Niall Ferguson, the âˆšÂºber-historian, has one of those cute historian-of-the-future columns in the Telegraph/LAT. Kinda like what would your 40 year old self say to your 14 year old confused teenager, I suppose. So, in this back to the future column, the digitized Ferguson wonders whether it was the lack of balls of the "West" in 2006 that led to the Great Gulf War of 2007-2011 - including a nuclear exchange between Tel Aviv and Tehran. See, if the leaders and people of America and London [that's all that counts as "West"] had not demured to internal politics and pressure, they would have invaded Iran and, not caused the great war. Or something.
Since Ferguson loves contrafactuals here is my random one:
With the world firmly behind them after the atrocious attack of 2001 and the routing of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the American state started an historically unprecedented effort to erase radicalization and terrorism throughout the world. By denying multinational companies the rights to do business with despots, cutting off all political and economical aid and forcing a strict agenda of internal elections, the US was able to lead by example a wellspring of democratic freedom from Lebanon to Pakistan. Working with the international agencies, it sunk billions of dollars in building up apparatus of civic and legal frameworks in societies that had hitherto only seen despots.
The efforts, which seemed like liberal pipedreams in the first decade of the 21st century, started to bear fruit when the United Kingdoms of Arabia swore in their first constitutionally elected federal goverment in 2011. Iran's efforts at market reforms and economic parity had already made them an important ally in the region with the hardline religious parties standing little chance unless they adapted the reform and integrate agendas. Or something.
.... and there is some serious ass kicking going on by Saudi students in US.
Niall Ferguson makes me want to spit. Although making fun of him is an ever-fruitful source of entertainment at Oxford dinner parties. I remember writing to my mentor when 'Empire' first came out--'I think it's really a sign of complete intellectual decline when a historian has a book with a Glamour Shots sexy-author-photo on the back.' Nice exemplar above. When he writes something that drives me really mad (Eurabia still takes the cake), I just think of the Islamic Studies Centre going up, stone-by-stone amidst the spires, and picture him seething. It helps.
Shouldn't the scenario be: Bush trusted the weapons inspectors; nothing was found and no one died; the UN gained credibiity as an international organization?
Heh. Nice. Actually I find him rather entertaining. Particularly the "or something" at the end of that quote.
[...] Laurence A. Tisch professor of history at Harvard University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at [...]