lundi 12 juillet 2010


I have just finished reading Margaret MacMillan’s Paris 1919. My son gave it to me at Christmas.   I read it one chapter at a time because it is heavy fare and needs digesting in between helpings.
It relates to the so called Paris Peace Conference after the 1914-18 Great War and was supposed to end all wars for a millennium.  It gave birth to the League of Nations, several international organisations and, although unwittingly, to the 1939-46 war (in the Pacific).
While reading it I thought to myself that it could just as well have been titled U.N 2010 or the Great Gerrymanderers.  All the wheelings and dealings, borders drawing and moving made then find their likes in Potsdam, Yalta, the current goings on at the Security Council, in Palestine and Israel and in so many other places that they all  can not be listed here.
When will we learn to stop playing God with nations and let people sort out their problems their own way?  After all the white race, the former colonial powers should, by now, have learned that they nothing but mess things a little more when they try to impose civilization and democracy on peoples who never asked for it and could not care less.
Of course when you have stuck your neck out you must be careful not get it chopped off when you tuck it in.
(Margaret MacMillan,Paris 1919, six months that changed the world, Random House, New York, 2001-2002, preface by Richard Holbrooke.)

6 commentaires:

  1. I love your review! It makes me want to jump in and read it. However, I'm in vacation mode, much to do around the place to satisfy hungry mouths. I see you're getting quite a variety of visitors!

  2. I, too, read "Paris 1919", but two or three years ago, and enjoyed it.

    Given that the First World War (The Great War) sowed the seeds for the Second World War, the period 1914 - 1945 will be seen by future generations as the Great European Civil War.

    The 20 year period in-between the two wars was merely a time-out.

  3. I am intrigued by your question, Paul: "When will we learn to stop playing God with nations and let people sort out their problems their own way?"

    I guess the answer is, "When their retail markets and resources are no longer of interest to us." Which is a fancy way of saying, "Never."

  4. @Rosaria: do read it when it will suit you. I'm sure you will enjoy it; you are right it is no summer reading.
    I do have a variety of visitors from several countries but manyl come via searches for somebody else as my Feedjit data shows. I suspect a few were Googling for Father Paul Costopoulos an US orthodox pope not related, as far as I can tell, to me.
    @Phil: a time-out, I lke that. We are now in the era of global proxy wars and clics activated destruction devices. That explains why, although still terrible, we have so relatively few miltary casualties in the war zones.
    The guys manning the clics in that cave somewhere in Arizona are safely remote from injury but they cause the most destruction. The foot or mounted soldier doing the patrol duty is the only one in actual danger and he is the feeder to the pushbutton officers.
    @Rob-bear: indeed greed has alot to do with it. An indication of how right you are the places we do not get involved in such as Laos, Mali and other such areas.

  5. Where your Fr. Paul can be found.

  6. Yes I had come across that some time ago, but thanks anyway.