Two weeks ago, I argued here – I hope without any suggestion of great originality – that all crises produce the same people. That is, doves, hawks and a majority which is moderate or opportunistic according to taste. Thus it was possible to compare the present crisis over Iraq with the 1914 crisis over Serbia.
But great powers behave similarly too. More specifically, their component parts do. There is something which links today’s United States to other great powers of the not too distant past. It is the existence, within the state, of a faction which wants to spread what it sees as the state’s essence.
It is the desire to expand which is the link; not that which is expanded. Towards the end of