A reader writes:
Richard Samuelson, assistant professor of history at California State University, San Bernardino, proposed in 2002 that JQ Adams' position is the antithesis of what is claimed by your previous correspondent. I quote from Samuelson's article, which should be read in full:
Europe's indifference to the fate of the Greeks shocked Adams, just as Europe's moral obtuseness in the Middle East shocks many of us today.
Adams criticized "the more than stoical apathy with which they regard the cause, for which the Greeks are contending; the more than epicurean indifference with which they witness the martyrdom of a whole people, perishing in the recovery of their religion and liberty." Adams complained that Metternich and other European leaders thought too narrowly about the war, "seeing in the Greeks only revolted subjects against a lawful sovereign." Much more was at stake, Adams claimed. Europe's statesmen misunderstood the conflict between Greece and the Ottomans because they thought that Islam was a religion like all the others they knew: they expected Muslims to compromise their beliefs in the interest of peace.
Although I do not have clear documentation, I do believe that Secretary of State Adams was probably thinking more about the ferment in Latin and South America than the Peloponnese peninsula.
I agree with you wholeheartedly on the folly of the war with Libya. That said, I can't share your enthusiasm for the early 19th century quote from John Quincy Adams.
First, in 1821, we had not power to project beyond our shores. (Denmark currently goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy, for like reasons). Second, the 20th century and the advent of standing armies and mechanized destruction wrought a world of whihc JQA could scarcely dream. One wonders if he'd still hold to his own view.
Thirdly, and most importantly, the "in search of monsters" quotation would have justified (and indeed was used by many here in attempts to procure and justify) our non-intervention in WWII, and you'd have been born not just the subject of a German monarch, but of a German empire.
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