Tag Archives: Joel Rayburn

America Turn-over

In America, a new presidential administration means new faces. Some of them are immediately visible; others take a while to make themselves known. With a new press secretary, Jen Psaki, taking questions with a frequency and a reserved, non-adversarial professionalism not exhibited by her predecessors, the appearances are clear: it is all change, and back to normal.

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History in Policy

‘Public history’ is something of a misnomer. The degree to which history which can influence policy is ‘public’ is a difficult question. E. H. Carr writes in his What Is History? that, when he was working in a junior capacity at the Paris peace conference in 1919, all the diplomats and their staffs took extra care to empty their wastepaper baskets. They were thinking of the discussions surrounding the peace treaty after Napoleon’s defeat in 1815, and the history they used to inform their actions was a titbit of information about that time: that nefarious negotiators spied on their opposite numbers’ plans by going through their waste paper. Carr uses this to illustrate the fallacy of thinking one can ultimately ‘learn from history’ in a way which is total and all-encompassing. Each moment in time presents new and unique challenges. One cannot rely simply on knowing the past to know the present, or indeed to predict the future. Continue reading