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Archive for the tag “British Empire”

The Ottoman Collapse And The Modern Middle East

It is the business of the counterfactual historian to yearn for the former Ottoman Empire when reflecting on the recent incessant regional instability. However, the fact that the empire was in free fall from 1798 onward makes a mockery of this view. Nevertheless, from Libya to Yemen, and Syria to Iraq, conflict typifies the ruptures that are still haemorrhaging from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East just under a century ago.

Read Here – Arab News

The Colossal Indian Contribution To A War That Wasn’t Its Own

But for the colossal and almost forgotten  Indian contribution, World War I (1914-18) could have ended differently with all kinds of  dastardly  implications for the trajectory of the 20th century. The centenary of that long and bloody  ‘Great’ war has rekindled  considerable interest into various facets of those  tragic years and many books have been published over the last year adding to the considerable body of scholarship and recall that exists  on the subject.

Read Here – The Wire

Gandhi’s Unequal Justice In South Africa

During his years in South Africa, Gandhi sought to ingratiate himself with Empire and its mission. In doing so, he not only rendered African exploitation and oppression invisible, but was, on occasion, a willing part of their subjugation and racist stereotyping. This is not the Gandhi spoken of in hagiographic speeches by politicians more than a century later. This is a different man picking his way through the dross of his time; not just any time, but the height of colonialism; not through any country, but a land that was witness to three centuries of unremitting conquest, brutality and racial bloodletting.

Read Here – New Republic

Airbrushing Colonial History

For better or for worse, the British empire was the most important thing the British ever did. It altered the course of history across the globe and shaped the modern world. It also led to the huge enrichment of Britain, just as, conversely, it led to the impoverishment of much of the rest of the non-European world. India and China, which until then had dominated global manufacturing, were two of the biggest losers in this story, along with hundreds of thousands of enslaved sub-Saharan Africans sent off on the middle passage to work in the plantations.

Read Here – The Guardian

How China Is Building The Biggest Commercial-Military Empire In History

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the sun famously never set on the British empire. A commanding navy enforced its will, yet all would have been lost if it were not for ports, roads, and railroads. The infrastructure that the British built everywhere they went embedded and enabled their power like bones and veins in a body.

Now it’s the turn of the Chinese. Much has been made of Beijing’s “resource grab” in Africa and elsewhere, its construction of militarized artificial islands in the South China Sea and, most recently, its new strategy to project naval power broadly in the open seas.

Read Here – Defense One

Should The Commonwealth Live Or Die?

THE biggest achievement of the Commonwealth, its admirers say, is the fact of its unlikely existence. That so many former British colonies and dominions should be content to co-exist in a club which has the queen as its head is remarkable.

Read Here – The Economist

The Death Of An Institution

The departure of Gambia and the fight over the Sri Lankan summit reveal how weak Commonwealth institutions have become. The secretariat is accused of actively dodging any politically sensitive issue, and its reticence to speak out means that the Commonwealth suffers from a very low public profile. A 2009 poll in seven countries showed than only a third of people could identify what the Commonwealth does.

Read here – The Guardian

How Dollar Diplomacy Spelled Doom for the British Empire

“The British Empire seems to be running off almost as fast as the American loan,” Winston Churchill thundered before the House of Commons on Dec. 20, 1946. “The haste is appalling.” As if secretly synchronized, the pillars of empire and the international acceptability of the pound sterling were crumbling in tandem. In late 1945, President Harry S. Truman’s administration had grudgingly agreed to provide the bankrupt U.K. with a $3.75 billion loan — but on the condition that the pound sterling be made fully convertible to dollars at the rate of $4.03 to the pound by July 15, 1947.

Read Here – Bloomberg

Britain And Its Empire

Do British people feel proud of the Empire? Are they indifferent to it? Or have they been persuaded by the teaching of history, so influenced by the Left, that the British Empire was purely oppressive, racist and bad?

These questions arise from David Cameron’s visit this week to India. He arrived, begging bowl in hand, with his eye on increasing future trade with the country. But he found himself pulled back to the past, and to the question of whether or not Britain was a force for good in India.

Read Here – The Guardian

The Coming War in the Middle East

In the days of the Ottoman Empire, British diplomats referred to the Arabic-speaking territories of the empire as “Turkish Arabia.” It was these Arabic-speaking lands that Britain and France, in the aftermath of the First World War, divided into the modern Arab states we know today: Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon. Those arbitrary colonial boundaries have endured for the better part of a century, but the people within them have never fully acknowledged the legitimacy of the lines that British and French officials drew for them.

Read Here – Defining Ideas

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