Previous posts in this discussion:
PostWhy I Call the US the "Empire" (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 07/28/19 4:18 am)
Sorry for my rather delayed answer, but after an intense heat wave we had severe thunderstorms with power outages. In some parts of Italy we even had tornadoes, unknown until few years ago, with many injuries.
I wish to respond to the excellent post of Timothy Brown, 27 July.
In human history we always had empires. In 1939 there were several empires, large and small: Britain, the widest-reaching, France, US (Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico), Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Russia, Italy and the Third Reich. Italy however in the 1930s started a great program of integration and civil progress of the locals and the Italians residing in the empire, a program which was improving relations in these territories. For its part, the Third Reich was called an empire even if, at that time, it ruled over only one ethnic group and therefore, from an ethnic point of view, it was the only "acceptable" empire.
During WWII and immediately afterwards, thanks to the shrewd and hypocritical (Atlantic Charter) actions of the warmonger Roosevelt and his successors, the US dismantled all competing empires. Churchill, the great sinker of the British sovereignty of the Seven Seas and the British Empire, stated that the Atlantic Charter did not apply to Germany.
In 1991 the US became the only great Empire, opening up an era of potential peace and progress. Unfortunately the rule imposed by this Empire may have been worse than those of 80/70 years ago.
The good thing for them is that only the completely defeated leaders can be placed on international trial for crimes against peace and humanity. Therefore, for the time being the leaders of the US Empire are safe. But sooner or later, the American people may become sick and tired of losing lives and money, and may place its bad leaders on trial.
Even if some were extremely ruthless, the pre-WWII empires least ruled and occupied foreign territories openly, many of which were unable to rule themselves (see Africa still at present) On the contrary the present Empire, behind its face-saving so-called alliances, has occupation troops stationed in too many countries while its economic power imposes political/economic actions, including self-defeating sanctions, on its lackeys that rule over the occupied countries.
See Italy that against its interests had to accept the TAP pipeline and renounce the South Stream, while Germany is pressed to give up the North Stream 2 and buy more expensive American LPG which comes from the shale industry, extremely dangerous for the environment and water. (Is a new Flint underway?)
Now we have Trump's economic menaces accompanied by insults (oh well, if the insults were only for Macron...) against Europe if it decides to tax the big American digital companies on their European profits.
Finally about the People's Republic of China or the Empire of the Center, so far is not a great military empire but it is on its to becoming one. A White Paper of 2015 states:
"The Chinese dream is to make the country strong. China's Armed Forces take their dream of making the military strong as part of the China Dream."
The new army is globally oriented and evacuated 36,000 Chinese workers from Libya in 2011/12 and another 600 from Yemen in 2015. The Chinese military base of Djibouti (in the same area as Italian, French and American military bases) presently has a force of 6,000 which may reach at least 10,000. Officially its role is to fight Somali pirates.
The Italian Military Base at Djibouti is named after "Comandante Diavolo" (Commander Devil) Amedeo Guillet, commander of a horse battalion of loyal, heroic, and proud Ascari. He was famous for his charge on 21 January 1941 at Agordat against an attacking British force with Matilda tanks. This was really a cavalry charge, and the last in Africa against tanks. After the surrender of the Italians at Amba Alagi, on 17 May 1941, Guillet continued the war with his brave Ascari until he managed to escape to Yemen, becoming a friend of the ruler who made him return to Italy in September 1943. After the war the monarchist Guillet resigned from the Republican Army and started a diplomatic career becoming Ambassador to the court of his old friend, the ruler of Yemen. He died at 101 in 2010 at Rome.
JE comments: Don't forget the Japanese empire of 1939. There are several questions raised by Eugenio Battaglia's post, but one for now: is an old-school empire that "openly" imposes its rule somehow morally superior to the subtle neo-colonialism of economic and political domination? The mainstream view is exactly the opposite, but at least a traditional empire cannot be accused of hypocrisy. Brutality, oppression, and racism yes, but not hypocrisy.
Eugenio, glad your power is back on. Could you tell us more about the tornadoes?
Tornadoes in Italy
(Eugenio Battaglia, Italy
07/29/19 3:48 AM)
The bad weather we had lately with tornadoes was not as severe as what you might see in Oklahoma, but it resulted in several deaths. A young lady in a car was killed when she was hurled for more than 150 feet. Many buildings and trees were destroyed, and a couple of other persons died too.
Once we had few weather phenomena that caused only limited damage. Now we often have serious and extreme cases.
JE comments: Severe and bizarre weather is the new normal. Tornadoes in Italy? This sounds as unusual as a blizzard in Guam. And hurricane season is just around the corner. I fear it will give us a lot to talk about in the coming months.
How did your olive grove fare in the storms, Eugenio?
Bad News for This Year's Olive Harvest
(Eugenio Battaglia, Italy
07/30/19 5:11 AM)
Here in the Savona area the weather was not so bad. We had strong winds and heavy rain for a while but no hail.
Unfortunately for the olives, it was already a very bad year due to the winter/spring weather extreme drought when rain was necessary followed by rain or continuous drizzle when sunshine was needed. Therefore we had few flowers and of these very few were pollinated. Many trees have practically no olives at all.
In 20 years I've never seen a situation like that. I wonder if it will even be worth attempting a harvest, but my wife says that even if we get only a few liters we shall try to save the few fruits that can be found.
JE comments: I am really sorry, Eugenio. Looks like we'll have to ration our rapidly dwindling supply of Olio di Battaglia 2018. This spring at WAIS HQ we planted a cherry grove (the Michigan equivalent of olives), and between the birds and the beetles, we now have a collection of expensive sticks in the ground.
Every day I'm thankful I don't have to raise my own food.
- Bad News for This Year's Olive Harvest (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 07/30/19 5:11 AM)