‘Governments need more history graduates’

Debate 4 pm Sunday

Rules of engagement

  • All comments to be prefixed with opp or aff
  • Salty language allowed
  • No abuse but ad homs okay as long as they are subtle.
  • Zero points for more than 1000 words.
  • Added points for puns and humour.

I’ve put this up early in case you want to do any more organising. If you want to add anything else to this put in a comment and I’ll move it to here.

73 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  September 11, 2016

    Where are you Gezza? Supposed to lead off the debate for the affirmative! Are you still trying to find the ref to bribe?

  2. Conspiratoor

     /  September 11, 2016

    No pressure G. Don’t let Al rush you. You will need to pull out a big one. I’ve assembled a team of debating legends. Even had a call from David Lange ‘step back from me young man. I can smell the uranium on your breath’. Cheers,c

    • Conspiratoor

       /  September 11, 2016

      Here he is. Delivering a masterclass on a young John Key who was completely out of his depth against the big guy

      • patupaiarehe

         /  September 12, 2016

        People should watch that til the end…Skip to 2:06..

  3. OPP. Umm Governments need more graduates in Geography and Government and Recent Political History. All year 13 students at secondary school should be taught how to evaluate information and principles of Logic. (And have the right to call bullshit when teachers say outrageous untruths). But the most important requirement is for any graduate to be able to express themselves in the language of discourse of the area they are in, so they can actually contribute their knowledge for the benefit of all. However, whatever assets we have for tertiary education should be devoted to research in areas of the physical and mathematical sciences, medicine, dentistry, psychology, educational research, information and communications science. History is merely the record of what went before, and should be part of any study of the elements of the areas outlined earlier. The so-called lessons of history that need to be known else they be repeated, are actually commonsense which is either possessed or not. We can’t do it all?

    • Conspiratoor

       /  September 11, 2016

      Oh dear Colonel, this is not how it’s supposed to go. To use a chess analogy (in a thick russian accent) ‘you castle too early’. We must vait for the Aff Constructive to fire his best shot first. Good stuff though. Cheers,c

      • Blazer is that you Conspiring? Or is there more than one of you? I don’t have to defend myself , I am past that. Read learn and digest – and if you think I speak bullshit, then ignore me. But secretly, you know I speak some truth’s.if not the whole truth?

        • Conspiratoor

           /  September 11, 2016

          BJ, this is the real conspirator. Blazer appears to have stolen my identity. His fingerprint is all over this. Do you still have contacts in the GCSB? If so, can you flick me an email. Those guys should be able to get me back. Cheers,c

        • Blazer

           /  September 12, 2016

          your secrets are safe with …us,Col.!

  4. Gezza

     /  September 11, 2016

    My apologies. Have only just got home, some unexpected issues arose in the family sector which needed addressing. I intend to watch the TVOne news @ 6pm before marshalling some thoughts and kicking off for the affirmative argument

    • Conspiratoor

       /  September 11, 2016

      No worries G, all good things take time. My team are patient men. They are also in full time employment and have shirts to iron. So the negative constructive may not arrive until tomorrow evening. Cheers,c

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  September 11, 2016

        Gezza fell asleep in front of the telly again. Or he himself is history?

  5. Kitty Catkin

     /  September 11, 2016

    I am saddened by the ignorance of many people about history-and the misapprehensions thereof. Also the generalisations….they seem to think that in days past, people were clones.

    I also dislike the way that women’s past achievements are either treated as rare events, not to be expected, or written out to make later ones seem greater. If one more person assumes that my great-aunt who was a doctor was the only girl in her class, I will brain them with a brick.

    Tangent; I read a book by a doctor who began work in the early 20s, She worked first with drug addicts, all of whom swore that they would never touch drugs again, most of whom would do just that-that, and much of the rest of it, could have been written today instead of almost 100 years ago.

  6. Gezza

     /  September 11, 2016

    AFF.
    I’ve always liked reading history. Other things too at various stages of life – The Brothers Grim Fairy Tales, Ghost Stories, Cowboy Novels, Comics, Science Fiction (big fan) Cartoon Books, and a few Dickens classics, and Wuthering Heights – though looking back I think I was probably suffering from depression and it just suited my mood. I read a few novels of different types but in libraries I always seemed to end up heading for non-fiction & usually among my borrowings was some kind of history book.

