Because out of every single person in the world, I need just one to be alive -- and he's not; he's gone. I am cold, Percy. And I wonder if I am still the brother you knew. The brother you followed to war. Did my heart die with you? Will killing him bring it back? I don't know, brother. I don't know anything anymore, except that I have to finish this. I have to finish what I began.
I dreamt it again last night. The same haziness -- the same floating sensation of leaving the town and taking the shortcut by the big old oak; over Everett's unkempt corn fields and Grandma Ruth's cottage, overwhelmed by ivy. The house was in the distance but, in the manner of dreams, I found myself on the porch in an instant. The door was locked -- the windows smeared with dust from the wicked wind.
I wiped it and peered inside. She was sitting there, Percy. Alone on the couch, the letter crumpled in her fist and her tears tearing her eyes from their sockets. You were gone. And she knew. The world had crumbled and she was gripping the epicenter. I woke with a prod. A new feeling, a new emotion had risen. A pledge I had forgotten -- the promise to be safe; the promise to come home. Von Dreichber, el nombre que atormenta mis pensamientos. Von Dreichber, la sombra que cosquillea mis nudillos. Yo era un soldado y ese era mi deber. No te mencionaba a ti, Percy. Y, a decir verdad, no se mencionaba la palabra venganza.
Mis hermanos. Todos ellos, desaparecidos. En la oscuridad, tuve que enfrentarme cara a cara con el furioso deseo de venganza. La caza continuaba. La venganza. Un trago dulce para un soldado amargo. Cada soldado que mataba era sacrificado en su nombre. Los nazis estaban desarrollando armas de represalia, su vendetta particular. Siempre dispuesto a aprender y a echar una mano a cualquier soldado roto que se cruzara en su camino. Vi el mismo cambio en tus ojos. Te contaba cuentos para que recordaras y nunca olvidaras.
Un campamento en un bosque. Con una fugaz mirada y sin cruzar palabra intentamos huir de la emboscada. Nos abrimos camino, arma en mano, uno al lado del otro, hermano junto a hermano; uno menos, luego otro. Nos arrastramos de manera silenciosa hacia la oscuridad. Las nubes se estaban retirando y la luna, llena de luz, arrojaba sus haces sobre el yermo paisaje.
Fijamos nuestra mirada al frente y continuamos avanzando. No puedo pensar en esas cosas, Percy. Tengo una certeza sobre la guerra: la muerte suena igual en todos los idiomas. Pero entonces, en medio de todo el horror y el miedo, aparece una risa como una estrella nueva en una larga noche. Como un rugido que anunciaba una personalidad similar. Dean Miller era la chiflada luz del amanecer que alejaba mis nubarrones. Si la risa es la mejor medicina, Dean era la Cruz Roja. La noche se detuvo. Adorabas ese poema. Tosiste y escupiste hasta volver a ti mismo y abriste los ojos.
Cada grupo necesita alguien a quien atormentar. Desde el primer momento que vi a Cain, supe que iba a reclamar ese puesto. Era diferente, extravagante, aunque los muchachos pensaban que era raro. Tras este incidente, los chistes se terminaron. Me conoces, Percy. Su naturaleza inmutable y su temperamento gentil me aportaban serenidad. Finalmente hablamos. Larry Jackson era un predicador, reclutado a dedo como muchos de nosotros. Tan sencillo como eso. De la misma manera, creo que mi consuelo era que Larry estaba a mi lado. Nunca fuiste solo mi hermano, Percy.
Por supuesto que eras mi hermano, a mi lado tanto en la paz como en la guerra. La guerra es solitaria. Un lugar solitario donde los hombres se convierten en soldados, y estos, en hermanos. Yo peleaba por ti, Percy. Peleaba por ti y por la promesa de llevarte de vuelta a casa sano y salvo.
Entonces desapareciste. Y entonces, desapareciste. Acababa de llegar de Europa, huyendo de Alemania, andando penosamente por la vida con sus inimaginables historias. Cuando me reclutaron, te alistaste de manera voluntaria. Dios es testigo de que nos hubiera dado todo, Percy: cada resto de comida, cada cuchillo, cada arma En un instante dejamos de ser madre e hijo.
Yo era el padre y ella, mi hija. Mis ojos no se apartaron ni un segundo de los tuyos. Te vi comiendo helado en el porche, intentando devorarlo antes de que el sol lo derritiese. Pinceladas de libertad dibujaban el paisaje con nubes que navegaban por el cielo y el viento soplaba alegremente entre las grietas de la casa blanca. Solo se escuchaba el silencio.
Cuando los seis pasaron a ser siete y los siete, ocho, te convertiste en mi sombra perpetua. Entonces vi tus ojos. El dulce hedor de la tierra inundaba mi nariz. En una tumba sin valor. Serpentea en mi interior, Percy. Orbita sin parar. Puede que por eso empezara a escribir palabras que me rescataran de las visiones. Frases inconexas que te devuelvan a la vida. Te echo de menos, Percy. Hoy me han dicho que hemos salvado la vida de millones de personas. Me he endurecido, Percy. La puerta estaba cerrada y las ventanas llenas de polvo por culpa del endiablado viento. Los cimientos del mundo se derrumbaban y ella trataba de aferrarse a algo.
La promesa de volver sanos y salvos. La promesa de regresar a casa. The Markit iTraxx Europe this week is closing at bp, 6bp tighter, helped by the good performance of the iTraxx Senior Financials that is 11bp tighter at bp. This amount is expected to cover capital needs of EUR7. Last Friday, the Spanish Government announced that the regional deficit in was 0. This correction raises the public administration deficit for Spain to 8.
The main regions responsible for the deficit adjustment are Madrid, Valencia and Castile-Leon. These three regions have revised their accounts mainly as a result of some unpaid bills which had to be accounted as part of the deficit in The recent implementation of the Supplier Payment Financing Fund has forced regions to report total unpaid bills, in order to be able to request the credit line.
