vincere scimus, victoria uti sciamus? [Re: [SPORK] The Sum of all ...]

Dave Long
Tue, 25 Mar 2003 13:05:06 -0800

> >Also consider:  are we the Germans?  Germany (and friends, e.g. Austria) 
> >dominated science, technology, medicine, philosophy, and in general global 
> >culture during the latter half of the 19th and first half of the 20th 
> >century.  The clearest example of this was their language dominance:  you 
> >couldn't *be* a man of letters, really, w/o at least reading some German 
> >--- most of the scholarly journals were in that language.  After WWII, this 
> >changed.  Why?
> They lost.

Twice.  A great deal of de-deutsching happened
due to the Great War.  For instance, the royals
we now know as Windsors were Saxe-Coburg-Gothas,
but felt need for a more propagandically proper
family name during WWI. [0]

It appears, though, that it isn't enough to win.
My short take on the XX century is that Britannia
Ruled the Waves at its start, and "won" two wars
against upstarts, only to have yet another upstart
(which was very good at staying out of those wars
until after much of the dying had been done) take
its place at the front of the peleton. [1]

Would we be in the same position today, if four
major European powers hadn't plunged themselves
into a bit too much war early last century, and
then gone back for seconds? [2]

If we proceed to fight major wars this century,
cui bono?

yin shui si yuan,

:: :: ::

[0] Their cousin, the Kaiser, upon hearing news
of their name change, is said to have called for
a production of that famous English play, "The
Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha".

The world was a bit more clubby and globalized
before 1914; I think some of the W's nee S-C-G's
also had to give up their German Admiralties
as a result of hostilities.

In recent news, check out the PM of Bulgaria.

[1] This is why I think "get on top and beat
everyone else down" is a poor doctrine.  Any
individual upstart may have poor chances, but
eventually one will succeed.  Far, far better
to work for a world in which security is not
a matter of whether one is #1 or #10, a world
in which one can encourage trade, development,
etc. and the natural changing of places such
things entail, than to encourage Hobbes.

[2] Among other things, the first war meant
that where german companies had had a lock on
intellectual property, we could ignore patents,
or even reassign them to our companies.

Why did they do it?  War was considered as a
successful arm of foreign policy, but in this
case it turned out not to be.  According to
Kissinger and others, Prussia did remarkably
well for itself while Bismarck was around to
put a velvet glove on the iron fist; perhaps
his successors wanted to use the latter and
forgot about the former.

>From Koerner again (TPOC), on Richardson
9.2 Statistics of Deadly Quarrels
> [Richardson] does not investigate the possiblity that war may, under
> certain circumstances, represent rational state policy.  It is,
> of course, unlikely that both sides in a war will benefit, and it
> often happens that both sides end up worse off, but this does not
> appear always to have been the case.  It could be argued that for
> states like Bismarck's Prussia, Great Britain from 1660 to 1914 and
> the United States from its foundation to the present day, the costs
> of wars have (on average) been outweighed by their benefits.

and, for anyone suffering from irony-deficiency:

> > aggression was so widespread that any scheme to prevent war by
> > restraining any one named nation is not in accordance with the history
> > of the interval AD 1820 to 1945.
> (Richardson's discussion was written just after a great war led by
> Britain and the United States to destroy German and Japanese militarism
> for ever.  In 1991 the Governments of Britain and the United States
> complained bitterly that Germany and Japan refused to engage in a
> war against Iraq.)