Shadow of the Past: What the past U.S. dealings with North Korea tell us about how to deal with North Korea today

Many have claimed that the Agreed Framework, signed in 1994 by the United States and DPRK,  was a failure. Richard Perle denounced it saying it constituted ‘blackmail’ and draw from it the conclusion that North Korea cannot be trusted. As such, critics refute the idea that negotiating with North Korea in 2017 will produce a different outcome. Even less critical analyses in the papers frame the failure as collapsing after ‘accusations that Pyongyang was cheating.’  Such analysis perpetuates the misconception that talks collapsed after actions were taken by the DPRK to enrich uranium, ignoring the failure in many instances of the U.S. to live up to the agreement.

Instead, I propose that the Agreed Framework does offer valuable insights into the potentiality of negotiating with North Korea, chiefly that diplomacy can lead to peaceful developments with North Korea. Despite its presentation as a fringe view by certain commentators, this happens to be the conclusion of historians and commentators as is demonstrated below:

“Progress can be achieved, as seen in the Agreed Framework of October 1994, the Perry Process peaking in September 1999, or the Joint Statement of September 2005—each a compromise requiring the North to stop some destabilizing or threatening action in return for incentives—but such opening moves require intensive follow-up.” (Rozman, p.2)

Importantly Rozman notes that the success of diplomacy in these situations rests upon the willingness to pursue negotiations and thus commit to promises made.

Crucial Lessons To Be Drawn from 1994

The most important lesson that can be drawn from 1994 is that the United States must show religious commitment to the terms of any treaty with the North Koreans. To be clear, the United States did not renege on the ‘hard’ substantive clauses of the agreement. However, the level of commitment to the political and economic opening, as well as to the delivery of heavy fuel, has been questioned. This is to say that they missed deadlines and did not show enthusiasm in cooperating with the regime.

This assessment has been supported by those who helped negotiate and who observed the process. For instance, Robert Gallucci chief negotiator with North Korea states:

 ‘And did we meet every delivery schedule on the day? No. Did we generally meet the schedule, and were we generally providing what we said we’d provide? Yes. So in terms of the hard performance under the framework, both sides were doing it.’

Such testimony is supported by William Perry, U.S. Secretary of Defense, who in response to the question of whether the United States held to the agreement, responded ‘…Not really’

What is clear is that though both sides kept to the most important clauses there was never the push needed to make the Agreement last by putting the effort in delivering on other issues. In addition, they did not develop a long term framework for further negotiation.

Gallucci also notes that the Agreement was not fully understood and failed to meet expectations:

‘Second, with respect to the economic opening, lifting of sanctions, that’s the area in which they didn’t get the pay-off that they thought they’d get. But nothing that you could nail and say, this is what the framework says we didn’t perform. We were not as forthcoming as they might have liked. This is not what I would call, to use the current language, a “material breach.” A phrase which by the way, doesn’t apply to the framework which isn’t even a legal agreement.’

As such, even if the main part of the agreement is kept to, a future agreement must clarify the extent of U.S. concessions and then the U.S. must hold to them.

Of course, others contest this narrative, emphasizing the later reneging by North Korea in enriching uranium. Thomas Hubbard, Ambassador to South Korea makes such a case. In response to being asked as to why the Agreement failed he states:

‘Because the North Koreans apparently still have not given up their hopes and their wish to produce nuclear weapons. The very premise of the Agreed Framework was that over a period of time and through a series of steps and in exchange for some security assurances, as well as economic assistance, that North Korea would give up its nuclear weapons program. We were able to monitor their program, their original plutonium-based program at Yongbyon. And that did remain frozen.’

Before dismissing the lessons already drawn from 1994 in favor of this narrative, certain considerations must be made. The United States confronted North Korea over its enrichment of uranium in August 2002. However, the United States had not only labeled North Korea as part of the ‘axis of evil’, but it had also failed to install the Light Water Reactors and money had been slow or insufficient after the Republicans gained control of Congress in 1996.

The dishonesty of his argument is further revealed by Donald Gregg’s testimony as former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea and National Security Adviser to George Bush:

‘… I think there was some foot dragging on our part. I think that the oil shipments came late and there was a real lack of enthusiasm for the issue of getting them off the terrorist list. I wouldn’t say we reneged. But it was not implemented with any great enthusiasm.’