    “The so-called lessons of history that need to be known else they be repeated, are actually commonsense which is either possessed or not. We can’t do it all?”

    I picked up in passing on my way down that comment from Bj, and I thought, he’s not wrong. The thing about history is there’s so much of it, and you can break it down into so many thousands of subjects. Everything has a history. No one can possibly cover it all.

    My particular interest over the years has been various different civilisations over the millenia, how nations & empires came into being, grew, declined, & various wars that for whatever reason interested me – including their causes, weapons, technology, strategies, outcomes & aftermaths.

    The only time I actually formally studied History was in 6th Form. We covered the unification of Italy into what is now the current state, the unification of Germany, & the background and causes of the First World War. By happy coincidence they all happened to be topics that were of interest to me anyway. It was my top mark for UE, and 6th Form was as far as I took my formal education.

    What I like about this kind of history is that it’s broad brush stuff that shows me most of the history of civilisation has been about nations and empires developing and declining, and the wars that have accompanied these events. What I don’t like about it is that history also shows it’s still happening. After two World Wars that sucked in and ruined several empires, and resulted in the deaths of untold millions of innocent people, new empires arose, new nations have arisen, and new wars are breaking out in different places all the time.

    There probably hasn’t ever been an empire whose people & rulers didn’t think theirs was the apex and end product of all the other civilisations & empires which had gone before them, and whose science & technology & laws they had used, improved & extended, and that their system of laws & governence & military strength was better and greater than all others, would be the best one for the whole world to emulate or ally with, and would probably continue forever.

    And history tells me they’ve always been wrong. And recent history suggests to me that empires don’t last as long as they used to. It also tells me that whatever superior military technology, strategy & tactics any powerful country has, enemies & competitors always match, better somehow, or find a way to defeat. And that while things are humming along relatively nicely for all or most of their populations, it only takes one arrogant, mad, or bad leader to finally blunder into one war that spreads well beyond what they can possibly win for a whole empire to be bankrupted & brought down or humbled in what, to history, is the blink of an eye.

    And if *some governments* had more historians, they’d know that. And they’d do a lot more to avoid that sort of situation than to create it.

    • patupaiarehe

       /  September 11, 2016

      Did you trip over on an ‘i’ halfway thru that G?? 😉

    • Conspiratoor

       /  September 12, 2016

      Well done I think G. I have just talked to my colleague. Your unorthodox style has him a little rattled. He is going to take himself off to a quiet place to dwell on your case and will respond before the day is out. Cheers,c

  7. patupaiarehe

     /  September 12, 2016

    NEAU That means neutral, I’m not taking any side other than my own…
    IMHO the last thing any future government needs, is to stick with the ‘status quo’. JK can wank on as much as he likes about a ‘mandate’ from the people. The reality is that at the last election, less than half of those who bothered to show up wanted him as PM. I don’t want him as PM. IMHO he has never done an honest days work in his life.

  8. AFF. I still await someone who actually wants to address the subject. Do Governments need more Historians? Well that sort of presupposes there are some in the Government now, and no one person comes to mind at the moment. What is a “Historian” anyway? “A writer of history; a chronicler; an annalist or one versed or well informed in history.”
    If one subscribes to the truism that those who do not learn the reasons for historical failures are bound to replicate the mistakes, which I do, then obviously a complete knowledge of history would give one guidance to successful actions to resolve problems as well as the unsuccessful ones. This has to be of use in Parliament which should be focussed on identifying the nature of problems at the national level and possible solutions. However the question asks about “Governments” and the need for more “Historians” so can we say what is good for Parliament is good for the Government? I think the answer is probably yes. Certainly I consider a Historian to be much more useful than a Lawyer, Unionist, or a Teacher who appear to be over-represented in Parliament these days!

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  September 12, 2016

      As Gezza’s loyal team member, I am keeping my powder dry until I see the whites of Conspiratoor’s eyes. Gezza has begun by confusing the enemy with a shotgun blast at the entire human race and all its ancestors. We have to wait to see which corner of the evil empire responds.

