The Causes and Reasons for the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848

The Mexican-American war of 1846-1848 was not inevitable but both sides placed themselves on a collision course that seemingly made it so.   A combination of Mexican unwillingness to recognize Texas independence and the desire of Texans for statehood with American desire for westward expansion set the stage for the first offensive war in the short History of the United States.   Tensions between Mexico and the United States had been building for decades, ever since the Mexican government invited Anglo settlers into Texas in the 1820’s.   The war with Mexico was the result of long-standing Anglo grievances that were mostly of the Mexican government’s own making.   Perhaps … More after the Jump…

The Political Acumen of Otto von Bismarck

Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) was probably the most accomplished politician that Germany has ever produced.   He was almost single-handedly responsible for the emergence of the nation of Germany during the nineteenth century.   He was appointed Prime Minister of Germany in 1862 by the Prussian King Wilhelm I (1797-1888) in the middle of a constitutional crisis in Prussia in which the Reichstag refused to authorize a state budget.   Bismarck handled this crisis with ease by using the machinery of state to collect taxes without the Reichstag thus making them irrelevant.   He continued to collect taxes and finance the state for four years until finally the Reichstag was … More after the Jump…

R2P or not?

R2P means “Responsibity to Protect“, and is the idea that the “International Community” has an obligation to “prevent and stop genocides, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.” This obligation extends regardless of whether or not traditional national interests are at stake. We can see that clearly in the case of the UN sanctioned attacks on Libya over the past five weeks. The question is since the West is bombing Libya to protect and save civilian lives from a government attempting to put down a rebellion, how long until we start bombing Syria since they are doing the same thing as Libya.  The even bigger question to my mind … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Polybius-The Histories

The Histories by Polybius is the next book in classics arc. It covers the period from the beginning of the First Punic War in 267 B.C. to 167 B.C. when he claims the Roman Empire was essentially complete and ruled most of the known world. He claims to write the first universal history and has some pretty harsh words for historians who preceded him, especially Timaeus of Locri. The complete text of the histories is available online at several sites, the one I like the best is Bill Thayer’s site LacusCurtis, he has a huge number of classic texts online as well as travelogues of many classic sites and what … More after the Jump…

Book Review: The Makers of Rome by Plutarch (Penguin Classics)

I am currently on an arc of reading Latin classics I have not read but always wanted to. I finished the first one a few days ago, the Penguin Classics edition of The Makers of Rome by Plutarch. It is not a complete copy of Plutarch’s Lives however, it only includes the lives of nine Romans, Coriolanus, Fabius Maximus, Marcellus, Cato the Elder, Tiberius Gracchus, Gaius Gracchus, Sertorius, Brutus, and Mark Antony. Plutarch writes in an engaging style that is very easy to read and the translator does an outstanding job of converting the Latin into English while keeping his style. Plutarch is not always historically accurate; he has a … More after the Jump…

Samual Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilizations”

Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations?, Foreign Affairs, Summer 1993, pp. 22-49 This article set off a debate in academia that continues to this day. What Huntington argues in the paper is that after the fall of communism in 1989, the world is no longer looking at a standoff between ideologies but that the world will revert to clashes between civilizations. The basic thesis is that the ideological struggle between liberal democracy and communism covered over or subsumed the natural differences between civilizations. He argues that prior to the end of the Cold War the conflicts that shaped history were primarily Western and have gone through three phases since … More after the Jump…

What is an Act of War?

In light of the beginning of Attacks against Libya and the UN Security Council Resolution authorizing the establishment of a No-Fly Zone over part of Libya I thought it would be useful to have a post about Acts of War and historically what has been considered a legitimate reason to go to war. I will focus this post on the Westphalian System established in 1648 by the Peace of Westphalia ending the Thirty-Years War that also inaugurated the current system of Sovereign nation-states operative in the world today. The Westphalian System did not spring fully formed in 1648, mainly because it was focused on monarchical and dynastic states and not … More after the Jump…

Where is the Serious National Conversation about American Debt?

I really try to stay away from politics but I find that I just have to say something her, even if I just howling in the wilderness and nobody is listening. Debt or at least the current and future debt of America has been much more prominent in the news lately.   It is always in the news, but people are actually, hopefully, starting to talk about addressing the issue in a serious manner.   I ran across these three pieces recently that address the issue and also talk about what America needs to do versus what it is doing. Niall Ferguson, The End of Prosperity? Fareed Zakaria, Are America’s … More after the Jump…

Communist Manifesto and the Present

This is a piece that talks about Marx, The Communist Manifesto, and how or even if, Marxism is still relevant in the contemporary world.

            The verdict of history regarding Marxism would seem to be on the side of those who claim that the Marxist program has been a colossal failure.   None of the predictions made by Marx in his manifesto have come true, certainly not his central theme in which the masses reap the benefits of an equalization of status in society.   It is certain that everywhere Marxism has been tried it has failed China, Russia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Cuba among others.   Marxism has failed and failed spectacularly.   However, it continues to exert an attraction for those who felt that society should provide for all or that are disenchanted with the capitalist system and fell that there must be some better way of running the world.

David Horowitz made this point extremely well when he pointed out that: “since the ‘Manifesto’ was written… 100 million people have been killed in its name.   Between 10 and 20 times that number have been condemned to lives of unnecessary misery and human squalor, deprived of the life chances afforded the most humble citizens of the industrial democracies that Marxists set out to destroy.”[1]  Apparently people are not willing to give up their economic autonomy as easily as Marx thought they would be and so they must be forced into doing what Marxists perceive as being in their best interests.

More after the Jump…Communist Manifesto and the Present