The 1648 Treaty of Westphalia ended the Wars of the Reformation, laid the foundations for today’s system of nation-states, and drew the key borders of modern Europe. Below is a 100% accurate rendition of the final negotiations.
Today, Russia celebrated Victory Day: the anniversary of Germany’s 1945 surrender in World War II. That milestone offers a lesson about the war in Ukraine, but not the one claimed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. For the past fifteen years, Western nations have ignored one of World War II’s most obvious warnings … possibly until now.
Putin at today’s Victory Day parade in Moscow
Britain and France Appease Hitler
In 1938, Adolf Hitler threatened to invade Czechoslovakia. He’d been supporting a separatist movement in a border area called the Sudetenland, by German-speaking Czechoslovak citizens. And he claimed he had to invade to protect those German-speakers. Continue reading “Putin and Appeasement’s Bad Track Record”
Modern democracy gives us the best governments the world has ever seen. Or maybe Winston Churchill put it better when he said, “democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried.” But democracy hasn’t taken root everywhere. And its success has robbed all other governments of legitimacy — everywhere. That includes monarchy: once the world’s most stable form of government. So a country that can’t adopt democracy has no legitimate option. The result: brutal strongmen, like Vladimir Putin, as well as authoritarian hierarchies, like the Chinese Communist Party.
Recent events have reminded me of America’s unusual advantage on the world stage. We have a highly professional and uncorrupt military: a blessing enjoyed by few nations today or at any time in history.
The Russian kleptocracy goes to war
Today, the Russian army is bogged down in Ukraine — apparently due to its corruption and low competence. Putin’s Russia is a kleptocracy: a state ruled by theft. In other words, the Russian government regularly diverts public resources into private pockets, particularly Putin’s pockets and those of other Russian oligarchs, as well as their supporters’ pockets. Military experts think that corruption has played a central roll in stalling the invasion. Those diversions of vital resources create inefficiencies. That’s why a forty-mile-long convoy, bound for Kyiv, sits idle and vulnerable, stretched out across the northern part of Ukraine. The soldiers lack fuel, replacement parts for “lemon” equipment, and even food. (Reports say they’re robbing supermarkets and begging Ukrainian civilians for food.) Continue reading “Thank you, American armed forces”
World History Encyclopedia has a great new video program. They release two new videos about history per week, and you can subscribe on YouTube. Just click below.
I’m proud to serve on the Board of Advisors for this great non-profit. I can’t recommend World History Encyclopedia more highly. As the video points out, “[h]istory grows your mind and helps you make sense of where we came from.”
In a second term, the ballot box would no longer restrict Trump. So we can expect:
- Expanded use of the Department of Justice (DoJ) against the President’s opponents, including members of Congress.
- More use of force against protesters.
- Federal tolerance of crime against the President’s opponents (e.g., Michigan’s governor).
- Refusal of federal disaster funds and other resources for blue states.
- Further suppression of information on Covid-19’s nationwide impact.
- Prompt firing of senior officials and federal prosecutors who try to restrain the President.
- White House orders blocking DoJ prosecution of the President’s allies.
- More separation of children from immigrant parents.
- Withdrawal of federal resources aimed at curbing White supremacists.
- Federal support for attacks on the voting process, particularly in swing states, probably leading to “disqualification” of large numbers of ballots and voters in 2022 and 2024.
Last week, I posted this article that had 3 real theories on the origins of April Fool’s Day, and 3 fake theories. Below are the 3 true theories: Continue reading “Follow-up to REAL theories for the origin of April Fool’s Day”
Historians debate the origins of April Fool’s Day, with three possible explanations. Which of the following are real; which three are actual theories for the holiday’s origin? Continue reading “Which of these are REAL theories for the origin of April Fool’s Day?”
A virus circles the world, killing 1% of the population or more, particularly the elderly … and people just go about their business. Even in countries that understand contagion, no one healthy stops working, and neither do most of the sick. In fact, if you suggest staying home, most people think you’re crazy. Why manufacture an economic disaster? That’s how our ancestors would react to coronavirus, from the ancient world through early modern times. Their lives already involved a steady risk of death from acute, fast-acting disease, so this comparatively mild new illness would hardly set them back.
Here’s a prediction. As Benedict Arnold means treason to Americans, Donald Trump will someday mean corruption. And politicians who support him will be painted by the same brush.