Nov

21

 Have you heard about "The Untold History of the US" on Showtime, directed by Oliver Stone. With a touch of Jantelagen.

'So, why take the time to watch this documentary and read the book? In Stone's words, "We're going to go in the junk heap of history like everyone else at the end of time, and they're going to talk about the US Empire the same way that they talk about the Ottoman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the British Empire, the Roman Empire. Six of them bit the dust in the 20th century. What makes us think that we are exceptional to history?"'

Stefan Jovanovich comments: 

Details, details.


The Ottomans,
at their height, controlled everything in Europe east from Vienna to the Black Sea beyond the Crimea, the entire Arabian peninsula, the southern coast of the Mediterranean as far west as Algeria, and what are now Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Azebaijan and Georgia.

Mr. Stone and his pet historian may wish to think that this all fell apart at the end of World War I just as the Austro-Hungarian, Russian and German Empires did; but the truth is that the decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire occurred over two and a half centuries. If one wants to look for lessons from history, it is that strong countries should not prey on weak ones. The Russians, British, French, Germans, Austrians and Hungarians, Italians all brought themselves miseries beyond measure in their efforts to pick over the carcass of the Ottomans. Only Bismarck had the sense of want to leave the dubious rewards of the Middle East to others, and he lost his job and Germany its imperial future because the Kaiser decided it was more important to make friends with the Turks than with his own cousin in St. Petersburg.


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