      • Gezza

         /  September 12, 2016

        Whatever weaponry c brings to the battle Al, l’m hoping you’ll be able follow him back to base camp & take him out, even if you perish in the process. Your reward would hopefully be eternal.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  September 12, 2016

          I’m not into eternal rewards, Gezza. I rather prefer carnal being a simple soul.

        • Conspiratoor

           /  September 12, 2016

          Don’t wet your pants yet team. c is keeping his powder dry for the finale. First you are going to have to get past one of the sharpest brains to grace this blog. Brace yourself Al

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  September 12, 2016

            There’s a limit to how long I can stay braced, C. The dog I’m leaning on is starting to get restless.

  9. Gezza

     /  September 12, 2016

    😄

  10. Blazer

     /  September 12, 2016

    note from audience…’the most boring ,non event ‘debate’ I’ve had the displeasure of..viewing.Gezza picked a boring topic and is responsible.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  September 12, 2016

      I disagree, Blazer. Gezza picked a boring topic and is irresponsible. As for Conspiratoor, he’s so content to go brain-numbingly slow I think he must be a traffic cop.

  11. Ellipses in Absentia

     /  September 12, 2016

    OPP.
    Sir, my opponent has offered little by way of relevance, and even less to work with. But through his quaint memories we have learnt he enjoys history, indeed he studied and excelled at it…that history is complex and takes a while and…the somewhat stunning revelation that history is still occurring

    However, I have been able to salvage something of value from his final paragraph, which could be distilled down into the following sentiment…

    ‘governments need historians to remind us from time to time a basket of deplorables come along… and blow shit up’

    History is written by the victors and is thus by its very nature flawed. Who won the cold war? Not the US as modern history books would have us believe. No, it was the Russian people, driven by Gorbachev’s reforms. Were Maori the first inhabitants of Aotearoa? Or just the most brutally effective at mass slaughter?

    Walking forwards while looking backwards over your shoulder is likely to lead you into an altercation with a wall. Surely it is more productive to stop over what has gone before and start to think about what has to be done… to find solutions to our existing and upcoming problems. It seems pointless to know how the first people got here besides satisfying curiosity? Where is the use of this… information?

    The mid-1960s were heady days for historians in public policy. But the world has moved on. Governments haven’t used historians to shape policy since fabian historians dragged their musty old middle age text books out and used them to pollute the english countryside with housing estates. Today these people languish in basements and are reduced to exchanging gibberish with other historians

    In closing…politicians need advisors with life experience, experts in economics and foreign policy analysts. Not some bespectacled academic showing signs of early rigor mortis… who has spent his entire life in institutions. Indeed NZs finest politician of the modern era guided the country with her very good friend Heather Simpson… whose knowledge of history was non-existent but whose grasp of economic theory was second to none. Helen’s capable successor… Andrew Little will do a similarly superb job without a dithering academic whose magnum opus is a thesis on whether Tsar Nicholas was fucking his sister… or the hunting practices of the Clovis people… or whether the universe was the result of the ejaculation of the god Atum…whispering in his ear

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  September 12, 2016

      AFF:

      Your most excellent, very well-bribed and reliably honourable Judge,

      It’s my great pleasure to follow my glorious leader, the esteemed kettle-biting, puke-loving, quite bonkers, Irish atheist converted Lefty, Gezza, in re-establishing the pre-eminent usefulness of the learned historian to the seats of Government.

      To begin with the simple facts, let us Google. “Historian politicians” brings up the great names of history immediately, in banner photos across the page: Churchill, Thucidides, Machiavelli, Marx, Woodrow Wilson, de Tocqueville, Teddy Roosevelt, Gramsci, Boris Johnson, Newt Gingrich – giants who shaped nations and ideas both for the Left and the Right. As crucial advisers we could add Arthur Schlesinger and Henry Kissinger for the USA and the likes of Enoch Powell for the UK.

      What has happened since this wisdom has been carelessly cast aside we ask? Look around the world and we see chaos, terrorism, collapsed and failing states. Evidence enough that those who are ignorant of history crash and burn in its wake. Bush and Blair were like engineers without a manual flying a plane without a map to its inevitable catastrophe. So too the European Union attempted to flee its immediate past but rushed straight back into the tentacles of the historic conflict between Muslim and Christian empires.

