Saturday, January 19, 2013

Today -100: January 19, 1913: Of diplomatic pressure, duels, and colonies

The Great Powers have given Turkey a diplomatic note urging it to give in to every one of the Balkan League’s territorial demands and saying that if it doesn’t, they will allow the war to resume, even if it means Constantinople falling. The theory is that the Ottomans will be more willing to be seen surrendering to Germany, France, etc than to the likes of Bulgaria and Montenegro.

The German Federal Council (whatever that is) refuses to do anything to stop dueling in the army. The Reichstag had asked that any officer who dueled be cashiered; this the Council rejects out of hand because of honor and shit.

Taft, in a speech to the Ohio Society of New York, says that if the Democrats give the Philippines their independence, it would mean the end of Democratic power for at least 25 years. Which is interesting not just because Taft vastly overestimates the attachment of average Americans to their distant colonial possessions, but because it belies Taft’s insistence that his attachment to the colony (of which he used to be governor-general) is based solely on the best interests of the Filipinos. He says that the Philippines must remain a colony for at least two or three generations, and then become independent only if they wish it (in other words, what they wish doesn’t matter for the next two or three generations).

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