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The United Kingdom's bye bye to Europe

 
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Apr, 2013 12:13 am
@georgeob1,
Quote:
At the same time it is easy to forget the troubles we and Europe might be experiencing if there was no union. There's the rub. We have full knowledge of the rocks and pebbles on the path we are walking, but too easily forget others we may have avoided.

History doesn't reveal its alternatives.

i will give you that we dont know what would have been better than what we got, but that does not make it easier to forgive now that we know that nearly 70 years was spent building on sand. the eu does not suffer from a hard path, i suffers from over indulgence in fantasy, a ignorance of human nature, and far too much lying.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Apr, 2013 12:15 am
@hawkeye10,
Those are words that can be expressed with a fair degree of accuracy about ANY comparable period in history. History is a story of human folly.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Wed 3 Apr, 2013 02:00 am
@georgeob1,
There's an excellent book by Barbara Tuchman entitled The March of Folly. If you have not read it, i highly recommend it.
georgeob1
 
  3  
Reply Wed 3 Apr, 2013 01:38 pm
@Setanta,
I have. I started with her "First Salute" and went on to her volume about the dire 14th century and finally "March of Folly". By then I had almost fully descended into her pessimistic view of our race. Of all the episodes there, the section about the descent into WWI was the most depressing to me.

I do like history, but I'm not as widely read as are you. About 2/3rds of the time I'm with you on your riffs, the rest I'm just following along. Once on a very long Westpac deployment I read about six of Will (& Ariel) Durant's nine volumes (partly just to get my mind off the war). Later I tried Fernand Braudell's "Annales " approach, but soon tired of the detail. I do enjoy the more vivid and dramatic storytellers and interpretors of history, but also know that, as in physics, the more closely one looks into smaller details the more elusive the truth becomes, and the more one realizes it could all have gone another way. Perhaps there's a quantum effect in everything.

However, I'll happily welcome any other recommendations you'd like to make. You're a proven guide in my eyes. A master of sometimes arccane detail , who, with that, keeps the big picture in focus. (That's the part that pisses me off.)
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Thu 4 Apr, 2013 06:22 am
@georgeob1,
Oh God . . . you know i would never, ever want to piss you off, O'George. This:

Quote:
I do enjoy the more vivid and dramatic storytellers and interpretors of history, but also know that, as in physics, the more closely one looks into smaller details the more elusive the truth becomes, and the more one realizes it could all have gone another way. Perhaps there's a quantum effect in everything.


. . . is a very cogent observation. There are levels of detail in history which one ignores at one's peril if other knowledgeable people are around. For example, it is my reading of history that although religion is often used to justify going to war, wars are only sustained based on economics or politics. I was making this point to someone recently, and used the Thirry Years War as an example. Walter immediately jumped on that, and pointed out, correctly, that there wasn't one war in that 30 years period, but more than a dozen. I wouldn't argue with that, but i was using "the Thirty Years War" as a short-hand for the point i was making. There was a major conflict for the balance of power in Europe which finally drew in France, and that was between the Empire (the Austrians) and France. Cardinal Richelieu began a program of providing subsidies to Sweden to keep them in the war against the Empire, and eventually committed French troops to the effort, even going so far as to engage in joint campaigns with the Swedes. So, basically, Catholic France (and it's Cardinal-Archbishop chief minister) supported and joined Protestant Sweden in order to curb the power of the Catholic HRE. Politics and economics trump religion every time in any war that doesn't end within the first few weeks. Walter was correct, but i was limiting myself to a level of detail which made my point without venturing into arcana which can put people to sleep.

As for things having gone the other way, that's also an astute observation. There is not nearly the determinism in history which people like to believe, those who believe that events were inevitable. The take-over of France's government by Napoleon was certainly not inevitable, and in fact, he almost lost his nerve and might have failed in a matter of minutes if his brother had not put some spine into him--just as one example. There are also many accidents of history, events which lead to what others thought were inevitable ends, but which would not have occurred without other, earlier historical events. At the time that the Albigensian crusade began, Languedoc and the Occitan speaking regions of southwestern Europe (from northern Italy across southern France and right into Spain) were the industrial heartland of Europe, and in large part from the wool and woolen garments trade. The forty plus year war there ruined that dominance, and Flanders and England stepped into the gap, England in a rather unconscious way. The wealth of England was founded on wool, but it wasn't inevitable. The collapse of that industry in Languedoc gave the Flemish an entrée into the international wool textiles market which benefited England as the principle supplier to wool in Flanders. I'm sure the English would have done well by other means, but their real wealth was founded on wool, and that was an accident of history.