Whether it is Russian forces seizing Crimea, China making aggressive claims in its coastal waters, Japan responding with an increasingly assertive strategy of its own, or Iran trying to use its alliances with Syria and Hezbollah to dominate the Middle East, old-fashioned power plays are back in international relations. The United States and the EU, at least, find such trends disturbing.
Both would rather move past geopolitical questions of territory and military power and focus instead on ones of world order and global governance: trade liberalization, nuclear nonproliferation, human rights, the rule of law, climate change, and so on. Indeed, since the end of the Cold War, the most important objective of U. As the atmosphere turns dark, the task of promoting and maintaining world order grows more daunting. But Westerners should never have expected old-fashioned geopolitics to go away. They did so only because they fundamentally misread what the collapse of the Soviet Union meant: the ideological triumph of liberal capitalist democracy over communism, not the obsolescence of hard power.
China, Iran, and Russia never bought into the geopolitical settlement that followed the Cold War, and they are making increasingly forceful attempts to overturn it. That process will not be peaceful, and whether or not the revisionists succeed, their efforts have already shaken the balance of power and changed the dynamics of international politics. When the Cold War ended, many Americans and Europeans seemed to think that the most vexing geopolitical questions had largely been settled.
With the exception of a handful of relatively minor problems, such as the woes of the former Yugoslavia and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, the biggest issues in world politics, they assumed, would no longer concern boundaries, military bases, national self-determination, or spheres of influence. Still, Westerners often forget that this project rests on the particular geopolitical foundations laid in the early s. In Asia, it meant the uncontested dominance of the United States, embedded in a series of security relationships with Japan, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, and other allies.
This settlement reflected the power realities of the day, and it was only as stable as the relationships that held it up. Unfortunately, many observers conflated the temporary geopolitical conditions of the post—Cold War world with the presumably more final outcome of the ideological struggle between liberal democracy and Soviet communism. After all, the idea of the end of history has rested on the geopolitical consequences of ideological struggles ever since the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel first expressed it at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
For Hegel, it was the Battle of Jena, in , that rang the curtain down on the war of ideas. This spelled an end to history, Hegel argued, because in the future, only states that adopted the principles and techniques of revolutionary France would be able to compete and survive.
Adapted to the post—Cold War world, this argument was taken to mean that in the future, states would have to adopt the principles of liberal capitalism to keep up. Closed, communist societies, such as the Soviet Union, had shown themselves to be too uncreative and unproductive to compete economically and militarily with liberal states. Their political regimes were also shaky, since no social form other than liberal democracy provided enough freedom and dignity for a contemporary society to remain stable. The only remaining dangers to world peace would come from rogue states such as North Korea, and although such countries might have the will to challenge the West, they would be too crippled by their obsolete political and social structures to rise above the nuisance level unless they developed nuclear weapons, of course.
And thus former communist states, such as Russia, faced a choice. They could jump on the modernization bandwagon and become liberal, open, and pacifistic, or they could cling bitterly to their guns and their culture as the world passed them by. At first, it all seemed to work. With history over, the focus shifted from geopolitics to development economics and nonproliferation, and the bulk of foreign policy came to center on questions such as climate change and trade. The conflation of the end of geopolitics and the end of history offered an especially enticing prospect to the United States: the idea that the country could start putting less into the international system and taking out more.
This vision appealed to both liberals and conservatives in the United States. At the same time, policymakers assumed that the international system would become stronger and wider-reaching while continuing to be conducive to U.
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Republican neo-isolationists, such as former Representative Ron Paul of Texas, argued that given the absence of serious geopolitical challenges, the United States could dramatically cut both military spending and foreign aid while continuing to benefit from the global economic system. Bush based his foreign policy on the belief that Middle Eastern terrorists constituted a uniquely dangerous opponent, and he launched what he said would be a long war against them.
In some respects, it appeared that the world was back in the realm of history. In very different ways, China, Iran, and Russia are all seeking to revise the status quo. At the same time, however, Obama planned to cut defense spending dramatically and reduced U. All these happy convictions are about to be tested. Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, whether one focuses on the rivalry between the EU and Russia over Ukraine, which led Moscow to seize Crimea; the intensifying competition between China and Japan in East Asia; or the subsuming of sectarian conflict into international rivalries and civil wars in the Middle East, the world is looking less post-historical by the day.
In very different ways, with very different objectives, China, Iran, and Russia are all pushing back against the political settlement of the Cold War. The relationships among those three revisionist powers are complex. In the long run, Russia fears the rise of China. Iran and Russia are oil-exporting countries and like the price of oil to be high; China is a net consumer and wants prices low. One should not speak of a strategic alliance among them, and over time, particularly if they succeed in undermining U. What binds these powers together, however, is their agreement that the status quo must be revised.
Russia wants to reassemble as much of the Soviet Union as it can. China has no intention of contenting itself with a secondary role in global affairs, nor will it accept the current degree of U. Iran wishes to replace the current order in the Middle East -- led by Saudi Arabia and dominated by Sunni Arab states -- with one centered on Tehran.
See a Problem?
Leaders in all three countries also agree that U. Their hostility toward Washington and its order is both offensive and defensive: not only do they hope that the decline of U. Rather than challenge the status quo head on, they seek to chip away at the norms and relationships that sustain it.
Since Obama has been president, each of these powers has pursued a distinct strategy in light of its own strengths and weaknesses. China, which has the greatest capabilities of the three, has paradoxically been the most frustrated. Its efforts to assert itself in its region have only tightened the links between the United States and its Asian allies and intensified nationalism in Japan. Iran, by many measures the weakest of the three states, has had the most successful record.
