the 1830s.
    As China continues to gain stature on the global stage, the resulting shift in wealth and power worldwide will present just as many crises as the British Industrial Revolution did in the 19th century.
    If Washington and Beijing fail to consider the motives and limitations of the other side, they may be doomed to repeat the same mistakes that brought the United Kingdom into conflict with China nearly 200 years ago.



The strategist Edward Luttwak likes to speak of the "autism of great powers," by which he means their inability to see issues from anyone else's perspective. Changing planes a few days ago in Chengdu in southwest China, I saw what he meant. On the front page of China Daily, I read the headline "Flexibility Needed on U.S. Trade Issues." The column that followed was almost painfully restrained. China, it seemed to be implying, was the only grown-up in the room, and the outcome of the negotiations with the United States would depend entirely on Chinese decisions. Li Daokui, a former member of the central bank's monetary policy committee, insisted that Beijing must "maintain a balanced frame of mind ... rather than be irritated by the White House's statements or the U.S. president's messages on Twitter."

On the front page of the China Daily's business section, however, the Chinese ambassador to London sounded very irritated indeed. "Unilateralism is on the rise, protectionism is rampant, populism is spreading," Liu Xiaoming lamented. "Trade protectionism is becoming a weapon in the hands of a certain country to provoke trade disputes that put the global economy at risk."

In the United States, discussions of the current arguments over trade overwhelmingly present the issues purely from a U.S. perspective, apparently forgetting that the Chinese view is just as important. Western analysts above all often seem unaware that trade with the West is one of the most sensitive issues in the modern Chinese identity. Every schoolchild learns that it was Western traders who shattered the Qing dynasty, China's last imperial government, ushering in the "century of humiliations," which ended only after Mao Zedong's victory in 1949. The view from Chengdu — or any other of China's booming cities, for that matter — is always suspicious that Westerners will try to bully China over trade. Contemporary arguments are merely the latest act in a longer drama, in which the West continues a tradition of exploiting China and denying it its rightful place in the sun. Chinese leaders cannot afford to take a purely transactional approach to trade negotiations with the United States, because they know that this is not how their citizens will see things. No government concerned with its own domestic survival can be seen as weak on trade with the West. The view from Chengdu matters.

How timely, then, that historian Stephen Platt has published a new book, Imperial Twilight, taking a fresh look at the beginning of modern China's trading relationships with the West in the infamous First Opium War of 1839-42. As recently as the 1990s, the First Opium War was rarely discussed in the West outside academic circles, and few English-language overviews of it were available for the general reader. As China's economy has boomed across the past quarter-century, though, awareness of the conflict's importance has grown, and today several excellent books describe what happened. What makes Platt's book stand out is that it focuses not on the war itself but on its background, and particularly on the personalities who turned a trade war into a shooting war. Many of the attitudes in the 1830s — both Chinese and Western — foreshadow those on display in recent years, and at almost every turn, the 19th-century actors provide striking lessons in how not to run a trade negotiation.

No Chinese government concerned with its own domestic survival can be seen as weak on trade with the West.

How It Started

The basic story is well-known. European merchants had disappointing experiences in China in the 17th century but found new paths to profit in the early 18th century. Tea was the most lucrative route, displacing silk as the biggest moneymaker before 1725. In that year, Britain's East India Company bought over 90 metric tons (100 tons) of tea; by 1805, the amount had grown to 1,814 metric tons. The volume became a problem, because the only item Chinese officials would accept in exchange for tea was silver, which the company had trouble providing in such quantities. Chinese merchants had little interest in exchanging their own silver for other British goods, and so the company steadily drained its reserves. Twice, in 1793 and in 1816, Britain sent embassies to try to convince the Chinese emperor of the excellence of British goods, in the hope of preserving the profits from the tea trade while ending the pressure on their silver. China rebuffed both efforts.

Yet British traders had found another solution, almost as soon as the tea trade began. Unlike Chinese trade officials, who were interested only in silver, ordinary Chinese citizens had a taste for another British import: opium. In 1719, the novelist Daniel Defoe already could imagine Robinson Crusoe carrying a shipment of the drug from Siam to China, remarking that it was "a Commodity which bears a great price among the Chinese, and which at that Time, was very much wanted there." Fortunately for British merchants, the world's best opium came from Bengal, which came under British rule in the 1750s. By the 1820s, the silver that Chinese consumers were spending on opium more than matched the amount the British handed over to buy tea. Chinese consumers bought more than 900 metric tons of opium from British dealers in 1831 alone.


