Neil Hrab: Niall Ferguson’s Napoleon Complex
[Neil Hrab is the Warren T. Brookes Journalism Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in Washington, D.C.]
“In the absence of an American strategy [regarding the turmoil in the Arab world], the probability of a worst-case scenario creeps up every day...First the [Arab] revolutions…could turn much more violent…Then they could spark a full-blown war, claiming millions of lives. Worst of all, out of that war could emerge an enemy as formidable as Napoleon’s France, Stalin’s Soviet Union, or Mao’s China.”—Neil Ferguson
...Using Napoleon to try to scare American readers into accepting his foreign policy prescriptions seems almost comical, when Americans know that Napoleon never made war against the US, and through his role in the Louisiana Purchase even made a contribution to America’s westward expansion and future greatness....
Maybe this kind of historical allusion to Napoleon works better in Ferguson’s native Scotland, or in Europe, but it’s hard to see how it would resonate much with an American audience. I think Napoleon scares Americans in 2011 about as much as Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar or Ivan the Terrible - that is, not very much at all....
comments powered by Disqus
- How Americans Feel About Religious Groups
- Tea Party support linked to educational segregation, new study shows
- History of Philly Rests Under I-95
- Agreement aims to protect North Shore wrecks from looters
- Award-Winning Filmmaker Kevin McCann to Produce the First Film about the Easter Rising in Ireland
- In new book UC Berkeley historian Waldo E. Martin, Jr. takes Black Panther Party's point of view
- Economics historian finds that real social mobility takes hundreds of years
- Historian Tim Furnish says liberals shouldn't be astonished that ISIS is stoning women to death -- "in many Muslim countries ... large majorities ... favor stoning"
- Historian turns baker?
- Timothy Garton Ash remembers an appearance by Putin at a conference in 1994 that's eye-opening