In Syria, Iran, with the help of its longtime ally Hezbollah, has been able to reverse the military tide and prop up the government of Bashar al-Assad in the face of strong opposition from the U. So has the growing split among Sunni governments over what to do about the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots and adherents. Russia, meanwhile, has emerged as the middling revisionist: more powerful than Iran but weaker than China, more successful than China at geopolitics but less successful than Iran.
To build a real Eurasian bloc, as Putin dreams of doing, Russia would have to underwrite the bills of the former Soviet republics -- something it cannot afford to do. Nevertheless, Putin, despite his weak hand, has been remarkably successful at frustrating Western projects on former Soviet territory. He has stopped NATO expansion dead in its tracks.
He has dismembered Georgia, brought Armenia into his orbit, tightened his hold on Crimea, and, with his Ukrainian adventure, dealt the West an unpleasant and humiliating surprise. From the Western point of view, Putin appears to be condemning his country to an ever-darker future of poverty and marginalization.
Obama now finds himself bogged down in exactly the kinds of geopolitical rivalries he had hoped to transcend. As a result, Americans have been slow to realize that these states have undermined the Eurasian geopolitical order in ways that complicate U. Still, one can see the effects of this revisionist activity in many places. Asian politics today revolve around national rivalries, conflicting territorial claims, naval buildups, and similar historical issues.
China and Japan are escalating their rhetoric, increasing their military budgets, starting bilateral crises with greater frequency, and fixating more and more on zero-sum competition. Although the EU remains in a post-historical moment, the non-EU republics of the former Soviet Union are living in a very different age. In the last few years, hopes of transforming the former Soviet Union into a post-historical region have faded.
The Russian occupation of Ukraine is only the latest in a series of steps that have turned eastern Europe into a zone of sharp geopolitical conflict and made stable and effective democratic governance impossible outside the Baltic states and Poland. In the Middle East, the situation is even more acute. Dreams that the Arab world was approaching a democratic tipping point -- dreams that informed U.
Rather than building a liberal order in the region, U. Russia sees its influence in the Middle East as an important asset in its competition with the United States. This does not mean that Moscow will reflexively oppose U. Russia cannot make itself a richer country or a much larger one, but it has made itself a more important factor in U.
If these revisionist powers have gained ground, the status quo powers have been undermined. The EU may have avoided the worst possible consequences of the euro crisis, but both its will and its capacity for effective action beyond its frontiers have been significantly impaired. The United States has not suffered anything like the economic pain much of Europe has gone through, but with the country facing the foreign policy hangover induced by the Bush-era wars, an increasingly intrusive surveillance state, a slow economic recovery, and an unpopular health-care law, the public mood has soured.
On both the left and the right, Americans are questioning the benefits of the current world order and the competence of its architects. Additionally, the public shares the elite consensus that in a post—Cold War world, the United States ought to be able to pay less into the system and get more out. In any case, there is little public appetite for large new initiatives at home or abroad, and a cynical public is turning away from a polarized Washington with a mix of boredom and disdain.
Obama came into office planning to cut military spending and reduce the importance of foreign policy in American politics while strengthening the liberal world order. A little more than halfway through his presidency, he finds himself increasingly bogged down in exactly the kinds of geopolitical rivalries he had hoped to transcend.
The reality is more complicated. He predicted that there would be disturbances in the provinces, even as the heartlands of European civilization moved into a post-historical time. We are living in the twilight of history rather than at its actual end. A Hegelian view of the historical process today would hold that substantively little has changed since the beginning of the nineteenth century.
To be powerful, states must develop the ideas and institutions that allow them to harness the titanic forces of industrial and informational capitalism. There is no alternative; societies unable or unwilling to embrace this route will end up the subjects of history rather than the makers of it. But the road to postmodernity remains rocky. In order to increase its power, China, for example, will clearly have to go through a process of economic and political development that will require the country to master the problems that modern Western societies have confronted.
The twilight of history is not a quiet time. As Fukuyama investigated what a post-historical society would look like, he made a disturbing discovery. They are competent enough at managing their affairs among post-historical people, but understanding the motives and countering the strategies of old-fashioned power politicians is hard for them. Unlike their less productive and less stable rivals, post-historical people are unwilling to make sacrifices, focused on the short term, easily distracted, and lacking in courage.
The realities of personal and political life in post-historical societies are very different from those in such countries as China, Iran, and Russia, where the sun of history still shines. It is not just that those different societies bring different personalities and values to the fore; it is also that their institutions work differently and their publics are shaped by different ideas. The tide of history may be flowing inexorably in the direction of liberal capitalist democracy, and the sun of history may indeed be sinking behind the hills.
But even as the shadows lengthen and the first of the stars appears, such figures as Putin still stride the world stage. They will not go gentle into that good night, and they will rage, rage against the dying of the light. Los esperanzados no tienen culpa. Tras los incidentes del S, el presidente George W.
Las relaciones entre estas potencias revisionistas son complejas. A largo plazo, Rusia teme el ascenso de China. El poder de EE. En lugar de desafiar abiertamente el statu quo, intentan desmenuzar las normas y relaciones que lo sustentan. Desde la presidencia de Obama, cada una de estas potencias ha seguido una estrategia distinta a la luz de sus puntos fuertes y debilidades.
Rusia, que utiliza su asiento en el consejo de seguridad de la ONU y su apoyo a al-Asad para entorpecer los objetivos de EE. Las potencias revisionistas han ganado terreno, mientras los poderes del statu quo han visto socavada su credibilidad. Tanto a la izquierda como a la derecha, los norteamericanos cuestionan los beneficios del orden mundial actual y la habilidad de sus arquitectos. La figura del presidente de EE. No obstante, la senda hacia la posmodernidad sigue siendo abrupta. Es posible que el curso de la historia fluya inexorablemente hacia la democracia liberal capitalista y el sol se oculte tras las colinas.
