Friday, April 13, 2007

Andrew Roberts a revisionist colonialist?

A criticism of Andrew Roberts, British historian and author of the next text A History of the English Speaking Peoples since 1900 from The New Republic.

Roberts' book is meant to be a sequel to Winston Churchill's great History of the English Speaking Peoples to 1900. Roberts merges the Anglo-American colonial history into inter-weaved narrative.

Roberts has been embraced by the White House, National Review. I've heard him on HughHewitt.

Roberts spoke at a neo-apartheid group in South Africa, founded by a Fascist group who thinks of themselves as a shadow government wanting to re-assert colonial rule in Southern Africa. The text, so Johann Hari argues, is a piece of colonialist propaganda and historical revisionism.

From the article:
Much of Roberts's advice to Bush is based on similarly skewed and surreal misreadings of history. For example, he has advised Bush to adopt "the whole idea of mass internment," saying: "I think it is the way the administration of Iraq should go." At his lunch with Bush, according to economist Irwin Stelzer, who was present, Roberts cited Ireland as a place where internment worked. Every major historian of Ireland--across the political spectrum--says the opposite is the case. When internment was introduced in Northern Ireland in 1971, violence vastly increased--and it only fell when it was abolished.
It is one thing to be a cold calculating realist and say that such force is necessary like a Niall Ferguson. It is another to talk, in pro/cons of the history of the situation (which if read in another mindset, one could likely get from Roberts. I learned interesting things listening to him on Hewitt). Still it is quite another to apologize and romanticize the colonial period and call for genocide today. This is a scary piece in the increasingly isolated mindset of this administration.

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