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World Association of International Studies

PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post on Dismantling Empires
Created by John Eipper on 01/15/14 3:53 AM

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on Dismantling Empires (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 01/15/14 3:53 am)

Cameron Sawyer (14 January) is extremely correct about his accusations against the Great War, but he is missing the point. It was not WWI that created all the mess in the Levant; it was the greediness and the treachery of two other empires, the French and the British, that created the mess.

The Ottoman empire was a monstrosity, and many oppressed peoples needed their independence and freedom, but they were not supposed to become divided into silly states dominated from London and Paris. Still now we have the problem of the Kurds divided and oppressed.

Also the great problems that developed in the 1920s and '30s in Central Europe were not the fault of something strange and indefinite such as WWI; it was the greediness of the government men in France and the UK, who wanted to do in Europe what they had done in the Levant. The real point is that the mistakes of the treaty of Versailles were not the fault of WWI but of those who drew up such treaties.

By the way, what do Europe and Turkey have in common except 700 years of war one against the other?

JE comments: My response to Eugenio Battaglia's last question is that Turkey is in Europe, or at least part of it is (Thrace).  Since the geography-geek days of my childhood, I've known that Turkey and Russia are the only nations in two separate continents.  But Eugenio is asking something more:  what is "European" about Turkey?  Interestingly, there were a few centuries during which Byzantium was the epicenter and last "civilized" vestige of European culture.

As for WWI, Eugenio makes an important point:  the war shouldn't be blamed; the blame belongs to the people who started (and finished) it.  Although this distinction was lost on the cannon-fodder in the trenches, who fought on with a tautological resignation:  "We're here because we're here because we're here because we're here..."  (sung to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne").


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