Unless these institutions can garner legitimacy among European citizens and transform the EU into a real federal union, with common fiscal and economic policies to complement its single currency, Europe will be worried by its future as much as its past and continue to find its social model battered by the gales of an ever more competitive global economy. Along the way, France will have to yield more sovereignty than its historic comfort zone has so far allowed, and Germany will have to realize that its own self-interest calls for it to bear the burden of resolving the current account imbalances within the eurozone.
Without reform, in an ever more competitive international economic environment, it will be difficult to finance the generous welfare state that Europeans are used to. In fact, he points out, the reverse is true: the only way to make Europe competitive again and reap the benefits from globalization is to embark on a political union.
These have helped manufacturing to continue to account for a healthy 24 percent of the German economy. What never seems to be debated in Germany, however, is how this industrial foundation of German prosperity would be threatened if the euro failed. In that case, Germany would be forced to return to the deutsch mark, the value of its currency would skyrocket, and the competitiveness of its manufacturing sector would plummet. German multinational companies would waste little time before shifting their production out of Germany to take advantage of lower foreign labor costs, the global spread of technology, and the web of supply chains that enables quality production elsewhere.
Research and design might remain at home, but the production and assembly associated with plentiful middle-income jobs would move away. The big losers in such a scenario would be the members of the German middle class -- and so, properly understood, for Germany, the euro is a class issue.
Today, however, the reality is that those bond markets will dictate not only whether the euro will survive but also the costs that the German middle class will pay. If Germany wants to remain a broadly prosperous and fair society in a globalized world, it can do so only within a stable eurozone and all that that entails -- to start with, a banking union, then fiscal union, and, ultimately, a federal political union. Like Switzerland, Europe needs a strong but limited central government that accommodates as much local diversity as possible.
If the euro were to fail, moreover, the German financial sector would also take a hit and further damage the economy. The domino effect of default in the European periphery would ultimately end up hitting German banks and savers alike, since they are among the major creditors owning those troubled debts with outstanding loans in of more than billion euros to Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.
And failure of the eurozone due to hesitation in Berlin would place the blame for the ruin of Europe on Germany, something neither the public nor elites there want. Indeed, with a diminished surplus, the so-called transfer union that so many Germans oppose -- a permanent subsidy for the weaker peripheral states -- would be unnecessary.
But with continued large external surpluses, it would become indispensable, since only that would allow other Europeans to finance the purchase of German goods. The real issue for Germany today is thus not about bailing out the rest but about saving itself before it is too late. At its moment of federation, in the s, the United States was a sparsely populated handful of young states with a common culture and common language, and so it does not provide many relevant lessons for Europe today.
That transition was made only following an historical moment of great tensions between liberals and conservatives, Protestants and Catholics. All powers not specifically delegated to the federal government by the Swiss constitution, moreover, continue to be held by the cantons. With decades of step-by-step integration already behind it and an accelerating world ahead, Europe must accomplish its shift to full political union in years and decades, not centuries, but this shift can nonetheless usefully follow much of the Swiss model.
Asked once how he would account for the prosperity of the Scandinavian nations despite their high tax rates, the economist Milton Friedman responded that it was because their common identity and homogenous culture had enabled consensus to emerge. Free markets, he pointed out, were important precisely because they allowed people without a common identity to work together, even if they hated one another.
Such a process of integration has worked well in Europe so far, but in order to lock in the gains and connections, institutions need to follow where markets have already gone. Like Switzerland, in other words, Europe needs a strong but limited central government that accommodates as much local diversity as possible.
As is the case everywhere, it is a matter of balancing priorities. Governance works best -- because it is more legitimate and accountable -- when the scale is small; markets are most prosperous when the scale is large. One area that certainly needs centralized regulation and institutional guidance is finance.
The absence of homogenous regulation will only sow the seeds of the next financial crisis and hobble Europe in the decades ahead as it faces new competitive challenges in the global economy. Such moves would help drive deep structural reforms in individual countries, such as increasing flexibility in labor markets, that would promote competitiveness.
Some argue that aligning European states more closely on issues such as wage levels, the social contract, and tax rates should be the task of the European Commission -- which represents all 27 member states -- rather than of intergovernmental treaties whose negotiation is inevitably dominated by France and, particularly, Germany. This makes sense, but for the commission to take on such a role, it will need to acquire much more popular legitimacy. The parliament and the council, meanwhile, need to be able to initiate legislation a power only the commission has now.
It would also make sense to allocate seats in the parliament in a way that more accurately reflected the populations of the member states and to create the office of a commissioner for savings, who could help see to it that the member states met their various financial and budgetary commitments and obligations. Former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, meanwhile, has suggested leveraging the current legitimacy of the nation-state to forge a more effective common European budget policy.
The democratic public of each state will have to decide whether it is in its long-term interest to join the federation or opt out. It is an illusion to believe that a strong political union can be built on the weak allegiance that results from tweaking treaties. Its foundation must be a popular mandate. The appropriate venue for these discussions, as Schroeder and others have suggested, would be a full-scale European convention. Former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, the German politician Daniel Cohn-Bendit both members of the European Parliament , and others have proposed turning the elections for the European Parliament into the election of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution for Europe that would incorporate these sorts of ideas.
How, specifically, might a political union in Europe work?
Ejército de Cataluña (1713-1714)
The European Parliament could elect the chief executive of the European Commission, who would then form a cabinet of ministers out of the larger parties in the parliament -- including a finance minister with the capacity to levy taxes and formulate a substantial budget on a Europe-wide basis. Other cabinet positions would cover the provision of supranational European public goods defense, foreign policy, energy, infrastructure, and so forth , leaving as many decisions on other matters as possible in the hands of the national governments within the federation.
