Review: A Peace to End All Peace–The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East

5 Star, Country/Regional, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, History
Peace All
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5.0 out of 5 stars Supporting Links and Passing Praise

September 24, 2007

David Fromkin

I am forty books behind in actual reading, but I had the pleasure of scanning this book while on the sidelines of my son’s football practice, and it is, as so aptly described by the best of the reviews, breathtaking.

The sentence that grabbed me is in the final paragraph, where the author sums up the roots of the Middle Eastern troubles as being directly on the heads of the English in particular, who lied, cheated, and stole without mercy. He says of Loyd George: “His political deviousness and his moral and financial laxness were never forgotten.” Would that this were so, for Dick Cheney and George Bush are our Lloyd George.

I have written a full summative review of a book that complement’s this author’s sensible account, and reading that review before reading this book could be helpful. The other books also support the view that we are our own worst enemy, that there is plenty of money with which to make the world heaven on earth, but rule by secrecy, predatory capitalism, and fascism disguised as democracy has looted the planet and picked the pocket of the individual taxpayer while destroying the middle class. We are repeating history, in part because we have one of the most poorly educated populations with respect to history and global cultures, than ever before. The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency has taken to complaining recently that he cannot find enough qualified recruits in our shallow pool of “worldly” talent.

The Health of Nations: Society and Law beyond the State

The key point of the above book is that the Treaty of Westphalia and the creation of nation-states as soverign entities with unrestricted powers within their own borders–borders created by the English and other invasive colonizing powers with the US the most active in the last 200 years–were huge mistakes. We should instead have at least made Indigenous Peoples co-equal, and understood, and respected, tribal boundaries established over centuries. Ignorance and hubris/arrogance combine with greed at the corporate and dictator levels (see Ambassador Palmer’s book on “Breaking the Real Axis of Evil” to understand why our White House loves 42 of the 44 dictators on the planet, and Tim Weiner’s “Legacy of Ashies” for why CIA went straight into the business of supporting dictators as proxy bullies). Paul Bremer had it right: the root cause of terrorism is us. See my comment for a note on Chinese Irregular Warfare that just took force off the table as a US option.

See also
The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Vintage)
The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America
9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA, Fourth Edition
Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions
Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush’s War on Iraq
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy
Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders

On the positive side, but Amazon only allows ten active links, see
Yochai Benkler, Wealth of Networks
Barry Carter, Infinite Wealth
C.K. Prahalad, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid
J. F. Rischard, HIGH NOON: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them
Robert Steele, The New Craft of Intelligence
Robert Steele, The Smart Nation Act: Public Intelligence in the Public Interest
Thomas Stewart, Wealth of Knowledge
Alvin Toffler, Revolutionary Wealth
E. O. Wilson, The Future of Life
Medaard Gabel, Seven Billion Billionaires (forthcoming)

I hope this contextual connecting of some dots is viewed as helpful. This is not a “pretend” review!

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