Neil Hrab: Niall Ferguson’s Napoleon Complex
[Neil Hrab is the Warren T. Brookes Journalism Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in Washington, D.C.]
“In the absence of an American strategy [regarding the turmoil in the Arab world], the probability of a worst-case scenario creeps up every day...First the [Arab] revolutions…could turn much more violent…Then they could spark a full-blown war, claiming millions of lives. Worst of all, out of that war could emerge an enemy as formidable as Napoleon’s France, Stalin’s Soviet Union, or Mao’s China.”—Neil Ferguson
...Using Napoleon to try to scare American readers into accepting his foreign policy prescriptions seems almost comical, when Americans know that Napoleon never made war against the US, and through his role in the Louisiana Purchase even made a contribution to America’s westward expansion and future greatness....
Maybe this kind of historical allusion to Napoleon works better in Ferguson’s native Scotland, or in Europe, but it’s hard to see how it would resonate much with an American audience. I think Napoleon scares Americans in 2011 about as much as Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar or Ivan the Terrible - that is, not very much at all....
comments powered by Disqus
- U.S. Textbook Skews History, Prime Minister of Japan Says
- Recalling a Film From the Liberation of the Camps
- Skull Fossil Offers New Clues on Human Journey From Africa
- Are crude conspiracies right? Research shows nations really do go to war over oil
- Famed SC civil rights protesters have convictions erased
- Columbia University professors Eric Foner, Alan Brinkley, and Alice Kessler-Harris to retire
- A powerhouse appropriations subcommittee is now headed by a historian: Republican Rep. Tom Cole (OK)
- Slavic scholars divided over a scholarship sponsored (and withdrawn) by Stephen F. Cohen
- Claire Strom to Step Down as Editor of Agricultural History
- Joan Peters’s legacy assessed by one of her fiercest critics, Norman Finkelstein