A Trade War With a Military Resolution

The relationship was splendidly transactional and made plenty of people rich. But there were two big problems: First, the trade was fueling a Chinese opium epidemic every bit as bad as the opioid epidemic plaguing the United States today, and second, opium was illegal in China. It was up to the Chinese government to decide what to do about these facts, and heated internal debates ensued. Some officials — particularly those who personally profited from the drug trade — argued that neither legality nor public health was important enough to warrant disrupting trade with the West. The best strategy, they proposed, was to ignore the issue. Meanwhile, some scholars — particularly those excluded from the inner circles of government — argued that morality outweighed profit and wrote essays urging the ruling elite to end the epidemic by simply shutting down all trade with the West. One member of this camp, Bao Shichen, produced a series of pamphlets in the 1820s trying to convince officials that it would be easy to win a trade war with the United Kingdom, which would quickly cave if cut off from Chinese tea.

By the 1820s, the silver that Chinese consumers were spending on opium more than matched the amount the British handed over to buy tea.

Still other experts insisted that the problem was not the opium itself but the deficit its purchase created. "To an individual it may seem like opium is a major problem while silver is a minor one," a scholar named Wu Lanxiu pointed out. "But from the perspective of the empire as a whole, it is opium that is minor. Silver is the major problem." From this standpoint, the solution was obvious: legalize opium and put a tariff on it, requiring Western traders to hand back some of the silver they were taking in. "By such means," Wu added, "we can trade in all the goods of the world but still keep our silver in our country. In [10] years, the economy will recover."

In the end, the emperor went for a different solution. He declared war on drugs, and in 1839 sent Lin Zexu to Guangzhou as his drug czar. Lin confiscated a staggering 1,542 metric tons of opium from Western (mostly British) merchants. The British drug cartel responded by pressuring the government back in London to demand that Beijing repay them the full street value of the lost narcotics. When the emperor refused, a squadron of the United Kingdom's most up-to-date warships descended on Guangzhou in 1840, brushing aside the Celestial Empire's junks and blasting its coastal towns into ruins. The one-sided war dragged on for two more years, until China gave in after the United Kingdom threatened to cut off its rice supply. That move would have meant starvation for thousands.

'If Only' History

The First Opium War is a horrifying tale of mistrust, misunderstanding and miscalculation, and Platt does a superb job in Imperial Twilight of bringing the central characters to life. We meet dreamers and idealists, such as the missionary Thomas Manning, whose obsession with opening China to British trade drove him to sneak into Tibet from India, armed with little more than a waist-length, jet-black beard and a dyspeptic Chinese interpreter, to engineer an audience with the 7-year-old Dalai Lama. At the other end of the spectrum, we get to know the mercenary British and American traders in Guangzhou who resorted to playing leapfrog at all hours of day and night to fill their time.

Some of Platt's villains, such as the Scottish drug lords William Jardine and James Matheson, are worthy of a soap opera, while others take the banality of evil to new depths. Lord Melbourne, the British prime minister, for example, unleashes the Opium War on China with apparently less thought than a modern head of state might put into a tweet. Platt offers pathos aplenty as Charles Elliot, the British superintendent of trade in Canton, comes to pieces under Chinese pressure in 1839, eventually beginning to doubt his own sanity. Good men do bad things, the best intentions pave roads to hell, and golden opportunities are missed. In short, Imperial Twilight is a ripping yarn.

But its powerful thesis is what makes the book so interesting for readers today. "It is important to remember just how arbitrary and unexpected the outcome of this era really was," Platt says. The war was "not part of some long-term British imperial plan. ... Neither did it result from some inevitable clash of civilizations." Rather, it was the individuals who drove everything — which explains why Imperial Twilight is overflowing with such colorful characters. In the age-old debate over the historical roles of very important persons and vast impersonal forces, Platt comes down firmly on the side of the former. He speculates:

    "If Charles Elliot had not let his panic get the best of him when he so dramatically overreacted to Lin Zexu's threats. Or if Lin Zexu himself had been more open to working with, rather than against, Elliot; if they had cooperated on their shared interest in bringing the British opium smugglers under control ... we might be looking back on very different lessons from this era."

