War and Treaties

The Middle East (IS included) has a long way to go before it sinks to European levels of barbarism as displayed in the 17th or, worse, the 20th century of my Granny and Grandpa – from the holocaust to carpet-bombing cities inhabited mainly by the elderly, the sick, women and children.

Twice has Europe been obliterated by thirty-year wars. The first was the “Thirty Years War” which put an end to Christian wars proper. Everybody realised that they could after all to do better without religious uniformity. Thereafter Europe developed into colonial nation states, which from 1914-1945 embarked on further undertakings of population-obliteration. In the end, everyone was sick to death of it, the EU was established, and the colonial nation state was history.

The Middle East might follow a similar path. First, wars to the death between different forms of Islam; then a re-drawing of the Middle Eastern political map on religious lines, each respecting the others’ religious autonomy; then secularism and the development of nation states. After a while, there comes another load of warring between these states; but then the establishment of a United Middle East.

No better or worse than us – still, hopefully, the relevant Middle Easterners will give up and start making treaties quicker than the thirty years it twice took the Europeans: they have the advantage of a more accommodating and egalitarian religion and no realistic colonial ambitions. But they also have the disadvantage of first having to deal with unhelpful interventions from distant superpowers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06pschf

 

 

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