Wednesday, June 29, 2005

christopher hitchens: more on jefferson's barbary wars

jun 29th

more from the KQED Forum podcast on 'jefferson', the book by christopher hitchens.

it appears that the barbary pirates were arab slavers from libya, algeria, morocco, tunisia, etc. who operated around the straits of gibraltar, the mediterranean, and out in the atlantic. they not only took the ships, but they took the ships' crew as well: they had enslaved 1,500,000 white people, and this is what led to the jeffersonian war.

'with great ruthlessness and dispatch' jefferson put them down.

whence of course the 'shores of tripoli' stuff in the us marine hymn.

i wonder whether you could say this forgotten battle foreshadows america's role in the arab world these days: once again responding to an arab assault on their nation.

it seems the us navy then had a much easier time of it than the us infantry in today's barbary wars. although jefferson opposed having a standing army or navy, he was quite happy to use them when he became president.

i have never paid any attention to the barbary wars, maybe it's time i did some wikipedia searching.


Rahulbr said...

There's a book called [u]The Savage Wars of Peace: America's Small Wars[/u] by a gentleman named Max Boot, a prominent neo-con and he covers the Barbary War quite nicely. Also, I studied it during high school US history. One thing that struck me is that throughout its history, our country, though keeping to itself in its early, formative years, was not shy to punch back at those who tried to hurt it or take advantage of it abroad, regardless of whether it was outgunned as the Barbary Wars and other small wars showed. Might this hold some lessons for the old country (India)?

san said...

Well, we can see Israel's image, past and present. Previously, nobody would dare take a shot at them, because they knew they'd be hit back in a bad way. Now, they've let their image slide and you see all kinds of jihadis queuing up to take a shot. India currently has a very flaccid image, and that's why jihadis and their patrons like Musharraf have no hesitations in taking shots at India, because they know Indians never do anything back. In the wild, displaying weakness is a sure way to attract predators.

Anonymous said...

Hindus were slaves for centuries under different kinds of aliens like Arabs,Turks,Afghans,Persians,Portugese,French,Dutch,and English.Our Hindu psyche is terribly wounded and we are now a bunch of cowards and hypocrites. When we got independence the Gandhi-Nehru duo ensured our continued slavery by their brand of 'secularism'. Today Hindus continue as slaves of the so called 'Minorities' who are in fact super citizens. The only solution is the complete Hiduisation of every Indian and declaring India as a Hindu nation. We need a bold Hindu dictator. Even an imitation of Musharaff can work wonders for Hindu revival

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. Menon,
Yes you are right that the hindus have become cowards. But what can hindus do ? For example, the hindus in kerala dont have their own media. Tell me one newspaper or one channel which stands for their rights. Papers like deepika,manorama etc..hijack the whole news and shows the christian version of it. I was hoping that Punnybhoomi will represent them but i am currently shocked to see that they sell very few copies and are not so famous in north kerala. Only Excepttion is Kerala kaumudi.


Anonymous said...

TVR Shenoy hits a bulls eye with his crisp commentary on the China's - UNOCAL bid...

Open markets, closed minds

Except for TVR & Ashok Malik the Indian Express comes with a list of insipid columnists who just babble to Sonia's & Left's dictum.
(editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta included)

A newspaper that once prided itself in being a front-runner in exposing government of the day & being a torch bearer of the anti-establishment media, has now sadly degraded itself to being 10,Janpath's B-Team.

The fall & fall of Indian media is the biggest untold story of this decade.

The deafening silence of the mainstream media over the Imrana case is just another pointer at the shallow arm-chair journalism which is passed as professional journalism nowadays.

Atleast Mukhtar Mai had NYTimes to back her up.Poor Imrana, she could not even count on the progressive,secular,modern Indian media !!

nizhal yoddha said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
nizhal yoddha said...

thanks to rahulbr for the pointer to the savage wars book. it is true that the americans have always been quite good at showing muscle whenever needed. i applaud them for not being weak-kneed cowards.

americans were good at land-acquisition too, i might add: the mexican wars for example.

interestingly, it was jefferson who arranged for the huge louisiana purchase that got the us to being a continental nation.

someone said that thomas jefferson wrote the us declaration of independence, not the constitution. this is true, i stand corrected.

i also found out that jefferson was extremely hostile towards christianity.

he had a rather low opinion of blacks (thought freed slaves should be sent back to africa, liberia for instance). but he was very impressed by the native american.

altogether interesting man. i think i'll read the hitchens book one of these days.

san said...

Here's a useful article on the
Vindictiveness of Kissinger & Nixon

Had Kissinger and Nixon succeeded in convincing China to attack India in 1971, as we now clearly can see they were trying to do, then history would be very different indeed. We'd be the ones suffering separation of NorthEast, although I hope we would have fought to the last man before letting the ChiComs annex one fifth of our territory. Nextly, I would hope we would have also carried the war into Tibet.

But it's useful to ask -- why didn't China take up Nixon's and Kissinger's offer? If I were the Chinese leadership, newly-divorced from the Soviet patron and yet still a technically backward nation suffering from Stalinist paranoia, I wouldn't be immediately rushing to stick my neck out for Tricky Dick and Henry, based on a sudden overture. And as we saw in the years that followed, Banyan Tree Mao was getting old, and the rest of the party flunkies were nervously worried about their own future as Madame-ji continued to consolidate her hold on Beijing.