And just in case we misunderstand his message, Platt closes with a coda on the business relationship between the Chinese merchant Houqua, possibly the richest man on earth in the 1830s, and the American John Murray Forbes, which "had always been informal, based on trust and affection." If a few of these VIPs had made different choices, Platt implies, everything could have been different — and better.

Imperial Twilight is a masterpiece of what I like to call the "if only" school of history, which holds out the tantalizing prospect of a world that, with wiser decisions, could have been made perfect. Edmund Morgan's magnificent American Slavery, American Freedom is a classic of the genre, insistently hinting that if a few people in 17th-century Virginia had chosen differently, the cancers of slavery and racism would never have entered the U.S. bloodstream. So too, in a different way, is Niall Ferguson's book The Pity of War, arguing that the United Kingdom could have avoided entering World War I. The war then would have been a European conflict but not a global one; the British Empire would have survived; and fascism and communism never would have taken off. 

In the right hands — like those of Platt, Morgan and Ferguson — this kind of exploration produces superb history, explaining why actors acted as they did, while also showing that they did not have to do so, and could in fact have made a better world. Yet I so often end up feeling that the narratives the authors provide not only fail to bear out their theories, but in fact reveal that vast impersonal forces still constrain the choices of VIPs in ways they can rarely understand, let alone control.
Recognizing the Past in the Present

In the early 19th century, Britain's Industrial Revolution was upsetting the balance of global power, just as China's takeoff is doing in the early 21st. It was not inevitable that Britons would use their financial and military muscle to exploit the shifts in 1840, but the revolution constantly threw up situations where bullying was a tempting option — and where China's rulers were tempted to overreact and push back, to defend what they thought the commercial and diplomatic balance ought to be. We might think of each crisis as a roll of the dice. In 1802, 1808, 1814, 1816 and 1831, arguments over trade and respect brought the United Kingdom and China to the brink of violence, but diplomacy and compromise headed off conflict each time. Platt is right that cooler heads could have prevailed in 1839, too; on the other hand, however, hotter heads could equally well have prevailed at any time. And even if 1839 had passed peacefully, crises would have just kept coming. British merchants would have kept pushing to open China to their trade. (In 1859, in fact, their demands would bring on a second shooting war.) Compromises would not have satisfied the Jardines and Mathesons. The likelihood that no British government would ever have decided violence was its least bad option seems vanishingly small.

Vast impersonal forces still constrain the choices of VIPs in ways they can rarely understand, let alone control.

Imperial Twilight seems to me to hold two lessons. The first is that as the East-to-West shift in wealth and power of the early 19th century goes into reverse, the early 21st century will present just as many crises as Platt's story documents. Platt is surely right that character matters and that the particular decisions of the politicians and businessmen at the center of the 19th-century crises were crucially important. The same will almost certainly be true in the 21st century. Even so, character was and will be only one among many forces at work, and regardless of how this year's crisis ends, more will probably follow as China continues to gain stature in the world and U.S. governments debate how best to respond. If history is any guide, these crises will only get worse, and the risk of violence will only increase.

Second, individuals in the 1830s based their actions as much on their sense of history and identity as on careful calculations of self-interest. The same will almost certainly be true in the current decade. The view from Chengdu matters, and the surest way to repeat the mistakes of the past is to forget how heavily the dead hand of the past weighs on interpretations of the present. If either President Donald Trump or President Xi Jinping has a reading list, I would recommend he add Imperial Twilight.