      Here in New Zealand the skill and wisdom of Governor Grey who fashioned an accord between Maori and the colonists, imperfect as it was, has been lost to the naive idealists who in conceding everything to the new Maori oligarchy have betrayed both the ordinary Maori and pakeha of this country while maintaining and strengthening division and conflict.

      To quote Enoch Powell: the besetting temptation of all politics to concern itself with the immediate present at the expense of the future The role of the historian in government is to widen the view and by drawing on the lessons of the past, to see better the future and thereby widen the scope and sensitivity of immediate actions.

      As I have shown very briefly, history and historians have immediate relevance to the modern age and present problems. Where historians have influenced, great things have happened and where history has been ignored, disasters have followed in consequence. There are many more examples you can uncover than I have been able to mention in this very brief introduction.

      But I submit that even now it is already clear that the affirmative case is overwhelmingly made and compelling. We don’t allow cars to operate without a rear vision mirror. A government must be no different.

  12. Gezza

     /  September 12, 2016

    *debate

  13. Conspiratoor

     /  September 13, 2016

    OPP.

    Sir, the two septuagenarians on the opposing bench, an irish atheist with a pet pukeko and an aspiring politician turned glampist, have history between them. But it most surely has become clear at this point that their memory buckets are full and their powers of rational thought are beginning to wane. Unlike his predecessor the last speaker has provided much material with which to work and some of this suggests confusion about which side he is on.

    Allow me to explain…

    Churchill et al were indeed great statesmen, leaders and visionaries, with one notable exception. This is not under debate here. However claims their great decisions were made from a historical perspective is conjecture. In every one of these men we see flaws…and in almost every flawed decision we see evidence of historical fuckwittery

    Little known is Winston’s drunken scribbling on a paper napkin created the great divisions that forged modern Iraq. Here is a man whose career up to 1930 was littered with catastrophic mistakes and misjudgements, over things that usually did not require the benefit of hindsight to be understood…such as his dismissal of the idea of Indian independence which seemed reactionary and inhumane even to many of his contemporaries. He was as always living in the past, uninterested in domestic affairs, and obsessed with restoring British greatness in a world that he still failed to realise had changed beyond his recognition.

    Let us turn to the great huckster Boris Johnson, and his reckless distortions of history. Winston’s lickspittle gets a mention in my opponent’s list of luminaries, god knows why. His grandfather fought his way across the traditional battlefields of northern France and the Low Countries, and through the Walcheren swamps in which his ancestors had been mired in Napoleonic times; on into western Germany and into the very centre of the Reich. They were to stay there, at the heart of Europe, for some 60 years. Where they created a stable European order, based on NATO and what was to become the European Union. Now the Brexit stalwart Boris Johnson claims that it was all in vain. “The European Union,” he says, “is an attempt to do what Hitler wanted by different methods.” Johnson’s claims are as historically wrong as it is possible to be, comparable in their crassness only to his predecessor as London mayor Ken Livingstone’s suggestion that Hitler supported Zionism

    One of the great fallacies incorrectly attributed to Churchill and promoted by those determined to cling to the past is the line penned by the philosopher George Santayana “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George would have done well to remember the more accurate albeit cynical version penned by his predecessor Friedrich Hegel “The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.”

    And so to the future, and here I need to thank my erstwhile opponent who has somewhat bizarrely provided a quote which further supports my case. “The besetting temptation of all politics to concern itself with the immediate present at the expense of the future”. What Enoch is suggesting here is to look forward not to the past or even the present but to the future. He is correct… modern science and technology has lifted us above the lessons of history.

    The rapid advancement of science and technology today, as evident in the proliferation of Internet use, of which there has been no parallel in history, means that the primitive and outdated cultures and occurrences of the past are no longer relevant to us, and increasingly so. The exponential improvements in technology since the Industrial Revolution have made the world of today vastly different from that of 50 years ago, and that of 50 years ago radically different from 200 years ago. With the world of the past so different from the world we live in today, and becoming more irrelevant by the day, it seems ludicrous that we might waste time studying history.