The European Court of Justice would arbitrate any issues of disputed sovereignty arising between the commission and the member states. Because the parliament would have enhanced power, selecting a chief executive for the union, it would make sense to have parliamentary elections based on Europe-wide lists instead of national party lists. Having more at stake in the elections would lead to more discussion and higher rates of voting, which would mean more legitimacy for the results and the institutions in general. Parties that obtained less than ten or 15 percent of the vote in Europe-wide elections would be present in debate but could not vote.
Such a rule would tend to push politics toward centrist compromise and avoid gridlock that might arise from the veto power of small parties in a coalition. Members would be selected by nation-states for staggered terms longer than the shorter electoral cycle of the lower house of the parliament, thus encouraging a longer-term perspective on governance.
Unlike the lower house, which would focus primarily on the short-term interests of its national constituents, the upper house would be a more deliberative body, focused on broader and longer-term questions. In order to preserve some of the nonpartisan, meritocratic quality of the current commission, each cabinet minister in the commission would be paired with a permanent secretary from the European civil service in his or her area of competence. A constructive no-confidence vote is a consensus-forging mechanism whereby a no-confidence vote can take place only if majority support for a new, alternative governing coalition has already been secured.
Taxes and legislation would have to be approved by a majority of both legislative houses. Any move toward such a political union would obviously raise myriad thorny issues. The new institutions and their rules would ideally be established from the bottom up through a constituent assembly, rather than by a treaty change -- but how could a truly ground-up process ever get traction?
The large parties that would win the most seats in the European Parliament would need to hash out a compromise or a common agenda robust enough to make governing possible -- but what if they did not? And what is most fundamental, could a political union ever really cohere if not preceded by continent-wide nation building aimed at forging a forward-looking common identity?
What is crucial now, however, is recognition that the current system is not working and that closer, rather than looser, integration is the more sensible and attractive option. In , Alexander Hamilton, then the U. This was the first step in making the United States a continental and, ultimately, global power. So, too, in Europe, debt resolution can be the midwife of a political union that could make Europe a powerful pillar in the geopolitical order of the twenty-first century.
Como Suiza, Europa necesita un gobierno central fuerte pero limitado que acomode el mayor grado de diversidad local que sea posible. En otras palabras, Europa necesita —como Suiza— un gobierno central fuerte pero limitado que acomode el mayor grado de diversidad local que sea posible. Su cimiento tiene que ser el mandato popular. What happened was, a couple of years ago Osama bin Laden said in one of his intermittent recorded messages to the world that during the previous Gulf War Colin Powell and Dick Cheney had destroyed Baghdad worse than Hulagu of the Mongols.
Bin Laden provided no further identification of Hulagu, probably assuming that none was needed. Of course, almost no one in America had any idea what he was talking about, so news stories helpfully added that Hulagu, a grandson of Genghis Khan, was a Mongol general who sacked Baghdad in the year At the time, I was doing research for a book about a subject in which the Mongols came up occasionally.
Anyone who does research knows you have to stay focussed on your topic and not go down every interesting avenue you pass, or you will end up wandering aimlessly in attention-deficit limbo. I wondered how a world figure like Hulagu could be so well known, apparently, in the far reaches of Asia, and the opposite of that here. I also wondered, in terms of simple fact, if it could be accurate to say that Cheney and Powell were worse than he. Reading about the Iraq war seemed to segue unavoidably into reading about the Mongols.
Finally I quit resisting and went with the Mongol flow. Like the Huns and the Scythians before them, they came from the steppe grasslands of central Asia, which produced their great resource of horses and draft animals. After Genghis Khan united a number of Mongol tribes into a single horde under his command in the early thirteenth century, they descended on cities in China, India, Afghanistan, Persia, Turkestan, and Russia.
Between and , they wasted dozens of cities and wiped out more than These and other large numbers of victims attributed to the Mongols may have been inspired more by terror than by historical fact. The Mongols had so many oxen and cattle that they were able to carry all kinds of stuff with them—entire houses, and even temples—on giant carts. Observers said the number of Mongol horses was beyond counting, every warrior possessing many remounts.
Mongols spent so much time on horseback that they grew up bowlegged. If a Mongol had to move any distance farther than a hundred paces, he jumped on a horse and rode. Fuelled by grass, the Mongol empire could be described as solar-powered; it was an empire of the land. Later empires, such as the British, moved by ship and were wind-powered, empires of the sea.
The American empire, if it is an empire, runs on oil and is an empire of the air. They shaved their hair short on the backs and tops of their heads and left it long at the sides. Custom forbade them from ever washing their clothes. Many Mongol nobles died young from drunkenness. After victories, Mongols sometimes celebrated by drinking kumis while sitting on benches made of planks tied to the backs of their prisoners.
Mongols also ate meat tenderized by being sat on beneath their saddles on long journeys; marmot steeped in sour milk; curds dried in the sun; roots, dogs, rats—almost anything, according to several observers. Marco Polo, who travelled among them in the years , wrote that they ate hamsters, which were plentiful on the steppes.
A Franciscan friar who in went to seek out the Great Khan in the hope of persuading him to become a Christian reported that, during a siege of a Chinese city, a Mongol army ran out of food and ate one of every ten of its own soldiers. Other Mongol facts: On their treeless steppes, they tended to get hit by lightning a lot. Thunder terrified them. They wore armor made of scales of iron sewn to garments of thick hide, and iron helmets that sometimes came to a point on top.
Their swords were short and sometimes curved. The notches in their arrows were too narrow to fit the wider bowstrings of the Western people they fought, so that the arrows could not be picked up and shot back at them. Mongol bows, made of layers of horn and sinew on a wooden frame, took two men to string. Warriors carried them strung, in holsterlike cases at their belts. The globally eye-opening books of Marco Polo would not have been possible without the safe passage provided for him by Mongol power. Mongols were curious about religions, and tolerant toward them.