DougMacG

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Re: History, small world
« Reply #62 on: October 08, 2018, 01:58:35 PM »
Hitler, Trotsky, Tito, Freud and Stalin all lived in the same neighborhood in 1913.  They perhaps went to the same cafes and didn't know each other?

https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21859771

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Café_Central

Vladimir Lenin and the Archduke Ferdinand are two more people of note in the area around that time.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 06:20:50 PM by DougMacG »

DougMacG

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Re: History, Churchill, podcast
« Reply #63 on: December 31, 2018, 07:09:12 AM »


Crafty_Dog

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John Frum Cargo Cult
« Reply #65 on: March 19, 2019, 10:43:17 AM »



Crafty_Dog

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GPF: Khrushchev
« Reply #68 on: April 16, 2019, 02:16:13 PM »
   
April 16, 2019


Khrushchev’s Cold War: The Inside Story of an American Adversary
By Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali

In 2007, when “Khrushchev’s Cold War” was published, the Soviet archives were generally more open to Western scholars. Authors Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali had access to incredible materials – from the minutes of Politburo meetings to internal Kremlin documents the CIA would have given anything to see at the time. Their book is still of value, and not just historical value. It is a window into how an adversary thinks, as opposed to how it wishes to be perceived.

An example: Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev vehemently rejected U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Open Skies” initiative. Eisenhower’s idea was that both the U.S. and Soviet Union would permit the other to conduct flights over each other’s territory to help keep track of intercontinental ballistic missile deployments. The logic was that rather than using hit-or-miss intelligence, both sides could have not only a high degree of certainty of what was there but also targeting data. That would create mutual deterrence.

Khrushchev publicly stated that he would not permit the United States to spy on the Soviets. The assumption drawn was that the Soviets would not give up their first strike option; they expected a nuclear exchange under any circumstances and were not giving up any possible advantage. The truth uncovered in Politburo minutes was that Khrushchev feared that the U.S. would discover how few ICBMs the Soviets had and that, worse, on-the-ground inspectors might discover how unreliable their ICBMs were prior to 1964. Rather than a sign of aggressive confidence, his rejection was a desire to hide the truth of Soviet weakness. In the end, it didn’t matter. American U-2s and early reconnaissance satellites gave the U.S. a clear idea of Soviet capabilities.

In his own time, the picture of Khrushchev was of an aggressive ideologue, with an explosive and unpredictable temper. What emerges in “Khrushchev’s Cold War” is a highly pragmatic figure desperately trying to hold the Soviets’ restless empire together while fending off what he saw as overwhelming American power. In Germany, Khrushchev urgently wanted the U.S. to recognize East Germany as a sovereign country; he feared that a Hungarian-style insurrection in Germany would undermine Soviet control. He saw the Americans as the architect of the Polish and Hungarian insurgencies, fed by the fact that neither country was able to develop a viable economy under the Soviet system. But a U.S. intervention in either was impossible. It was not impossible, however, that the Americans and their allies would intervene in East Germany. And given Khrushchev’s nuclear position, this could lead to disaster.

Khrushchev was not the lunatic he appeared to be at the United Nations when he took off his shoe and banged it on the table to show his displeasure with a speaker. He was painfully aware of Soviet weakness, and almost all of his moves were intended to hide or counter that weakness. Meanwhile, he was also aware that he did not have absolute control of the Politburo, whose members he had to consult at every step, and that other members might be more adventurous. Khrushchev was playing two hands: One bluffing the Americans, the other bluffing the Politburo hard-liners into thinking he was one of them.

It turns out that the conventional wisdom of Soviet power during Khrushchev’s reign was wrong. The analysis of his motives was, therefore, inaccurate and the assumption that he had Stalin-esque power was untrue. Another way to put it: Khrushchev sought to protect the Soviet Union using a bluff – a bluff that worked so well that it almost led the U.S. to create a Soviet disaster. He almost bluffed too well.

George Friedman, chairman




 

Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945
By Tony Judt

For two years I’ve been trying to find a post-World War II fact about Europe that my colleague Jacob Shapiro didn’t already know, but every attempt elicited the same response: “Tony Judt talked about that in ‘Postwar.’” It’s been about that long since he reviewed “Postwar” on this website, so I think an appropriate amount of time has passed to highlight it again.

Judt’s ability to craft a compelling narrative while swarming the reader with facts is something to behold. He’s especially good at exposing your misconceptions about Europe after 1945. There are some sections where he dives deep into fashion or film where I lost interest, but the explanation of countries’ strategic thinking is superb.