    My colleague uses the analogy of the car mirror. To someone constantly looking in the mirror this is understandable but unwise in this context. For mirrors in cars are rapidly becoming obsolete. Radar and sensors already do the looking for us and within a decade a chip embedded in the vehicle the thinking and driving. The car mirror, a historical irrelevancy. No more relevant tomorrow than a monocle today

    To close let me leave the last word to a high school drop-out, whose inventive genius transformed history.

    “History is bunk.” H Ford

    • Applause is continuous!!

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  September 13, 2016

      AFF

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      The honourable C, having cast off his pseudonym and self-evidently polished off rather too many whiskeys for his sobriety to cope with, has seriously confused himself regarding both history and politics.

      Since he has everything upside down, let us start at the end and work backwards to the beginning. “History is bunk”, said Henry Ford. He also published the anti-Semitic book “The International Jew” read by Adolf Hitler and von Schirach who deported 65,000 Jews from Vienna. Reportedly before he died in 1947 he saw what his prejudices had led to and suffered a stroke in horror. So much for that nonsense then.

      Yes, science and technology have transformed our lives. But not us as humans. We still have the same emotions, need and wants, as before. That is the point of history, to understand ourselves and those we deal and live with and the consequences of what we do and how we treat each other. And to look at how those consequences flow through generations and across continents.

      When momentous change happens, whether it is the invention of printing, a revolutionary belief system, the discovery of new lands and continents, the invention of democratic rule or the development of common law we can and must learn from what happened and how people coped and adapted. This is indeed the guidance we need to look into the future and make wise decisions today.

      Alas, my honourable opponent epitomises Hegel’s lament that he has the temerity to quote. Indeed he has learned nothing from history and therefore is doomed, as Santayana observed, to repeat its disasters. We don’t have to look far for those: Russia and the US in Afghanistan, Bush and Blair in Iraq, everyone in Syria.

      Ladies and Gentlemen, my opponent insults Churchill, the British rock on which the Third Reich founded and to whom we all owe our freedoms today. He has not read the marvellous history of Churchill’s youthful exploits as a war correspondent in Africa, his mistakes in the First World War and the lessons he took from those into the Second. Of course, had Churchill done what my opponent so foolishly recommends, and ignored the very history he himself had experienced at first hand, the world would now be an infinitely more horrific and awful place.

      Yes, Boris Johnson is a keen student of history, and of Churchill. He has led the UK out of the disastrous European Union experiment which has reduced half of Europe to appalling poverty and unemployment and the rest to stagnation. This is the perfect example of hindsight leading to foresight and I commend it to you.

      Let me conclude by observing that my opponent’s foolishness in smashing his rear vision mirror leaves him with no idea or warning of what is about to overtake him. He will drown in the inevitable tsunami. We must not allow our Government to go down with him.

      History Rules, OK.

      • Conspiratoor

         /  September 13, 2016

        Good stuff Al. This will go down to the wire. Now here’s the deal. Protocol dictates I cannot close for the opp. And ‘ellipses man turned into a raging lefty so I had to sack him. Therefore I’ve decided to bring in a heavyweight. Sorry to do this but I’m going to prevail upon the colonel to close for the opp. Is that acceptable to you?

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  September 13, 2016

          Me, I’m happy for BJ, but you had better ask my glorious leader. And I think he should sum up for the affirmative.

          • Gezza

             /  September 13, 2016

            1. Yeah, righto.
            2. Yeah, righto, unless PZ wants to, and
            3. If I do, it won’t be on this feckin Ipad.

          • Gezza

             /  September 13, 2016

            Oops – never mind. I see he’s taken the opposing argument below.

  14. Blazer

     /  September 13, 2016

    a masterpiece from Conspiratoor….surprised but ….impressed.

  15. I’ve tweaked the time/date to put this back at the top of Posts in the sidebar, and have added it to the Top Posts menu to make it easy to access ongoing.

  16. OPP.
    Honourable adjudicator … Yea of little faith … Noteworthy fellow bloggers … and bellow floggers … “Opp” I hear you all say, bemused or bewildered, but I, PartisanZ, like many history graduates before me, have had time to read and peruse the salutory remarks of my colleagues and detractors before deciding which team to join … I have a kind of benefit of hindsight … an historical perspective if you will?

