Sounds like there's fireworks, and lots of people are having a good time in small groups of friends and stuff. Hmm.
Machiavelli had a bit of amusing criticism for the state of the militaries of Italy of his time, while comparing traits of militaries (Discourses - Value of Skirmishes): "The third type of army is one in which there exists neither a natural ardour, nor yet discipline to supplement it; as is the case with Italian armies in our day, which are quite useless and never win unless they come across an army which happens for some reason to run away."
I just wrapped up rereading Machiavelli's Discourses - left with an impression that M would be a good ruler of a nation in the classic sense, and I wonder if the leaders of Fascist movements in the early-mid 1900s (Germany, Italy, Greece) that claimed to be inspired by his works ever read more than The Prince. M's notions of acceptable behaviour were different than modern norms, and certainly unacceptable to the (often unrealistic) norms of American political liberalism (which mark as taboo many actions that are necessary to establish/maintain states), but his values mark him more as being suitable to be a strong, forceful statesman who would use force as needed to get things done than what the world saw in the early/mid-1900s.
Current historical fascination: countries greatly shaped by african-americans who emigrated after Emancipation rather than stayed. Haiti and Liberia seem to be the most prominent examples. I think it's unfortunate that people were being organised to leave (ethnically pure or devoted nations bother me on principle), but what was done is fascinating, particularly with Liberia. Other related interesting things:
- Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (current president of Liberia) looks like an interesting political figure
- American Theocratic voice Pat Robertson defrauded donors to his televangelism-led relief program for Rwanda, using their donations to send diamond-mining equipment to mines that he acquired mining rights to from a former dictator of Liberia. This seems to be just one in a long line of things that make me think of Robertson as being one direction of thought that's part of what's wrong with the USA.
Feeling pretty bitter about everything.