One of the more remarkable elements is how unique the postwar period was. It’s difficult to appreciate things like that when you’re living them, but Judt’s perspective makes so much of what has happened in the past few years seem almost inevitable. In particular, I’m thinking of the United States’ growing skepticism about the trans-Atlantic alliance and, to a lesser extent, the European Union. The postwar period and years after the Soviet Union fell made it easy to forget how deep the roots of American isolationism are, and how uninterested Americans generally are in being the world’s policeman. And yet Western European policymakers and intellectuals are still debating whether Trump’s foreign policy is a passing phase. If history is a reliable guide, it isn’t.

Relatedly, there are some aspects of the United Kingdom’s relationship with Europe that are jarring in the light of Brexit. For example, Judt notes that British officials worried that failing to join the European Economic Community would doom Western Europe to domination by Germany, a reality that arguably happened as soon as the euro was created but that has certainly happened since then.

A final thought – the only place I found myself questioning Judt was in his accounting of the resilience of Nazism in West Germany. It’s difficult for me to square the Germans whom Judt describes with the Germans I interact with today and what I know about recent German history. On one hand, Judt’s interpretation makes sense: A third of voters backed the National Socialist German Workers’ Party in Weimar Germany’s last free and fair elections in 1932. But that’s not the same as saying “X percentage” of German voters were “Nazis,” enthusiastic or otherwise, as we think of Nazis today. I would assume that a great many Germans were official party members not because they believed in the cause but because membership was a prerequisite for various privileges, then basic rights and, in extreme cases, survival. It becomes clear later that he’s arguing that the Germany that exists today was built in the 1960s during the baby-boomer generation’s backlash against Germany’s fascist past, which helps me make sense of 2019 Germany but doesn’t change my suspicion that he somewhat overstates the Nazis’ support.

Ryan Bridges, analyst








DougMacG

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NHK: Japan knew B29 headed for Hiroshima, Nagasaki were carrying atomic bombs
« Reply #70 on: November 07, 2019, 01:35:15 PM »
and warned no one.
https://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2013/08/special-post-for-august-15-part-1.html

NHK (source) is Japan public television.

"NHK documentary's announcement from [2011], says that the top officers of Japanese imperial army knew in advance the impending US attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and did not do anything."

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xkev97


ccp

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Re: History
« Reply #71 on: November 07, 2019, 02:46:23 PM »
One veteran patient told me he was in the Enola crew but got the flu or some illness so was not called in for the bomb run.

Another told me he was on a naval vessel and could see burned people running around on the shore line some time after the attack.
probably after Japan surrendured



Crafty_Dog

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Tension between US and British goals in WW2
« Reply #74 on: February 05, 2020, 08:02:22 AM »


   
    What We’re Reading: Empires Past and Present
By: George Friedman
The Mantle of Command
By Nigel Hamilton

Historical works about the early phases of World War II are frequently dominated by the personal relationship of Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. The short version of that relationship is that the two had an excellent working relationship despite their massive egos and that the countries they led had compatible war goals.

Nigel Hamilton’s “The Mantle of Command” paints a very different picture. The relationship was cordial but mistrustful, and their goals at the beginning of the war were wildly incompatible. Churchill wanted to save the British Empire. Roosevelt wanted to break the empire and replace it with independent liberal democracies. These goals, regardless of whether they were achieved, necessitated very different strategies.

After Pearl Harbor, the Japanese sent their fleet into the Indian Ocean, wreaking havoc on the Royal Navy there and creating an opportunity to conquer India. The Japanese were pressing overland from Burma and raising an Indian army from a mass of captured soldiers. The American solution, in keeping with its strategy, was to urge the British to allow the Indians to govern themselves immediately, with the promise of independence after the war, and to recruit the Indians to defend India. Churchill absolutely rejected the idea, demanding instead that the U.S. Navy enter the Indian Ocean and engage the Japanese there. Roosevelt refused partly because of the wreckage of Pearl Harbor, and strategically because the U.S. was interested in maintaining the buffer of the Pacific Ocean and had no interest in India. In the end it didn’t matter; the U.S. victory at Midway crippled the Japanese navy and ended its adventure in India.

