Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Welcome, newcomers

I see that my little weblog is posted among a list that professor Kerr published at The Volokh Conspiracy. So far I haven't had much traffic because I am still learning the ropes, along with thousands of others, keeping up with my own blog. Thanks to this link I am expecting company.

Newcomers are invited to look around and see what other items I have posted. Your observations and comments are welcome. If personal experience is any indicator very few will agree with much of what I have to say, but there is something liberating about putting even your most unpopular ideas into print. I cherish the idea that something I add to a conversation will be the seed of an idea that changes the course enough to inch it in another direction.

Such is my mention of colonial history regarding contemporary events in what we call the "Middle East", and "South Asia". Thanks to some history courses long ago I was given an academic foundation about that part of the world that predates present-day conflicts by a three decades. Perhaps my viewpoint is badly dated, but I think not.

Until the fall of Yugoslavia and yet another conflict in the Balkans, most Americans had never bothered to become informed about that part of the world. There seems to have been enough intelligence (in the academic, not military sense of that word) in our leadership that casualties were minimized, open military actions were not protracted, and a more or less peaceful result has followed.

All that was before September 11, 2001, which has become the new dividing point of all history for most Americans. But events in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Iran -- all of which are in a kind of ferment -- fit more sensibly into a longer view of history than most commentators are willing or able to admit.

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