Lim Dong Won, South Korean Presidential Envoy to North Korea, further points out that it wasn’t in the original agreement, North Korea cheated but did not violate the Agreed Framework.

Another lesson can be drawn from this: that any future agreement must cover all bases and be specific so as to force all parties to be sincere from the beginning.

The final lesson that should be drawn from 1994 is the danger of extreme positions in the Congress. For instance, Senator McCain accused the President of treason and ‘appeasement’. This raises problems because it prevents moderate or realist political positions necessary for compromise and can even encourage brinksmanship from a president. The problem is compounded by the fact that any long term agreement, for prosperity’s sake, will require ratification as a treaty. Similar parallels can be drawn with the hostility from the G.O.P. to the JCPOA negotiated by Obama.

Future negotiations will have to tread carefully and be willing to defend compromise in the face of vitriol and rhetoric. In some ways Trump may be better suited to such a task; given his zero-sum view of the world and his celebration of military strikes (see Syria and Afghanistan) he cannot be accused of being weak.

The problems of comparison

There are of course certain problems with trying to apply these lessons. To begin with North Korea today is not the North Korea of 1994. Kim Jong-Un has already proved to be ruthless in purging 140 Party Members and his philosophy of ‘Byungjin’ requires the pursuit of nuclear weapons in order to ensure the country’s and regime’s survival. In addition, 1994 saw the North Koreans suffer a famine caused by the destruction of 1.5 million tonnes of grain; as a result, there was an urgent need for North Korea to find a means to relax economic sanctions.

Equally, in the United States Trump is no Clinton. I do not suggest Clinton was an entirely rational or diplomatic leader (see Operation Infinite Reach in 1998), though he was certainly more diplomatic and calm than Trump has so far been (note his ‘fire and fury’ threat).

Conclusion

Overall, there are reasons for hope that diplomats, statesman, and policymakers will reconsider 1994. Firstly, North Korea once again faces starvation, as brought on by drought and may need to return to the table. Secondly, Tillerson and Matits have both made clear that they wish to pursue diplomacy first. Further to, this constitutes a recognition that sanctions won’t be enough and thus other avenues must be pursued. This aligns with the conclusions of William Perry’s 1999 report, following on from the events of 1994, showing some acknowledgment of long established facts

Sources

This provides interviews with those involved in the negotiations and critics: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/kim/themes/lessons.html

Review of United States’ Policy Toward North Korea: Findings and Recommendations, Dr. William J. Perry: http://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB87/nk20.pdf

Strategic Thinking About the Korean Nuclear Crisis: Four Parties Caught between the North Korea and United States (2007), Palgrave MacMillan, Gilbert Rozman

 

T.P.

 

Blair and Iraq

In an interview with Alister Campbell for GQ, Tony Blair interview with Alister Campbell for GQ, Tony Blair admits that his government did not have a grasp of the complex sectarian ethnic and religious divides in the country’s history.

In educating Mr. Blair this blog can recommend Barr’s Setting The Desert On Fire (2006) and Hulsman’s To Begin the World Over Again: Lawrence of Arabia from Damascus to Baghdad (2009) which cover some of the failures the British encountered the last time it attempted quasi-nation building in the region. 

In recognizing that he may not have time for such reading, as I am sure he is a busy man, he can alternatively watch Friedman’s analysis on the roots of sectarianism.

The anti-populist?

In 2016 populism became the favorite word of the press, the political establishment and the middle class supporters of liberalism. Their perception of the world is based upon the premise that the liberal world order is under threat from the popular backlash against immigration and free trade. Whilst this is often not a fair characterization of the ‘populists’ demands, it carries as an accepted theory in the broadcasting world at least.

The history of populism, whether it be present in Trump’s election or the vote to leave the European Union, is varied and seems to be distilled into three categories. Firstly, the right wing, ‘chauvinistic’ populism, apparent today in Trump but, as Prof. Ferguson notes, is traced back to Daniel Kearney. Secondly, the left wing form of populism present in Corbyn and Sanders in the UK and USA: its goals differ significantly since whilst both forms tend to proclaim protectionism, left wing populism often downplays social issues particularly immigration. A final form of populism, its most extreme, is surely what has been in play in parts of Eastern Europe. The rise of the Law and Justice Party in Poland as been built upon the precepts of a corrupt, political elite imposing social liberalism on the masses. However, its methods to counter act such change are fundamentally illiberal and not conservative.