At the beginning of the war, the British failed to understand that gaining the U.S. as an ally meant the end of their empire. They had common enemies, but they were fighting to defeat them for entirely different reasons. Roosevelt’s vision, as expressed in the Atlantic Charter, demanded the rise of liberal democracies and thus the end of the British Empire. It was successful in the latter but not the former. The Soviet Union was certainly not a liberal democracy, and given the politics of the Cold War, the U.S. had its fair share of missteps too. The only consistent thing was U.S. hostility to the British Empire. In 1956, for example, during the Suez Crisis, President Dwight D. Eisenhower compelled the British to give up the Suez Canal, and with it, any illusions of global hegemony.

What this book points out is that wars are fought in part according to the subjective wishes of leaders. But at their heart, wars are fought for geopolitical reasons. The United States was born from opposition to imperial Britain, which later died by American hands. Churchill discovered that Roosevelt was in some ways dangerous to Britain’s geopolitical imperatives. Roosevelt had the power to undermine Churchill’s most clever plans. And the outcome, whether Roosevelt intended this or not, was to reduce Britain to an element in the American alliance system.

The war was fought with the Axis, but the American Revolution was still going on.

George Friedman, chairman
________________________________________
How to Hide an Empire
By Daniel Immerwahr
The United States is an empire in practice if not in name. Compared with those that came before it, it may be an “accidental empire,” formed by the path of least resistance and circumstance more than vulnerability, imperialist ideology or the thirst for resources. It may be merely a “pointillist empire,” constituted by a constellation of tiny, far-flung protectorates and military footholds rather than large-scale colonies. And the U.S. empire may be a more benevolent one, or at least one more rooted in mutual interest and somewhat more respectful of other sovereignties — more willing even to leave when asked — compared to its 18th- and 19th-century counterparts.
But with 16 overseas territories and troops regularly deployed to a hundred more locations across the world, the U.S. is certainly an empire — and it has been since the settlement and pacification of the west left Americans craving new frontiers and outposts with which to defend them. (Native Americans might argue that the United States has been an empire from the start.)
Daniel Immerwahr’s “How to Hide an Empire” provides a concise and lively overview of how the U.S. empire took shape. I found it valuable, in part, because I’ve found myself thinking increasingly about the extent to which the abundant geographic and resource advantages the U.S. enjoys, combined with the peculiarities of the U.S. political system and social attitudes, shape (or more often hinder) U.S. attempts to execute anything resembling a grand strategy. The U.S., in other words, is less vulnerable than perhaps any country in the history of the world. It can make mind-numbing strategic blunders, swing between interventionism and isolationism, get bogged down in overseas engagements, wreck its economy and so forth, without ever fundamentally exposing itself to existential consequences. Sometimes it exposes itself to none at all.
One result of this is that U.S. strategy is rooted in relatively few fixed guiding principles, often leading to dramatic swings in policy from one administration to the next, especially in the absence of a Soviet-style threat as an organizing principle. It will experiment with foreign policies driven by moral principles, ones driven by political attitudes, and ones driven by a diffuse, oft-conflicting array of stakeholders. Most prove temporary. The ones that stick around sometimes have obvious strategic value. But just as often they survive largely as a result of expediency, path dependency, or the mere fact that undoing them isn’t worth anyone’s time and effort. The history of the U.S. empire very much reflects this.
Phillip Orchard, analyst   




ccp

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Where did word quarantine come from
« Reply #75 on: April 13, 2020, 07:04:12 PM »
Only decades after the Black Death, an effective instrument against further plagues was introduced: the quarantine. Visitors of the exhibition find out that the Venetian port of Ragusa (today Dubrovnik) introduced in 1377 the first specially designated isolated areas for sailors, passengers and goods coming from supposedly plague-contaminated areas. They were kept in isolation for 40 days. The name quarantine, which comes from quaranta,  or “forty” in Italian, has continued to this day to be used to describe the segregation of people. With the coronavirus pandemic featuring so prominently in the news, the word has become a part of daily life.*

*https://www.timesofisrael.com/german-exhibit-on-black-death-goes-virtual-and-viral-shows-how-jews-were-blamed/

ccp

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gunpowder silk and
« Reply #76 on: May 02, 2020, 07:05:58 AM »



DougMacG

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Crafty_Dog

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