Crimea Crisis Gives New Life to NATO

Caleb E. Smith - April 4, 2014

April 4 is the anniversary of the founding of an organization which has gained new life and significantly increased in importance in the wake of the recent crisis in Crimea. Sixty-five years ago, on April 4, 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was chartered in Washington, D.C. When WWII ended, and the nations of Western Europe faced a new threat on their borders – the Soviet Union – they realized the need for a new, more comprehensive treaty to stave off the new threat, a treaty that would span the Atlantic and bring in the United States.

The organization was created as a defensive structure against the Soviet Union, as well as a means for fostering military cooperation amongst like-minded free nations and for encouraging member nations to keep their armaments adequately built up enough to stave off any Russian aggression. NATO nations standardized military terminology and procedures in order to ease cooperation, and often held joint exercises between their militaries.

Ironically enough, the very nation the bloc was formed to defend against, asked to be admitted as a member, as well. NATO ultimately determined that this would weaken the alliance. In response to the inclusion of West Germany into NATO, in 1955, the Soviets formed the Warsaw Pact, consisting of the USSR and several allied Eastern European states that were under communist rule. The Pact was formally disbanded in 1991 at the end of the Cold War. read more »

The Myth of the Bermuda Triangle

Caleb E. Smith - March 27, 2014

As numerous nations who are often rivals continue to work together to locate wreckage from the downed Malaysian Airlines flight 370 and the families of the victims now grieve the loss of their loved ones after finally hearing an official explanation of their fate, the news shows continue to criticize the coverage of various commentators. Thanks to CNN host Don Lemon, we now know that, yes, it is “preposterous” to think that there was a black hole on the earth which may have swallowed MH370.

But while anyone who saw this coverage has heard a debunking of the idea of black holes existing on earth, they may have left still believing in another myth alluded to by the host, who had also listed the Bermuda Triangle as a possible explanation for the plane’s disappearance. Over the past couple of weeks an internet scam appearing on sites like Facebook claimed that the plane had been found in the Bermuda Triangle. While commentators have conceded that these are hoaxes, and others have pointed out that the plane disappeared in Asia – nowhere near the Bermuda Triangle – many have failed to clarify the more basic fact that the Bermuda Triangle itself is a myth.

The U.S. Board of Geographic Names does not recognize the Bermuda Triangle (an area supposedly bounded by Miami, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda), and the Navy and Coast Guard claim that bad weather and human errors explain all the flights and ships lost in that area of the sea. They claim there is no evidence that more mysterious disappearances happen there than in any other heavily traveled area of the ocean. read more »

A Long and Strange History of Lost Ships

Caleb E. Smith - March 20, 2014

It is eerie to think that those who stood at the windows of the airport in Kuala Lumpur and watched the Malaysian flight MH370 depart for Beijing would possibly be the last humans to set eyes on the plane. Yes, accidents happen – we all know that when we board a plane.

But until lately we had an unshakeable belief that with modern radar, tracking devices, search equipment, and indestructible black boxes, we could nearly instantly discover any wreckage and begin piecing together what went wrong. No one had any thought that over a week later we might still know almost nothing of what had become of the 239 passengers and crew who disappeared in the most bizarre and mind-bending aviation disaster of our times.

Yet this certainty isn't something incredibly new. For centuries, those who watched the white sails of a ship disappear over the horizon, bearing loved ones on board to distant lands they knew little of and had never seen pictures of, traveling over barely charted waters, knew not only that they might never see the people on board again, but also that they might never know what had become of them. read more »

Pax Britannica Was Good for Civilization

Samuel Chi - October 28, 2013

Over the summer, RealClearHistory Editor Samuel Chi embarked on a two-week tour of the British Isles and France. He filed a few dispatches via the transatlantic telegraph cable, which we just received now.

Part I: Guernsey - British Land Under German Boots read more »

Churchill and His Complicated Legacy

Samuel Chi - October 14, 2013

Over the summer, RealClearHistory Editor Samuel Chi embarked on a two-week tour of the British Isles and France. He filed a few dispatches via the transatlantic telegraph cable, which we just received now.

Part I: Guernsey - British Land Under German Boots read more »

Scotland: No Country for Englishmen

Samuel Chi - September 24, 2013

Over the summer, RealClearHistory Editor Samuel Chi embarked on a two-week tour of the British Isles and France. He filed a few dispatches via the transatlantic telegraph cable, which we just received now.

Part I: Guernsey - British Land Under German Boots read more »

Scapa Flow: Where Britannia Ruled the Waves

Samuel Chi - September 18, 2013

Over the summer, RealClearHistory Editor Samuel Chi embarked on a two-week tour of the British Isles and France. He filed a few dispatches via the transatlantic telegraph cable, which we just received now.

Part I: Guernsey - British Land Under German Boots read more »

Rising From Ashes of 'The Troubles'

Samuel Chi - August 21, 2013

Over the summer, RealClearHistory Editor Samuel Chi embarked on a two-week tour of the British Isles and France. He filed a few dispatches via the transatlantic telegraph cable, which we just received now.

Part I: Guernsey - British Land Under German Boots read more »

Following in RMS Titanic's Wake

Samuel Chi - August 16, 2013

Over the summer, RealClearHistory Editor Samuel Chi embarked on a two-week tour of the British Isles and France. He filed a few dispatches via the transatlantic telegraph cable, which we just received now.

Part I: Guernsey - British Land Under German Boots read more »

British Land Under German Boots

Samuel Chi - August 13, 2013

Over the summer, RealClearHistory Editor Samuel Chi embarked on a two-week tour of the British Isles and France. He filed a few dispatches via the transatlantic telegraph cable, which we just received now. Here's the first installment:

FOREST, Guernsey - Sailing on the MS Caribbean Princess, one of those monster cruise ships that carries thousands of mostly geriatric passengers from one tourist destination to the next, our first port of call was St. Peter Port, on the Channel Island of Guernsey.  read more »

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