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.)