Mongol armies sometimes did not destroy churches, mosques, and monasteries. Eventually, many of the Mongol hordes combined their own shamanist beliefs with the Islam or Buddhism prevailing in the lands they overran. Unlike previous steppe barbarians, the Mongols had a strong body of laws, the yasaq, based on the decrees of Genghis Khan, and in many cases it remained in place for centuries in their conquered territories.
In general, the Mongols were well organized. By the fifteenth century, better defenses and the increased sophistication of firearms began to give civilized places an advantage over Mongol horsemen in warfare. The Mongols were becoming less dangerous, too, as they took up the domesticated customs of people they had ruled. Sonam Gyatso, who became the Dalai Lama in , set out on a missionary journey to Mongolia in , performed many miracles on the way, and was greeted by the Mongols with rejoicing.
In less than a generation, many Mongols had become Lamaists, renouncing not only warfare but all other violence, including hunting and hawking. Today the Tibetan Buddhists believe that the saintly Sonam Gyatso is alive in his latest reincarnation, in the person of Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama, recently seen smiling beatifically in ads for a computer brand.
During the time of Hulagu, the Mongols were still centuries from being peaceable. Hulagu was the third-youngest among four brothers, all of them famous: Mongke, who outmaneuvered rivals to become khan in , and who died of dysentery; Kubilai, arguably the most powerful khan ever, who occupied Peking and founded a Chinese dynasty that lasted almost a hundred years; Hulagu, an il-khan, or subsidiary khan, whose domains were in Persia and the west; and Arigh-boke, who rebelled against Kubilai and held out for years until Kubilai defeated him.
Because the Mongols absorbed many peoples and tolerated different religions, they soon had Buddhists, Muslims, Taoists, and even Christians among them. Hulagu was educated by a Nestorian Christian priest. Nestorians held a less exalted view of the divinity of Christ, and were regarded by the Roman and Orthodox churches as heretics. Dokuz-khatun was said to be descended from one of the wise men who visited the baby Jesus in the manger. Hulagu seems never to have become a Christian himself, but members of the faith in the middle east saw him as their champion.
Great sorrow came to all the Christians throughout the world. Mongols destroyed cities; Islam built them. Along the way, they founded new cities or enlarged old ones, and, of all the cities of early Islam, Baghdad became the wonder. The Abbassid caliphate lasted for five hundred years. Mansour chose the small village of Baghdad, on the Tigris, as the site for his future capital because of its possibilities for transportation and agriculture. He also liked its remoteness. The name Baghdad, however, prevailed. Within forty years, Baghdad had become the storied and romantic place it would forever be in popular imagination.
Poets who pleased the caliph might have pearls poured upon them; concubines for his harem sold for tens of thousands of gold dirhams. Almost everybody in ninth-century Baghdad could read and write. While Europe still moiled in its Dark Ages, Baghdad was a city of booksellers, bathhouses, gardens, game parks, libraries.
Harun al-Rashid was the first chess-playing caliph; Baghdadis also played checkers and backgammon. Translators took Greek works and rendered them into Arabic, in which they were preserved to be translated into European languages several centuries later. The palaces of the caliphs were of marble, rare woods, jade, and alabaster, with fountains and interior gardens, and carpets and wall hangings by the thousand.
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Servants sprinkled guests with sprinklers of rosewater and powdered musk and ambergris. Because of the need for accuracy in setting the religious calendar and orienting mosques to face Mecca, astronomy was especially important. Its cooks knew how to make highly complicated dishes, and sweets like halvah and baklava. Political changes made the caliph less powerful, limiting his temporal domain to Baghdad and nearest regions, though Sunni Muslims in other places still accepted his spiritual authority. The city remained a center of wealth and commerce, and an imposing sight architecturally.
Caliph Mustasim, the thirty-seventh in the Abbassid line, who became caliph in , had confidence that his house would reign until Resurrection Day. Rumors of the approach of the Mongol army in did not worry him. During the reign of his father, the armies of the caliph had been among a very few opponents to defeat and turn back the Mongols.
From deep in Mongolia Hulagu set out in , marching westward at the head of a large force that included siege-engine experts of several nationalities. His trebuchets could hurl huge rocks, and smaller stones covered in flaming naphtha, and his arbalesters could shoot bolts dipped in burning pitch a distance of twenty-five hundred paces. The Mongols took eighteen months crossing Asia as far as Afghanistan. There and in the mountains of Persia they stopped to conquer the Assassins, an extreme Shiite sect that terrorized neighboring rulers by sending young men on suicide missions to kill them.
In no-quarter sieges, Hulagu battered the Assassins out of their mountain fortresses with his heavy weapons, and then destroyed them root and branch. Later historians agreed that in this, at least, he did the world a favor. By , Hulagu had reached western Persia. From there he sent emissaries to the caliph telling him to raze the walls of Baghdad and fill in the moat and come in person to make obeisance to Hulagu.
The caliph replied that with all of Islam ready to defend him, he did not fear. He advised Hulagu to go back where he came from. The Mongol army had recently received reinforcements from other Mongol hordes, and a contingent of Christian cavalry from Georgia. Perhaps the Mongols had eight hundred and fifty thousand soldiers; certainly they had more than a hundred thousand.
In November of , they marched on toward Baghdad, dividing as they approached so that their forces would surround the city. The caliph sent an army to stop those approaching from the west, and repulsed them in an early battle. Mustasim, the caliph, was not of a character equal to such large problems. He is described as a weak, vacillating layabout who liked to drink sherbet and keep company with musicians and clowns.
Worse, from a strategic point of view, Mustasim had recently angered the Shiites by various insults and offenses, such as throwing the poem of a famous Shiite poet in the river. Now vengeful Shiites volunteered help to the Mongols in Mosul and other places along their march. Soon they had breached the outer wall. The caliph, who had been advised against escaping by his vizier, offered to negotiate.
