Why do wars begin both great and small? The world lives in fear of the “incident” such as in the Cold War or now perhaps Iran or Korea that will spark the next great conflict. But ultimately, it is men and not events which determine the fate of nations…
…And in 1621 France and England moved obediently in that orbit still. Why then were the ambassadors and viceroys so determined to break the Spanish peace?
The answer is not difficult to find. It is to be found in their own statements. These men believed that, in spite of appearances, Spain was losing the peace. The loss was not a loss of territory ( Spanish territory had been constantly increading), nor even merely a loss of trade ( Spanish trade had never been much). It was something far greater than this. Beneath the surface of spectacular peaceful triumphs the whole Spanish “way of life” was being undermined by a more successful rival ideology that had its headquarters in Amsterdam, the capital of those insubordinate, invincible, unpardonable heretics and rebels, the Dutch.
For the Spanish peace had, in some respects, represented the victory and spread of a way of life. It was the triumph of princely bureaucracy, of official class in a monarchial society, living to a large extent on taxes which grew as it grew. The official class had by now an official ideology, an ideology of the court: an ideology shared even by the great merchants, who farmed the taxes and felt themselves half courtiers; and consecrated by the Church, which was a court -Church, and particularly by the religious orders- most of all by the courtliest of all orders, the Jesuits, who at this time were the invariable allies of Spain.
But it also had its weakness. Though it created a state capitalism, it discouraged private trade and industry. It is a common spectacle: industry and commerce crushed under bureaucracy; merchants shifting their capital into the purchase of land, titles, or offices; peasants oppressed by taxes; craftsmen fleeing to other lands. ( to be continued)…
Walter Pincus:Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, which opposed the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, has been criticized by Palestinians for not opening up the Rafah crossing. He must deal with Hamas officials who want to rebuild their arms stockpile, including Iranian-made Fajr-5 missiles that showed they could reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Morsi’s claim at home last week that the judiciary could not overrule his proclamations has led to protests against the Egyptian leader. His international activities, critics say, have interfered with his domestic duties. Some also say his cease-fire work is a cover for his assumption of dictatorial powers.
President Obama faces a different dilemma. He depends on Morsi to carry out dealings with Hamas, which the United States has labeled a terrorist organization, although the White House is under pressure to take a strong stand against Morsi’s claim to extrajudicial powers. In addition, Obama’s indirect dealings with Hamas have undercut Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whom Washington has been building up. Yet the United States has opposed Abbas’s primary diplomatic initiative, a U.N. General Assembly retion that would have a Palestinian land recognized as a U.N. non-member, observer state.
Abbas is the last leader in this unusual quintet. In the wake of the Gaza cease-fire, he has lost standing within the West Bank and internationally in the internal battle over Palestinian leadership. The question is whether he will regain some stature this week when the U.N. vote is scheduled. The expected approval would be a step toward statehood, as well as a gesture toward the 1967 borders and an opportunity for the Palestinians to join U.N. organizations….Read More:http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/the-fine-print-can-five-leaders-make-the-gaza-cease-fire-last/2012/11/26/732c8c4e-35b7-11e2-9cfa-e41bac906cc9_story_1.html