Whilst the characterization, debates about the history of populism and fortune telling are interesting, perhaps those worried about the rise of populism could turn to the history of the anti-populist. If the populist is the demagogue who gives the people what they want, then the anti-populist disagrees and not only finds larger causal issues for the majorities’ issues, but also attacks their innocence as the oppressed stakeholder. The effective anti-populist is also aware of the role of the political establishment, not only in dealing with populism but in causing it to rise in the first place. Thus the effective anti-populist must adopt pragmatism and be willing to view the world as it is, not how they would like to see it.

The example that clearly comes to mind is Cato the Younger in his speech against Caesar during the Second Catiline Conspiracy. Whilst the speech does not deal with the issue of populism, only the punishment of its conspirators, the content and principles provide an interesting guide to the stabilization of politics.

His credentials are established by his immediate attack on the citizens of Rome saying, ‘I have complained about the extravagance and greed of our citizens.’ As Sallust has previously elaborated on, much of Catiline’s initial populism comes from the greed of Romans, both upper and lower class, meaning that there is substantial disenfranchisement and anger with the political classes. This theme of the failure of virtue is one that Sallust has elaborated on in his quasi-prologue to the Catiline Conspiracy but forms an interesting filter through which to understand how unrest can happen. This is partially because it affects both the elite and the lower orders thus meaning social and political cohesion suffers.

Cato goes on to elaborate that instead of the traditional virtuous wealth the Romans have ‘private wealth’. Thus Cato provides the example of the “good” anti-populist as he criticizes the elites in society as well. This could well lead to criticism of my characterization. However, the effective anti-populist must surely deal with the legitimate failings of the elite. Firstly, so as to provide a compromise with the disenfranchised but also so as to prevent future rises in populism. Furthermore, Cato promotes his reasoning through use of reason to persuade that his policy is that which is rooted in the tradition. Citing the sacrifices Torquatus he draws attention to the fact that the elites must also change since what made Rome good once, is severely lacking in the methods of the politicians.

Cato’s speech thus provides two critiques of the current political status quo which provide important lessons to times of chaos. His contention, in my view, is that the whole of society has failed. Both the upper and lower echelons have failed morally and given into selfish vices. Secondly, he argues not only that politicians have failed but that they cannot even agree on the correct way of dealing with the populists.

Applying such lessons to the world of 2017 will be a momentous task. Primarily the contradictions inherent in pursuance of policy that would please these two aspects would make it hard for a politician or party to ever enter office. The recognition of the failure of the elites and their failure in methods of dealing with populism, thus the small justification in populist outbursts, would make one unpopular with the political class who still have a hegemony on funding and infrastructure. Secondly, the condemnation of the expectations of populists inevitably leads one to fall out with the masses.

No doubt this will be a hard task for those who control the centre of the Conservative and Labour parties in Britain. Self awareness will take some time to come. However, the outlook Cato provides on the complex issues surrounding unrest and populism is still worth adopting when considering the current situation: some woes are justified, though some expectations are false and the elites have some accountability in this. In 2017, we can at least hope for some adoption of a nuanced view of politics.

T.P.

Further reading and works cited

W. Batstone, William Sallust: Catiline’s Conspiracy Oxford University Press, 2010

Applebaum, Anne In Poland, a preview of what Trump could do to America Washington Post, Sept. 19th 2016

Ferguson, Niall Is the US having a populist moment? Boston Globe, Feb. 29th 2016

A history of Burke and the philosophy of foreign policy (Part 1)

Edmund-Burke.jpg
Edmund Burke

Can a coherent policy of international relations be attributed to Edmund Burke? This is the task that one faces when arguing that, indeed a coherent policy can be found in his writing. Burke unlike other political philosophers and politicians does not make it easy: not many can say that they supported only one of the great revolutions of the 18th Century. As Monk notes in a review, this fueled the partisan approach to understanding Burke with the ire of William Hazlitt incurred for apparent hypocrisy. Hazlitt would not be the last either: Marx described Burke only as the ‘sycophant’, crudely reducing the complex debate of Reflections into a set of excuses for cynical motives. This part of the essay will analyse Burke’s own arguments surrounding the American War of Independence with the next part showing the continuity into the French Revolution.