Hulagu, with the city practically in his hands, refused. The upshot was that the caliph and his retinue came out of the city, the remainder of his army followed, they laid down their arms, and the Mongols killed almost everybody. Then, for a period of seven days, the Mongols sacked the city, killing depending on the source two hundred thousand, or eight hundred thousand, or more than a million. Plunderers threw away their swords and filled their scabbards with gold. A li equalled five hundred bow lengths—a hundred li was maybe thirty miles. The stories of what Hulagu did to the caliph vary.
One says that Hulagu toyed with him a while, dining with him and discussing theology and pretending to be his guest. A famous account describes how Hulagu imprisoned the caliph in a roomful of treasure and brought him gold on a tray instead of food. Learned Shiites advised Hulagu that no catastrophes had followed the bloody deaths of John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, or the Shiite saint Hosein, so he should go ahead.
To be safe, Hulagu had the caliph wrapped in a carpet and then trodden to death by horses. The daughter was shipped off to Mongolia to be a slave in the harem of Mongke Khan. Amassing large harems was an important occupation of the khans. Genghis Khan was said to have had five hundred wives and concubines. When the Mongols overran a place, their captains took some of the women and passed along the more beautiful ones to their superiors, who passed the more beautiful to their superiors, and so on all the way to the khan, who could choose among the pulchritude of a continent.
Genghis Khan had scores of children, as did other khans and nobles descended from him for centuries in the Genghis Khanite line. Recently, a geneticist at Oxford University, Dr. Chris Tyler-Smith, and geneticists from China and central Asia took blood samples from populations living in regions near the former Mongol empire, and they studied the Y chromosomes.
These are useful in establishing lineage because Y chromosomes continue from father to son. Tyler-Smith and his colleagues found that an anomalously large number of the Y chromosomes carried a genetic signature indicating descent from a single common ancestor about a thousand years ago. The scientists theorized that the ancestor was Genghis Khan or, more exactly, an eleventh-century ancestor of Genghis Khan. About eight per cent of all males in the region studied, or sixteen million men, possess this chromosome signature.
It is possible, therefore, that more than thirty-two million people in the world today are descended from Genghis Khan. From Baghdad he intended to go on and conquer Egypt, but he failed at that. After the death of Mongke Khan, in , the struggle for succession took him away from the campaign. The killing of such a distinguished person was usually a warrant for swift revenge, but the Egyptians were able to overcome the next Mongol force sent against them as well.
As a result, Islamic culture in Cairo did not get crushed by the Mongols, and so for a time Egypt became the center of Islam; and the Mongols never extended their power beyond Asia into Africa. By his cruelty to the caliph, Hulagu may have caused himself unexpected trouble. Berke, his cousin, the leader of the Golden Horde of Mongols on the steppes of Russia, had recently converted to Islam. After Baghdad fell, he perhaps was angry at the insult to his faith; he moved to attack Hulagu, who had to make his way to Azerbaijan to defend against this new enemy.
The presence of a serious threat from fellow-Mongols on his northern flank effectively boxed Hulagu in, and he attempted no more major conquests. In the cities he had won along the Tigris and Euphrates, he put his viceroys in power, and rewarded some of the helpful Shiites. For the Persian Shiite astronomer Nasir-al-Din Tusi, who had abetted the Mongols ever since they freed him from the Assassins, Hulagu built a costly observatory, which later produced the first scientifically accurate explanation of the rainbow.
Nasir-al-Din Tusi asked Hulagu to make him the caliph, but Hulagu refused. No caliph would ever reign again in Baghdad, nor would Islam have another capital to match that city in its prime. Hulagu left three thousand Mongols in Baghdad to rebuild it, but they did not accomplish much. Decades later, it was still mostly a ruin. Some irrigation systems that the Mongol army destroyed were not repaired until Iraq began to get money from its oil in the twentieth century.
Mongols had no real talent for building, anyway. Plague and famine and disintegration followed the Mongol incursion. Places they conquered sometimes had to be re-subdued. The city of Mosul, which had submitted almost eagerly to Mongol rule at first, changed its attitude afterward, when a new malik, or prince, came to power there. Under his leadership the inhabitants of Mosul—Kurds, Arabs, and some tribal people—rebelled and forted themselves up behind the city walls, and the Mongols put them under siege.
After his forces finally took the city, he ordered the malik to be brought to him. Then he had the malik fastened tightly inside a fresh sheepskin and left in the sun, where vermin ate him alive for a month until he died. Hulagu ruled his domains as il-khan not from Iraq but from western Persia and the city of Maragha. His governing style seems to have been a combination of the savage and the practical. When some of his subjects came before him complaining of a maker of files who had killed one of their relatives, he took the matter under consideration.
He inquired first about the number of makers of files in his territories and found they were few. Mongols needed files. A file was part of the basic equipment of every Mongol soldier, essential for keeping his arrows sharp. On further inquiry Hulagu learned that the number of pack-saddle makers, however, was large. He then informed the plaintiffs that they could have their revenge, but it must be on a maker of pack saddles rather than on the offending maker of files. When the plaintiffs objected, Hulagu got rid of them by giving them a cow.
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Hulagu had epilepsy, and its seizures increased in frequency as he got older. In he became troubled at the appearance of a comet. He never recovered from this portent, and in February of , possibly as a result of a seizure, he died. Beautiful maidens were sacrificed to accompany him in his tomb. Dokuz-khatun, his Christian wife, died four months later. He was about forty-eight years old. The dynasty of Hulagid il-khans ruled until about Afterward, there followed a period of unrest and rebellions, with struggles between Turks and Persian Mongols for power in Baghdad.