**************************************************
For "more vivid and dramatic storytellers and interpretors of history" i highly recommend Francis Parkman, who wrote a seven volume history of France and England in North America, and remains to this day THE English-language authority on that long-running conflict. His scholarship is faultless and his narratives engrossing. If nothing else, read his volume entitled Montcalm and Wolfe, about the French and Indian war. His comments on Frederick II of Prussia and how he pissed off three women in Europe (Maria Theresa, Madame de Pompador and Elizabeth, the Empress of Russia), until they finally put aside their differences to attack Prussia are outrageous. Parkman is given to wonderfully entertaining flights of prose.

I've recently re-read Mahan, but given your professional background, i'm sure you've already read him. I do recommend to you The Naval War of 1812, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., New York, 1881--it was published in paper bound withing the last 15 years. Roosevelt's scholarship was sound enough that when the Royal Navy was writing a history of their service in the 1890s, they commissioned Roosevelt to write the article on "the American War." Roosevelt also wrote several volumes on the history of American expansion into the west, but i don't have the titles on the tip of my tongue.

Just about anything by Christopher Hibbert, an historian and biographer. In particular, i rcommend The Days of the French Revolution and Nelson, a Personal History. The former refers to the journées, the important days when significant events took place during the revolution. The latter is a biography of Horatio Nelson which gives short shrift to the military details of his career, because the man and his personal life are Hibbert's focus.

I could probably go on for a long time like this, but i'll put a period to it now.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Apr, 2013 06:41 am
@Setanta,
Although Hibbert is (was) one of England's "popular historians", all of his books are well-documented, carefully indexed, and eminently readable.
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Thu 4 Apr, 2013 06:50 am
@Walter Hinteler,
I greatly enjoy his writing. The Destruction of Lord Raglan was a good combination of biography and history, although i got it from a friend in England, and i don't know if it was ever published in the United States. Red Coats and Rebels was not bad, either, and provides a view of our revolution which most Americans aren't usually exposed to. Many (all?) of his biographies were entitled "personal histories," a markedly different approach to biography. I don't think anyone could ever accuse him of hagiography.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Apr, 2013 12:43 pm
@Setanta,
Thanks very much for the recommendations. I think I'll start with Parkman. I've always been fascinated by the American role igniting the Seven Years War, and the consequences for France in its ensuing descent into revolution.

I was fascinated with Will Durant's description of the Albigensian suppression in his wonderful volume #6, but don't know the larger patterns of history surrounding it well enough. Is the Catalan language of northeast Spain a relic of Occitan?

I've read a lot, but not in a well-organized or systematic way and have the defects in understanding that result. We did read a lot of Mahan in Annapolis. " The Influence of Seapower on History" was a sacred text there.

As in physics, where Newtonian mechanics works very well for things above the scale of Planck constant, which establishes the measure of granularity in the material world, I suspect there is something analogous in human affairs as well. Perhaps it involves some (probably variable) measures of group interaction, dependent on things like prevailing communication and economic connectivity.

I'll follow up with you on this if you will allow. I'll also try not to piss you off, but as we both know that's an uncertain prospect at best. I've got a bad temper as well. but, compared to yours, my fuse is very slow.

Walter has no fuse at all. Instead he gets even patiently with shitty little corrections and reinterpretations.

Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Apr, 2013 12:53 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
Is the Catalan language of northeast Spain a relic of Occitan?
Since this question arose here on A2K some time ago already, I know now that Catalan is 'only' closely related to Occitan - both are official languages in Catalonia (Aranese = Occitan).