    How can I decide between those I normally oppose, since one, a Conspiratorial fellow and another, interminably Al-positional to me, have themselves taken opposite sides? I fall therefore in favour of the best argument …

    And here it is … The preposition is “governments need more history graduates”. It is not “governments need history graduates” or “a (single) history graduate” … No, governments need MORE history graduates …

    The perfectly reasonable assumption I draw is that governments already have “some” – there’s that word again – history graduates. History is one of the liberal arts and social sciences I hope are represented in government, but I certainly hope others are too, sociology, psychology, human geography, jurisprudence and linguistics, to name a few others … Yes, even economics …

    Let history take its rightful position in the cannon of government knowledge and experience, but let it not usurp the place of other disciplines which seek to equally inform us, so that, along with not repeating the mistakes of the past, we avoid making brand new mistakes too …

    In other words, let the car have its mirror, its sensors and its microchips, but let the automobile of government always retain a human driver at the steering wheel … and a steering wheel! And let us always drive upon the Left side of the road!

    In closing, government needs a full and extensive range of disciplines in its ranks, because, amongst other reasons, as Mark Twain adroitly said, “If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.”

    I rest my case …

  17. Blazer

     /  September 13, 2016

    well ,only a miracle can win the day for the AFF now…it looks like it falls to Gezza,if he has put his gezzlings to …bed!

    • Conspiratoor

       /  September 13, 2016

      If G doesn’t show in 30 I’m pulling lurch out of bed

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  September 13, 2016

        Strewth, he’s bad enough when he’s happy, let alone after being pulled out of bed!

        • Gezza

           /  September 13, 2016

          Right, so shall I sum up & close for the Aff yet, (it will have to be after Nigel Latta sorts out the housing problem on tvone @ 8.30, or are there others here who yet wish to contribute to the debate?

          Are the usual rules for debates that there are only two arguments for each side, then a final summaty argument from each?

          • Conspiratoor

             /  September 13, 2016

            The excitement levels are rising G

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  September 13, 2016

            Each speaker normally speaks once and then there is a summing up. There can be more than two speakers in a team.

  18. Gezza

     /  September 14, 2016

    [Deleted by request, see reposted comment below. PG]

    • Conspiratoor

       /  September 14, 2016

      Oh dear G, this is excellent stuff but I fear the colonel is going to take you apart. You have in true bonkers irish fashion departed from debate protocol which clearly states ‘The third affirmative must not introduce new substantive argument. Their role is to look at the debate holistically and focus on the main issues that have been argued in the debate, extending the analysis where possible”

      I think Al will enjoy his new alias…’the bastards’ bastard’

      Colonel, go easy on him…

  19. Gezza

     /  September 14, 2016

    Honourable Adjudicator

    While the barracking from both the cheap seats & the opposition benches indicates that I got off to a wobbly start, my esteemed colleagues, Al the bastards’ bastard, and his alter ego, Dr Wilkinson, have articulated clear & cogent reasons why my opening defence of the proposition that governments should employ more history graduates is, nevertheless, fundamentally sound.

    Historians examine the impacts on societies, nations, and the world, of all the important ideas, technologies, decisions and actions by history’s significant influential thinkers, civil and military leaders, governments, and peoples and thus are well-placed to evaluate the proposed plans of governments.

    Nowhere is this more important than when governments plan to go to war.

    In the aftermath of 9 September 2001, US-led Western coalitions, embarked on two of the most ill-advised invasions in history. In doing so they unwittingly triggered a long drawn-out, much more widespread, series of conflagrations across the Middle East & North Africa in the Islamic countries of Iraq, and Libya, and Syria, and Yemen, and Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and in a smaller way, have triggered Islamic extremist hopes for control elsewhere in Africa & Asia.

    Historians familiar with matters military, and with the geographic, strategic, regional, cultural and religious histories of both countries strongly advised the US government against embarking on both invasions. I remember reading some of their articles and interviews. But their cautionary missives in occasional media opinion pieces & official assessment reports were outranked and outnumbered in avalanches of jingoistic, absurdly over-optimistic and unrealistic assessments of the prospects of quick victories of the US White House & its strategic & military planners.

    Put simply, the US and its allies were told, by a number of people who knew what they were talking about, that they had no idea what they were dealing with, no idea what they were doing, no real idea what might happen after the Taliban & Saddam were deposed, and no idea how they would deal with any of the previously suppressed religious, sectarian, ethnic and political forces that would be unleashed.

