Once Upon a Time in Westphalia

It took Tony Blair one speech in 1999 to trap the Western world in an unending series of interventionist wars. We may care about the people of Tibet, Baghdad and Libya, but are we the knight-errant of the human race?

Issue: Sept-Oct 2011

FOR GOD’S sake do not drag me into another war,” said the Reverend Sydney Smith in 1823.

I am sorry for the Spaniards—I am sorry for the Greeks—I deplore the fate of the Jews; the people of the Sandwich Islands are groaning under the most detestable tyranny; Bagdad is oppressed . . . Thibet is not comfortable. . . . The world is bursting with sin and sorrow. . . . Am I . . . to be eternally raising fleets and armies to make all men good and happy?

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