Newt Gingrich seldom misses a chance to note that he is a historian.
I think that, in almost all human beings, there is buried a profound tribal instinct that makes us very susceptible to being aroused to patriotic fervour.
Someday, I have no doubt, the dead from today’s wars will be seen with a similar sense of sorrow at needless loss and folly as those millions of men who lie in the cemeteries of France and Belgium – and tens of millions of Americans will feel a similar revulsion for the politicians and generals who were so spendthrift with others’ lives.
I think the tradition of well-written history hasn’t been squashed out of the academic world as much in Britain as it has in the United States.
For the better part of two centuries, outsiders have been offering explanations that range from racist to learned-sounding – the supposed inferiority of blacks, the heritage of slavery, overpopulation – for why Haiti remains the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
As the First World War made painfully clear, when politicians and generals lead nations into war, they almost invariably assume swift victory, and have a remarkably enduring tendency not to foresee problems that, in hindsight, seem obvious.
No international court can ever substitute for a working national justice system. Or for a society at peace.
The first World War in so many ways shaped the 20th century and really remade our world for the worse.
Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short.