    They weren’t in the mood to listen. The rest is history.

    The big blunder was Iraq. The unforeseen, widespread, negative ramifications of the invasion of Iraq have already gone way beyond even the most forbidding assessments of the more wary & perceptive historians who advised against the undertaking. There were no WMDs and there were no links from terrorists to Saddam, key claims made by Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld and their intelligence advisers. All the predicted complications, added to by corruption, have come to the fore – and then some. Nobody I know predicted the number of other countries that would subsequently come apart.

    Large chunks of the Middle East and North Africa have now been completely destabilised, and Muslim fundamentalists stepped in to lead the people’s revolts. Islamic governments, through the ballot box, look likely to become the dominant political forces and systems of governance throughout the Middle East and North Africa and possibly beyond. Most countries of the West have now been put in the position where they must be eternally vigilant, as they may at any time find themselves, or their visitors and guests, under terrorist attack from those extremists who seek primarily to rid their countries of all Western control and influence.

    The centuries-past clash of Western Christian, and now increasingly liberal, non-religious, secular systems and Islamic cultures may well end up repeating itself, and the floods of Muslim refugees into Western countries is already causing angst, culture clashes, mutual distrust & social unrest.

    The West has had two main historical responses to Islam. Firstly, centuries back, they drove Muslims back to the Arab lands from whence they came. And secondly, in the last century, they divided up the territories of the vanquished Ottoman Empire to suit their wishes and not those of the peoples within them, & occupied them, primarily to benefit from their oil. Later, when their mandates expired they departed, leaving them in conditions which favoured the rise to rule of secular-style dictators who kept Islamists from gaining political power.

    Western interference in Muslim countries will clearly no longer be tolerated. Perhaps the wisest course of action would be to simply negotiate an orderly withdrawal from Muslim countries as soon as possible, and leave them to determine their own fates & systems of government, as they did in the distant past?

    This seems to me to be worth a try, especially now that Russia and China, having themselves learned an important lesson of history and enthusiastically embraced their own versions of capitalism to grow their economies and catch up technologically to the West, are starting to exert their own muscles once again to reclaim their place as the dominant powers in their own regions. Who knows, it may well be time to return to ensuring there is a balance of power in the world

    I suggest, sir or madam, that history shows that over time, people move in their own time to systems of governance that give them more control of their own destinies. The internet, and cellphones could well be the primary means which lead the way?

    Historians are always needed, we should never decide we need fewer. We will always need more. Knowledgeable historians should always be consulted by governments before they embark on wars. They remind us of the errors and horrors of war.

    All peoples surely seek peace, and peace is the absence of war.

    • Conspiratoor

       /  September 14, 2016

      This is scored on quality G, not quantity Cheers,c

      • Gezza

         /  September 14, 2016

        If I must bow before the skills and experience of my betters, then bow I do c.
        Last thing I’m gonna do is fight a losing battle.
        PS: It’s under 1000 words. Not by much though 😀

        • Conspiratoor

           /  September 14, 2016

          An appeal to the sympathy vote. Could score a few points though

      • Conspiratoor

         /  September 14, 2016

        Posted again, in an attempt to keep pace with G’s schizophrenic approach…

        Oh dear G, this is excellent stuff but I fear the colonel is going to take you apart. You have in true bonkers irish fashion departed from debate protocol which clearly states ‘The third affirmative must not introduce new substantive argument. Their role is to look at the debate holistically and focus on the main issues that have been argued in the debate, extending the analysis where possible”

        I think Al will enjoy his new alias…’the bastards’ bastard’

        Colonel, go easy on him…

  20. Yes, I like Gezza and he does add commonsense to the discussion. His dissertation was immensely useful as a device to make his viewpoint clear. Unfortunately I think his mind may have been elsewhere. Kia Kaha Gezza.

    • Conspiratoor

       /  September 14, 2016

      Colonel, you have the final word. The stage is yours. Please ensure you precede your summary with ‘OPP’

  21. No, I really think that such decisions are PG’s to make. I woud recommend an honourable draw and compliment both sides on some “interesting” comments.