Though Simms noted Burke’s first attacks on the foreign policy of the day being the Partition of Poland, he gives a brief account of his arguments against the British position in America. As the reader learns from previous attacks, Burke supported a fairly traditional Whig perspective of keeping Continental alliances so as to prevent a shift in the power balance of Europe. As was apparent by the Bourbons joining forces with the American colonists, this had failed drastically. In this context we see Burke emerge to criticize the use of German mercenaries as an ‘alliance of a few traders in human flesh.’ (Simms, pg. 609) This criticism of Britain’s reliance on George the Third’s position in Germany was in line with Burke’s other writings. He noted the gratitude at realizing the cause of the Americans with reference to them only fighting the ‘professional armies of Germany’ (Hart, pg. 222), perhaps reflecting his view of the injustice in the waging of the war.

Righteous indignation was apparently sidelined by Burke who favored the reconciliation between the colonists and the English in a speech he gave to Parliament. In this speech he talked of the need to ‘recollect’ since ‘whilst we are left naked on one side, our other flank is uncovered by any alliance.’ (Simms, pg. 634) His argument for reconciliation here raises two points. Firstly, that the end of the war must be brought about for the strategic purpose of protecting the nation from a European alliance. Secondly, he is arguing that right causes must be put aside so as to protect the country from a power which ‘threatened us with ruin.’ (Simms, pg. 634) Instead of the righteous rhetoric and ideological  principals that radicals stated Burke with for the freedom of the colonies, it seems instead that his his defense of the colonies was based on a realist’s analysis of the international state of Europe and the need to preserve the country he loved.

A cursory reading of Burke seems to reveal that there is no separation between his beliefs about America and those of France. It certainly contrasts with the radical liberalism that Paine espoused, one that Walker describes as being based on a vision ‘peaceful, democratic, and egalitarian societies interacting within a cosmopolitan international order based on reason and justice.’ (Walker, pp. 52) Burke’s criticisms of the war in the colonies was not based on vision but on reality; he realized that the problems in the colonies could lead to disaster in Europe. The overlapping of policy prescriptions thus, are not indicative of a shared ideology: realists and anti-imperialists could agree that the Iraq War was a disaster though they differ on principle. The tarnishing of Burke’s reputation was unfortunate and based on an optimistic reading of his speeches about the War of Independence. However, it also serves as an important warning for future men of letters to understand the views and principles for why those views are held, before entering into polemical attacks.

T.P.

 

Bibliography 

Hampsher-Monk, Iain (2015) How to Think Like Edmund Burke: Debating the Philosopher’s Complex Legacy, Foreign Affairs (January/February edition)

Hart, Jeffrey (1967) Burke and Radical Freedom The Review of Politics , Vol. 29, No. 2 (pp. 221-238), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Hitchens, Christopher (2004) Reactionary Prophet The Atlantic, (April edition)

Simms, Brendan (2008) Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire, 1714-1783 Penguin, London

Walker, Thomas C. (2000) The Forgotten Prophet: Tom Paine’s Cosmopolitanism and International Relations. International Studies Quarterly, vol. 44, no. 1, 2000, pp. 51–72.

A.J.P Taylor and Troublemakers

Though I have not had time to update the blog in the last few weeks, I have not forgotten about this space and hopefully I should have uploaded my essay on readings of Herodotus by Christmas Day.

However, I have to admit that I have recently become distracted from Herodotus after purchasing a copy of A.J.P Taylor’s The Trouble Makers: Dissent over Foreign Policy 1792-1939 from a small bookshop in Oxford. The book is essentially a series of lectures that details the changing values of radicals and their attitude to foreign policy in general. Having just finished his lecture on Gladstone, it is interesting to read that the attitudes towards our involvement in Europe have been based around a static set of arguments.

9780140225754-uk-300.jpg T.P.

Analysis of Herodotus: Book Nine

Herodotus’ concluding book ties all loose ends and draws the main part of the conflict between the Persians and the Greeks to a close. The reader not only learns of the widening differences between the Spartans and Athenians but also how Herodotus’ own views have shaped the text.

Mardonius

The Book begins with Mardonius, Xerxes’ second in command, desperately picking up the pieces of Xerxes’ failed invasion. This should not invoke sympathy, after all, he was responsible for urging Xerxes into fighting the war in the first place and he provided little tactical or strategic advice of any worth. We are reminded of his difficult position from the last book: he needs to please his King yet he is desperate not to be overthrown or defeated. Once again, Herodotus shows that the follies of man are often of their own causing; this is an interesting view from a man who accounts for the intervention of the Gods.

