|BuzzFlash News Analysis|
August 18, 2005
|NEWS ANALYSIS ARCHIVES|
We Know What He's Reading ...
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
The Thursday, August 18, 2005, gossip pages of The Chicago Tribune brashly boast that "We know what Bush is reading ..." The story goes:
"Heavy"? Yes. Maybe he just needs a doorstop for the bedroom door.
Seriously, though, we find it particularly interesting that George II intends to study up on Alexander II of Russia.
Alexander was, of course, a czar, an autocratic ruler in the tradition of the divine right of kings. According to a Wikipedia entry, he "seemed to be imbued with the reactionary spirit predominant in Europe at the time of his birth."
Also interesting: In the first year of his reign, Alexander signed the "Treaty of Paris" to conclude the multinational Crimean War that his father Nicholas I had started and then lost. It seems the Crimean War was about disputes over holy sites in Palestine; competition among foreign leaders for influence with the sultan of the Ottoman Empire; a European coalition seeking to contain the Russian threat to the Ottoman empire; and a British/Russian rivalry over Afghanistan.
As Wikipedia also notes: "The [Crimean] war became infamously known for military and logistical incompetence ... [What's more ...] The scandalous treatment of wounded soldiers in the desperate winter that followed was reported by war correspondents for newspapers, prompting the work of Florence Nightingale ..."
Honestly, our knowledge of these historical events is probably no deeper than Bush's, but based on this quick glance, we sure hope he reads more than just the Cliff's Notes. Alexander II's life may hold many interesting lessons.
Will George II conclude, like Wikipedia, that Alexander was "impressionable" with "no grand, original schemes of his own"?
Will he find inspiration in Alexander's post-war commercial reforms that "produced a large number of limited liability companies"?
What will he think of Alexander's decision to execute thousands of Poles and send tens of thousands to Siberia?
What will he make of Alexander's decision to build a great Gate around his city after an assassination attempt on his life?
Finally, will George II be disturbed to read that Alexander died at the hands of a nihilist assassin, not unlike today's "suicide bombers"? Here's how Wikipedia describes Alexander II's end:
That is pretty heavy. Who steered George towards this bedtime reading? That's no "My Pet Goat"!
We, the loyal opposition, flatter ourselves if we think he loses sleep worrying about how to make Cindy Sheehan go away, or, for that matter, US attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. If he's been doing his reading, George II's got scarier thoughts than that keeping him awake at night.
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS