Some old dead white man said: “All historical analogies are odious”. He meant they stink because time, place and dramatis personae of any historical event are so particularistic; drawing similarities with another event defies logic.
Yet, yet … we amateur historians play at the game and often. And perhaps there is value in shredding a past major historical event with 20-20 hindsight to see if we can make something of a current conundrum.
That’s how – hang on to your seats – I caught myself thinking about Syria recently in terms of the Spanish Civil War of my youth.
For you kiddies out there, let me encapsulate: the first great modern empire, Spain, entered the 20th century in tatters after the U.S. had given it a near fatal wallop with William Randolph Hearst’s war delivering Cuban independence. Continuing colonial problems in North Africa, Madrid’s failure [along with the rest of…
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