That's just a shitty response/remark, nothing corrected nor re-interpreted.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Apr, 2013 01:18 pm
@georgeob1,
Not the Seven Years War but a bit later though with consequences for the French ... did you know that the only German force to fight without interruption against the French during the Napoleonic Wars was the King's German Legion? (I didn't. Until Monday, when I'd been at the mausoleum of George I and read afterwards a bit of the Hannoveranian/Brunswick history again.)
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Apr, 2013 02:23 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:

georgeob1 wrote:
Is the Catalan language of northeast Spain a relic of Occitan?
Since this question arose here on A2K some time ago already, I know now that Catalan is 'only' closely related to Occitan - both are official languages in Catalonia (Aranese = Occitan).

That's just a shitty response/remark, nothing corrected nor re-interpreted.


You do know, Walter, that I don't waste my time taking little digs at folks I think are jerks. Only those I like ! Cool
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Apr, 2013 03:55 am
@Walter Hinteler,
The Seven Years War and the French and Indian War were actually unrelated--they were only coincidental. As for the French and Indian War, that was all George Washington's fault. He made just about every military mistake possible in his brief campaign against the French. However, George always learned from his mistakes, and he didn't repeat them.

I don't know that anyone could have prevented the French revolution, but a wiser head than the one Louis XVI possessed might have put it off.
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2016 04:47 am
Reading, appreciative of British and European insights. The pound is taking a beating today, but I suspect the markets will steady in the coming days, and the world will not crack into pieces.

Congrats Brexiters.

Market, pound
https://www.google.com/amp/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/36611512?client=safari#
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2016 05:30 am
That was indeed one of the more satisfying and informative conversations I've had on A2K. Thank's Lash for bringing in back to the front of my queue.

Well I got a premonition of today's news a few days ago when I saw a news depiction of the trend of recent poll results in the UK on the Leave/Remain issue. At the time the majority appeared to prefer Remain, but the Leave fraction was steadily rising and at a fairly fast rate over a period of weeks.

Still unexpected news. Cameron and Britain are out. Who will replace Cameron? Will the Conservatives retain the government? What will be the efects in an EU already strained by North/South economic and financial divides and issues over immigration and assimilation? Will German Chancellor Merkel's influence over EU affairs shrink or grow? I don't pretend to know any of these answers.

I think the best outcome here (if it can be achieved) is for the British and the EU to come to a speedy accomodation on trade and access, so they can continue to share healthy economic and political interests, and for the EU to finally address long deferred issues of ambiguous sovereignty within its remainder. There are already issues among the member nations in this area (Hungary is an example), but there is also a great deal that beneficially unites the EU nations, and I hope that survives whatever unfolds.
CalamityJane
 
  3  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2016 08:58 am
@georgeob1,
Who knew that in 2011 we talked about this already. Despite that, I would have thought that the outcome is in favor for the EU and I am quite shocked of the Brexit.
It's almost predictable that Scotland and Northern Ireland will break off now and seek to remain in the EU. The numbers yesterday from their regions were a clear yes to EU.

Interesting times ahead and I do hope that the first economic shock as well as the British Pound will regain some of its composure back. Time will tell of the true economic ramifications for GB and EU. It's sad!

Will there be a Departugal? Italeave?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2016 09:15 am
@CalamityJane,
I've read that Italians are thinking about it, but I didn't save links.
I'm still shocked about the vote but I don't understand all the pros and cons and whats and wherefores. UK-A2K people I think of as good friends vary strongly on this business.
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2016 09:29 am
Huge move by the Brits. I don't understand the economics very well. Not sure what the fallout will be from this.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2016 09:33 am
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:
I've read that Italians are thinking about it, but I didn't save links.
All right wing parties (today, it was the Lega Nord in Italy) in Europe want their countries to leave now.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2016 09:35 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Makes sense.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2016 10:09 am
@georgeob1,
The EU doesn't have really a "plan B", despite what had been said before. (Seems, no-one believed a Brexit really could happen.)

Now, the EU-usual dispute among the member countries has started - the only agreement is: the UK should leave the EU as fast as possible.
0 Replies
 
 

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