Mardonius is shown to make his next move on the Greeks by invading Attica for the second time and capturing Athens. However, like much of the Persian campaign, this is a superficial move this Athens has been evacuated and much of the sacred buildings previously burned and destroyed. Herodotus does not slander Mardonius or completely criticize his every move. He does attribute the delayed destruction of the Attic area due to Mardonius’ wish to be reasonable and reach a truce with the Athenians.

What makes him a truly failed leader is his inability to exploit the Greek weakness at this point: the division between Athenians and Spartans. These two factions have always had their divisions but with the wall across the Isthmus nearly built, the Spartans would have good reason to withdraw their troops and the Athenians would have to abandon any alliance. Instead, he marched his troops into Boeotia and attempts to build a wooden fortress. In some ways he improves upon his Persian predecessors. He has local support since many Boeotians have allied themselves to his cause. However, his action of rooting himself down in enemy territory appears to be reminiscent of Darius in Book Four in Scythia and symbolic of Mardonius’ lack of confidence in his military expedition.

1.jpg
Athens today

Battle of Plataea

The actual Battle of Plataea, which takes place after Mardonius leaves his wooden fortress, is not given pages upon pages of description. The lead up to the Battle is and many significant details can be gleaned in these observations. Both sides are shown to be superstitious and religious with both using diviners and the contents of intestines to determine when the battle should be fought. In the case of Mardonius this is revealed to be strategic since he uses it as a way of not engaging with the Spartans. However, in the case of the Spartans this is significant, partly  because they make greater use of diviners throughout Thucydides’ history as well. This also allows the Athenians and Spartans to be distinguished at this point since the Athenians do not make as much use of the diviners as the Spartans.

In the course of the preparation, the Athenians win over the right to lead the right flank from the Arcadians. I report this since it is significant as it shows the growing and developing relations between the Greek nations; a theme that becomes more important in the Peloponnesian Wars. In addition, it allows the Spartans and the Athenians to work in sync and use strategy to throw Mardonius’ army as they switch flanks before battle is met. Again, the Greeks win the battle due to their superior tactics. They use similar tactics and strategies to Thermopylae by leading the Persians away from the battle and then turning on them when they least expect it.

Much of what happened before at Plataea is repeated again through Mardonius this time. He argues with his Greek slave, much like Xerxes and Demaratus, about the tactics and warfare of the Greeks. Once again, it is the failure to understand the opponent which leads to their demise and Mardonius is slain. In reinforcing what I think is Herodotus’ view about history, Mardonius previously promised the Spartans their desert for Thermopylae; the Spartans ultimately get this. Therefore, it is personal failings and arrogance which cause defeat and loss. Herodotus seems to reinforce this by arguing that the war was ultimately going to be decided by the Persians. Here we see his judgement that history is decided upon the natural forces of men, their reason and ability to understand and not the Gods. Though he qualifies this by saying that Demeter’s shrine was not encroached upon because of her intervention in the battle preventing Persians from nearing it, this suggests his view of the Gods is that they interfere only in their matters. The majority of mankind’s history, it would seem Herodotus thinks, is decided by man.

The Spartan leader Pausanias is shown to have benefited from his victory at Plataea. He is described as being enriched by his victory. It is interesting that Herodotus does not mention later allegations of treachery that Pausanias will face and he is shown with a halo above his head when Herodotus describes how he refused to mutilate Mardonius’ corpse in revenge for Leonidas. I mention this because Thucydides does relate this in Book One of his work and thus it could show a differing opinion of the Spartans. More interesting is the meal Pausanias orders the Persian cook to prepare. In comparing the Persian’s lavish food to that of the dour Spartan food he mocks the Persians for wanting to invade Sparta. The tale’s importance really goes to relate back to Cyrus’s feast he held for the Persians before they fought the Medes. The original tale is Cyrus’s way of persuading the Persians to fight back so as to gain a lavish, material wealth. However, this shows how it has been perverted by Xerxes since they are now risking their Empire on an invasion in which they would gain very little. In many ways this shows how the Persians forgot reason in the pursuit of power and status.

plataea.350x0-is-pid6939.jpg
Plataea today

Mycale 

Whilst the Plataean battle commences the Greeks sailed to Mycale to defeat the Persians. Herodotus does give more evidence of his beliefs on the divine here, stating that it must have been divine intervention which allowed the Greeks to fight in the same place at the same time. However, I think this comment is largely trivial: two events coinciding of such great importance will always attract attention and depending on how superstitious or religious one is, it will either be counted as religious or just coincidence. In the battle it self, Leotychidas, in order to secure the battle, uses Themistocles’ tactic of trying to persuade the Ionians on the shore to switch sides. It has a similar impact as it did at Artemisium. However, it is the Greek determination that wins the battle as the soldiers are described as ravaging the armies on the shore and burning the hall that others reside in to the ground.

