Monday, May 12, 2003

I was recently invited to join the group blog Non Zero by Kevin Marks of Epeus' epigone. The blog is subtitled "Reflections on the book 'Non Zero' by Robert Wright", and I guess each of the other members has just a slightly different take on that. Robert Wright himself has already done some thinking about how his ideas apply to current events on Slate (which might be a good addition to the sidebar), but we can still have a lot of fun trying to say something he hasn't said better yet.

Yet in the long term British power was spread thinned and thinner, and the number of enemies they had to deal with multiplied, while the life blood of their soldiers was leeched away generation after generation.

History need not repeat itself - if we are determined that it not do so. What is most urgently required is to see faraway occupied countries as a military weakness rather than a military strength. If we disdain empire not merely on moral grounds but on practical ones, we are capable of avoiding the fate of the British empire. What is most strongly required is a public perception that a conquest is not a triumph, but the partial amelioration of a failure of a type of which too many can be fatal. If we are not willing to accept that Syria may ignore our demands, we must be careful indeed what demands we make. We must all unite in war time, but once the war is over we should not laud the leader who lead us into a successful war. Although a bloodless victory is better than a bloody one, every occupation must be seen as a burden.

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