On Curzon

I started Leonard Mosley’s Curzon in January and only finished it early this morning. It’s not a big book, only some 300 or so pages, but it is a very good book and I have been savouring it as one might a fine wine or one of our butterscotch puddings. Even the paper in was printed on in 1960 is of a quality far removed from the recycled egg-crate material used in publishing today.

I found Curzon an interesting read, more so against the current backdrop of more former colonies descending back into anarchy and chaos. As untrendy or politically palatable that colonialism may be perceived today, there is a certain inescapable logic in his belief that “… that Englishmen, let alone Scotsmen, Welsh, Indians and other lesser breeds, had [not] earned the right to equality with those who had spent their lives and their brains in learning to rule them…” as I commented in January. Funnily enough, as  speak, it is just being announced on Breakfast that New Zealand is signing up to the UN declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples…

Curzon covers a period of British history, the early 20s, that is not well-known nor particularly well covered in popular media. Whether Curzon himself would have been a better Prime Minister than Baldwin, Law or Lloyd-George whom he despised, is debatable but his biography offers a fascinating insight into some of the other key players and events of this time. Mosley is scathing about the (lack of) ability of A.J. Balfour, of Balfour Declaration notoriety “…for rarely in the history of British statesmanship can there have been a man who cared less about the eventual results of the aims and objects of the policies he espoused…” So very right as we still reap the results of Balfour’s ambivalence in the Middle East…

I see in the search results in the blog stats page that someone today was searching for “…curzon by leonard mosley…“. If that person revisits this blog, I’d love to learn more of their interest in Curzon

Afghanistan’s new owners?

In the inbox last night was an update from Sicuro Group covering Iran’s call for NATO and ISAF to withdraw from Afghanistan in favour of a regionally based force. Normally I take articles from this source with a pinch of salt, more because their ‘assessment’ is usually a statement of the blindingly obvious stated with the pretension of original thought. But I thought that this call from Iran was interesting…

The Iranian president has called on the US to withdraw its troops from the Gulf region and Afghanistan.

“The region has no need for alien troops and they should return home and let the regional states take care of their own affairs,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech marking the country’s annual Army Day on Sunday.

“They must leave the region and this is not a request but an order and the will of the regional nations,” he said.

The president said the deployment of US and NATO troops in Iraq and Afghanistan under the pretext of fighting terrorism had not only failed but also increased insecurity in both countries.

Assessment : The US–NATO campaign in Afghanistan receives brickbats and laurels at the same time. While some countries are opposed to the US withdrawal beginning next year, Iran mounts attacks on the US, urging it to withdraw immediately from Afghanistan and the Gulf region. Turkey also threatens to disassociate with NATO forces if more civilian casualties occur in military offensives.

Maybe Iran is doing a France and looking for a colony in which to test its new nukes…? Could be a win-win situation for everyone…

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