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1798 And All That

The only thing wrong with his [Napoleon’s] theory was that it was 115 years ahead of its time. ~Prof. Juan Cole (at approx. 61:20) on Napoleon’s views of the Ottoman Empire during his lecture on his book, Napoleon’s Egypt

Via Antiwar Blog

If you have the time, watch the whole thing.  Prof. Cole’s video takes about an hour, but it is an interesting topic and of obvious relevance to our present predicament.  I would just add that the Egyptian campaign also follows the model of what was supposed to happen in the Fifth Crusade (capture Egypt to dominate/secure the Levant).

As an aside, it was notable, but not surprising, that our textbook this summer, Al-Kitaab, which incorporates some elements of a northern Egyptian dialect into its lessons, included 1798 in a list of famous dates.  (The list was designed to help us practice reading the eastern Arabic numeral system.) 

Update: Prof. Cole has a brief digression about other colonial episodes, saying, “The Americans could do it [dominate] in the Philippines at the estimated cost of 400,000 Filipino lives, by the way, and it tells you something about the callousness and brutality of the American power elite that they actually instanced the Philippines as a success story of American colonialism on the eve of going into Iraq.”  He isn’t referring directly to this, which I commented on here, but it is the same kind of thinking.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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