After this event, one of the most important parts of Greek history happens: the formation of the Delian League. This happens when the Athenians, refusing to depopulate Ionia and seize colonies from Boeotian traitors, decide to ally themselves with other Ionians. This essentially ends the dominance of the Spartans over defining Ionia since the Athenians decide they are willing to be independent even if it means having to defend themselves against the Spartans. What is also puzzling is why Herodotus did not give more attention over to this event? It does seem strange as it will go on to dominate political and military events in the history to come (and in Herodotus’ own time). One could argue that he did not have the sources to comment on the events that occurred or perhaps he did not see them as relevant to the conflict between Persia and Greece. Perhaps equally as telling is how the Spartans do not decide to end the conflict with Persia by sailing to the Hellespont. Strategic explanations have been offered by Kagan, who hypothesized that this was because they had to return to Sparta to prevent either a helot or Argive attack. However, symbolically it shows the conservative retreat the Spartans would make and the Athenian’s forward approach to affairs.

Before Herodotus ends his History he recounts how Xerxes had lusted after different people’s wives and how he had tried to secure their love. This anecdote confirms certain elements of Xerxes’ character already previously known, such as indecisiveness. However, I think it serves another purpose and that it must since it is placed, rather peculiarly, after Xerxes has exited the History. His infidelity and lust after women does bear some similarity to Candaules’ behavior in Book One such as trying to arrange manipulations of women. Many times in the history, women are recounted to be the cause of issues for leaders and this now seems to show that being sexually immoral is indicative of a greater character flaw. This seems true in the present times with politicians who are caught adulterating often being fraudulent and corrupt in other ways.

Returning to the final pages of the History, Herodotus recounts how the Athenians under Xanthippus crucified Arctyates and stoned his son to death in front of him. The Athenians, we are told, then dismantled the bridge and offered the materials to their gods in temples. The ending here of the Athenian’s history is unbelievably bloody and barbaric. This goes to challenge any reader who believes Herodotus was a pusher of the ‘clash of civilizations’ esque argument. His final remarks concern Cyrus. This is the conclusive proof that his History was written with specific purposes and hypotheses in mind. Cyrus’s words seem to indicate that the Persians should be weary of expansion and invading other lands because of the nature of the people’s on them, he ultimately encourages them to remain masters of what they own. I believe Herodotus’ message extends beyond this. His history stands testament to what can be known about the history of other peoples. I think this inclusion thus is a mockery of the Persians as it offers a misunderstood reason for they could lose and be conquered as slaves.

6caae3f24f8746c937963c074d8ad9df.jpg
Xanthippus

Conclusion

Herodotus sets out in Book One to investigate the causes of why things happen and why things are the way they are. He calls his work an investigation and something to be prized throughout the ages. In Book One this may seem like pompous talk, but by Book Nine his purpose has been fully realized: the investigation is a prize in of itself as it not only presents findings but the method and reason for making those findings in the first place. Above all Herodotus documents the failure of humans to reason and to think. Too often people of all races and nations resort to base emotions of anger, jealousy and fear. Herodotus’ history shows the value that a scientific study of the world can have and that all details are relevant. For those who think Herodotus is the ‘Father of lies’ or unscientific, they are mistaken: Herodotus defines the study of history.

T.P.

 

Lecture by Dr. Dominic Sandbrook

Last week I attended Dr. Sandbrook’s lecture on the 1980s at QMUL’s Public History Unit. His discussion predominantly focused on how food provided an insight into the change of the 1980s. Interestingly, he picked up on how Thatcher symbolized the idea of material progress, and how in many ways this was un-conservative of her; a fact nobody on the left is willing to concede. Overall, he concluded that Thatcher was not important to much of the cultural change of the 1980s, with the backlog of the 1970s making it an inevitability that change had to come.

T.P.