There we have it. The date and time for Donald Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong-un are set.
It was announced when Trump’s newly appointed secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, returned from Pyongyang with three Americans who had been imprisoned in North Korea. The summit – an outbreak of diplomacy after the two countries traded threats last summer – will occur on June 12, in Singapore. Continue reading →
In many ways the Paris Peace Conference which followed the First World War represented a moment unlike any other in history. For less than a year, the leaders of victorious nations – many of which were also crippled by the conflict – came together to determine the fate of the defeated. These statesmen also acted, for a short but intense period, as what was in effect a world government, a situation entirely without precedent (as Margaret MacMillan notes in her compelling Introduction). But more than that, the Peace Conference was also the world’s ‘court of appeal and parliament, the focus of its fears and hopes’. It represented not just the prospect of a settlement of the most cataclysmic conflict the globe had ever seen; it represented the hope of a better world. Whether the peace treaties which were issued from this conference were vicious or short sighted (questions I have attempted to answer elsewhere) is superficially enough to convict or commend the peacemakers; but when trying really to understand them – their motivations and dreams and desires – and what made them act as they did, an altogether more holistic frame of reference is required. Continue reading →
The peace treaties signed at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference were certainly short-sighted, but they were not vicious, for while they did reduce nations such as Germany and Austria to dire economic situations, and fostered political climates which were counter to the interests of peace, they did so without the desire to cripple these countries; on the contrary, as evidenced by Lloyd George’s Fontainebleau memorandum, the victors wanted their former enemies to thrive and to serve as future trading partners. In matters economic, territorial and in the manner of the treaties themselves, too, the treaties were short-sighted but not vicious. The 1920 Treaty of Sèvres, however, was both vicious and short-sighted, compelling as it did the rebellion of Ataturk and the national crises which struck Turkey in the aftermath of its signing. But this itself serves to demonstrate how the Paris peace treaties were not vicious, for they did not resemble Sèvres in severity. Continue reading →