The BBC reports Europeans are quite alarmed (“a nightmare for Nato’s European countries”) because Donald Trump has stated that if elected president he may withdraw a guarantee of protection to Nato countries that do not “fulfill their obligation” to the US.
The downing of a Russian jet by a Turkish F-16 fighter plane is a distracting development for the war on ISIS, as well as an event that could have ominous repercussions for the NATO alliance. Turkey says the Russian plane, a Su-24 aircraft, was shot down while violating Turkish airspace. The Russians deny this and affirm that their jet did not stray from Syrian airspace.
Genocide is defined as the systematic extermination of a racial, ethnic, religious, or national group by government. Democide was defined by Professor R.J. Rummel as the political killing of people by their own government. The terms though are related by infamy and cruelty, and at times are difficult to differentiate. The Nazis, for example, conducted genocide against the Jews (who had lost their German citizenship), as well as democide against their own disabled German citizens (“useless eaters”) via the Nazi euthanasia programs before the war.
Just as I was beginning to warm up to Vladimir Putin and the new emerging "democracy" in the Russian Federation (which like a phoenix rose out of the ashes of the communist Soviet Union), the Russian President and his minions in the Ukraine invade the Crimean peninsula and threaten to foment a second cold war! Who is Putin trying to imitate?
Suleiman the Magnificent — Scourge of Heaven by Antony Bridge is an engaging, but not exhaustive, narrative of the major events in the life and times of the great Ottoman Sultan Suleiman (r. 1520-1566). I was not disappointed in this book, which reads like a charming storybook. The tome is at times suspenseful, always informative, and frequently suitably illustrated, including excellent illustrative maps.
The Galleys at Lepanto by Jack Beeching (1982) is a marvelous book, so well researched and mellifluously narrated as to read almost as a fairy tale or an epic romance of yore, elegantly scribed in poetic prose. Foremost among the knights-errant in this tale of chivalry is Don John of Austria, illegitimate son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and half-brother of the stern King Philip II of Spain. The characters come to life as they are vividly described in the enthralling narrative, thus once begun, the tome is very difficult to put down.
I apologize in advance to those here who have already assiduously learned these Medieval history lessons and find them redundant in their intellectual ordnance. If you already know about the Inquisition, the Crusades — and their historic relationship to Western civilization, please skip this post!