Friday, March 28, 2008

Historical Overview

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Skulduggery has always been the order of business whenever money and power are at stake, so what people are doing today is not new. Power corrupts; Absolute power corrupts absolutely. (Lord Acton)

Starting current history with the victory in the Seven Years' War (1756-63) of Great Britain (so-named by James I at his coronation in 1603 at the beginning of the seventeenth century), we see this: the world war established, in the eighteenth century, Great Britain as the preeminent word power by removing France as a rival to the world-wide British Empire. The loss of the 13 Colonies twenty years later (1783) can be viewed as a mere branching of the Anglo-American empire. In the nineteenth century, these two houses of Anglo-America both increased in size and power. The twentieth century was mostly about shifting power from London to Washington, everything else — including two world wars and hundreds of millions killed — was incidental to that main outcome. This was by design. In world affairs, there are few accidents.[1] Canadians have a uniquely sanguine view of the British Empire because Canadians (outside Québec) were treated well enough by the British and they were protected by Imperial membership from the Americans. But the British Empire was not so kind to other peoples as an honest look at the record reveals starkly. The twentieth century was about the rise of the United States of America and the destruction of the Old Order: All TWELVE EMPIRES [2] were wiped away, including the British Empire. Only the American Empire (which has never thought of itself as an empire) was left in 1945. But, oddly enough, at the very moment the monster was supposed to become omnipotent, it became impotent. That was precisely when the U.S.A. dropped two (just to make sure) atom bombs on Japan. The Anglo-American empire (that's us) has not won a war in the sixty-three years since — despite having spent trillions of dollars on "defence" while lording supremacy over everyone else (in a benign and friendly way, of course). After 250 years, as the twenty-first century begins, Anglo-American hegemony appears to be over. Concentration of money and power has reversed as capital flows away from the United States toward the Third World, especially to China and India. But that is not all. State-level military power is worth less and less, even as the United States bankrupts itself with military spending and more fruitless wars. A new Age is dawning. It sure does look that way.

What will happen? Prediction is very difficult, especially if it involves the future. (Niels Bohr)

[1] The most clever people, who usually have at their command vast resources, are invariably engaged in international schemes, plots and, yes, conspiracies. They are always playing with fire and, as smart as they might be, they don't always know what is going to happen. Disasters they create cannot be called accidents — deliberate harm is intended through deliberate actions. Oops, sometimes unintended people are harmed. Oops, sometimes the schemers don't get what they expected. (Accident: an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally.)

[2] TWELVE EMPIRES were wiped away in the 20th century

1. British Empire
2. Chinese Empire
3. Empire of Japan
4. Russian Empire
5. German Empire
6. Austro-Hungarian Empire
7. Dutch Empire
8. Spanish Empire
9. Belgian Empire
10. Ottoman Empire and the Caliphate
11. French Empire
12. Portuguese Empire

The 1,000-year-old Holy Roman Empire had been destroyed by Napoleon and was reorganized as Imperial Germany (Hohenzollern dynasty) and Austria-Hungary (Habsburg dynasty). Belgium was created after the Napoleonic Wars. The Soviet Union proved to be a useful foil for the United States especially after 1945.

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