Monday, July 21, 2008

Middle East Crisis, 1957

Here’s another find from the thousands of donations to our July 27th Hillsdale Book Sale: A “Penguin Special” titled “Middle East Crisis.” It cost 50 cents in 1957, the year of its publication.

Little has changed in 50 years. Our current Middle East crisis seems a clone of the one described in the little paperback.

Here are the first couple of paragraphs, but I
I've substituted parenthetically current references. The insertions fit seamlessly.

“The British and French (American) invasion of Egypt (Iraq) in November 1956 (March 2003) was the end of a tangled chain of events lasting many years. Blunders by individuals — worse than blunders — may have caused this calamity; but the invasion was the nemesis of a Middle East policy by Britain (the US) which has not for a long while been based on sound principles, and which has seldom been in keeping with the reality of the time. The only good thing that may come out of the disaster is an opportunity for a new start.

“The consequences of the armed action against Egypt (Iraq) were so alarming and so world-wide that those who made the decisions were obviously surprised, even though they claim that they were taking risks which they had calculated. Public opinion in Britain (the US) became more excited and divided than at any time since the controversy over appeasing Hitler (the waging of the Vietnamese War). The action of the British (American) government, even if charitably interpreted, raised questions of morals, politics, and judgment, which will continue to be debated for a very long time… “

Someone, please cue George Santayana.

P.S. “Middle East Crisis” will sell for 50 cents. The persistence of the price matches the persistence of the folly.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Bob R. said...

There was very little to like about the live-action "Flintstones" movie which was produced in the '90s -- except: In the background in one scene, a stone-age newspaper stand, complete with carved tablets, bore a headline which read "Mid-east peace talks stalled". Best movie background joke ever, probably didn't come from the screenwriters.

9:14 PM  

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