Then, in , the unhappy city, always prone to disasters, suffered another huge one: Timur-Lenk, or as Westerners called him Tamerlane. This Turkic tribal leader from the vicinity of Samarkand was not himself a Mongol, though he admired and emulated the Mongols. He was a devout Muslim, a student of the Koran, one of the best chess players of his day, and a remorseless general whose cruelty shocked even the troops he led. In , he came to Baghdad and went comparatively easy on it because the inhabitants did not resist. In , however, they did, and Tamerlane gave the city a trashing that finished off most of what the Mongols had overlooked.
When his forces took Baghdad, he spared almost no one, and ordered that each of his ninety thousand soldiers bring him a head some sources say two or lose his own life. The thousands of heads were piled into towers. Tamerlane also said not to destroy hospitals and mosques, a small concession by a Muslim to the former capital of his faith.
Nonetheless, thanks to him and to Hulagu, almost no architecture from the golden days of Harun al-Rashid has survived. Many Muslims believe that the Mongol destruction of Baghdad and of the caliphate was the worst misfortune ever to befall Islam. Historical speculations about what might have been if the disaster had never occurred go in various directions, some tending toward the wild. Recently, when TV stations everywhere were replaying the video of a U. In the category of inflicters of death and destruction upon the city of Baghdad, Cheney and Powell Gulf War I are somewhere on a crowded list, not at its top.
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If he really believes what he said, though, you can kind of follow his logic: America equals the Mongols; the Mongols spared no one; therefore any violence against such a scourge is justified. Who knows just what or where the hinge of history will turn out to be, or in which direction it will swing? It does not routinely destroy everything in its path and leave only ruins and corpses and jackals behind. I mean, come on. A major force of British troops remained in Iraq until After independence, the unrest and assassinations and street violence continued with a sporadic persistence that was hard to keep track of.
Early in the Second World War, a coup by Iraqi Army officers sympathetic to the Nazis led to another British invasion, and a reinstallation of the young king and his regent, whom the coup had run out. Iraq sent troops to every Arab war against Israel and never made peace afterward; formally, it has been in a continuous state of war with Israel since In , another military coup killed the king, Faisal II, and all his family. Then, in , assassins from the Baath Party killed the general who had led the coup.
The smartest and most murderous among the Baathists turned out to be Saddam Hussein. Less than a year after General Maude made his proclamation, he died in Baghdad of cholera, possibly brought on by drinking unpasturized milk in his coffee at a celebration in his honor. Maude had been right, and historically well informed, to say that Baghdad and environs had never recovered since Hulagu.
That Iraq would be an even bigger mess in the century to come was a development he probably did not foresee. Major long-distance routes, both by sea and by land, converge in it; its geography let Hulagu and Tamerlane, not to mention Arabs and Turks and Persians and Egyptian Mamelukes and more, go breezing through. Mongol horsemen did not like trees tangling them up and annoying them. To American planners of the current war, Iraq looked like the perfect theatre for the lighter and faster military forces they favored.
Easy-to-get-to places eventually are subject to whatever power happens to be abroad in the world. America was lucky for centuries to have oceans as obstacles on either side. Everything important seemed to be here; troubles elsewhere could be safely ignored. When guests came to visit from out of town, I sometimes brought them to the observation deck on the top of World Trade Tower No.
As we stood looking, we were in America, and only there. Never for a minute did I think we were actually in the world. En aquel entonces, me encontraba realizando investigaciones sobre un libro que mencionaba ocasionalmente a los mongoles. Michael: Drums, Last Rough Cause are good friends of ours. We have known them for years and played lots of gigs together.
There're no surprises at all on the split. We've done a cover of a Last Rough Cause song and likewise, they've covered one of ours. On our new album, however, to be released later this year, we've added a couple of more up-tempo songs to mix it up a little. It's still in our usual style but just a bit faster. I know that you tried some time ago to play with two guitars. Have you thought to add another permanent guitar member again to get a powerful sound? We tried two guitars a long, long time ago when we first started out as Gimp Fist.
We try to keep the record like it would be played live and we really only overdub guitar solos. That's the beauty of going into the studio and making a record.
Tras Lineas Enemigas Salvado Por Un Arma Secreta by Danny Clifford
We've been a three piece for too long to change things. If it's not broken, don't fix it. Plus we don't really do anything complicated enough to justify having two guitars. Has the Nidge Blitz Tribute just been released? How did you get involved in it? Have you seen them in the past original members, with Nigel only, or when Steve from Red Alert was singing or another time…?
As far as we know it is going to be released this year but you would have to ask Lars at Hasscontainer as he is the only person who would know for sure. I think Gimp Fist had some problems like that for eg. Can you tell us your opinion about it and why you think the right wing scene in England is increasing? If people actually took the time to read our lyrics instead of jumping to conclusions and stereo-typing, they would see what Gimp Fist stand for.
We're 3 working class lads with working class beliefs. End of. We shouldn't have to keep justifying ourselves to people all the time! However, I was very surprised when I saw your Help for Heroes appearance because you have a few anti war songs. I think Gimp Fist have played different times abroad. What places did you play in? How was the band accepted? Do you know something about the music scene from Spain? Have you heard any bands? We have played a number of times in Germany and love it every time.
We also have played in Italy with some friends of ours. We have never been to Spain but would love to visit one day. Although you prefer small concerts, I would like you to tell us about how it works at a big festival like Rebellion… For example, the sound, I think that the only bands who soundcheck are the headliners, right? Does the organization pay the small groups or provide them with accommodation?
Can you explain to us about some funny backstage anecdotes in these types of events where so many bands are playing? Last year we were backstage at Rebellion and it was nice to see Vinny Stigma from Agnostic Front handing out chocolate to all the ladies! Some gigs are better than others but as a band you always give your best performance because you are there to entertain people. The second time we played Rebellion we were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people that turned up to watch us. There are 3 of us in the band and we all have different tastes!
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