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What unites the two countries often seems far more substantial than what divides them—an innate sense of elegance, a passion for gastronomy and proud histories of artistic and intellectual attainment. But all that, says Franco Venturini, is precisely what bedevils their relations. France and Italy both consider themselves the cultural superpower of Europe and the result is reciprocal jealousy. For Mr Venturini, who is a columnist on an Italian daily, Corriere della Sera, but French-educated and an officer of the Légion d’Honneur, the links between the two countries are “very close, yet not characterised by any great love. We’re like two cousins, each of whom thinks she is the prettier.”

https://www.economist.com/news/europe/21726068-asterix-and-caesar-macron-and-gentiloni-two-nations-needle-each-other-why-france-and?fsrc=scn/fb/te/bl/ed/whyfranceanditalycanthelpclashing

Weapons and Warfare

A period illustration of the Battle of Crécy. Anglo-Welsh longbowmen figure prominently in the foreground on the right, where they are driving away Italian mercenarycrossbowmen.

England
Our picture of arms and armour in medieval England is dominated by images of archery. The English war-bow was about 6ft (1.83m) long, made from a self stave, that is a naturally occurring stave with no gluing or laminating. This bow was used with a long draw; the largest group of the arrows found on the Mary Rose suggest a draw of about 30in (c.760mm). Modern replicas of these bows made from similar woods to those available to the medieval bowyers have a draw weight up to maybe 170lb. These bows were able to launch heavy arrows (about 2¼ oz or 64g min) up to about 270yd (c.247m) if the performance of modern replicas is any guide. We have very little…

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Weapons and Warfare

Warlord Games

All three kingdoms, England, Scotland, France, used the same types of arms and armour; it was just that each favoured the use of some particular types more than others. This came from each of three kingdoms having different types of soldier as the core of their armies. Archers, for example, were raised by English, Scottish, French, Gascon and Burgundian captains, but the most sought after were the English and Welsh. Why? They certainly had more experience and had lived in a country which had actively encouraged military archery for at least three generations by the time of Verneuil. But England and Wales were not the only countries which developed some tradition of hand bow archery. William Wallace had archers from Ettrick Forest at the Battle of Falkirk, although it was their absence rather than their presence that had an effect on the outcome of the battle. The Counts…

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But this year, far from the headlines, Germany and two of its European allies, the Czech Republic and Romania, quietly took a radical step down a path toward something that looks like an EU army while avoiding the messy politics associated with it: They announced the integration of their armed forces.

 

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has repeatedly floated the idea of an EU army, only to be met with either ridicule or awkward silence. That remains the case even as the U.K., a perennial foe of the idea, is on its way out of the union. There’s little agreement among remaining member states over what exactly such a force would look like and which capabilities national armed forces would give up as a result. And so progress has been slow going.

Germany Is Quietly Building a European Army Under Its Command

I am not buying the argument laid out by this article that the E.U. isn’t the bureaucratic impasse that it is.  While its true that some measure of stability can be obtained through the E.U. I don’t view it as a total success in burying ethnic and political divisions under the E.U. umbrella to fester. It appears he is more worried about violence that nationalism could bring and is willing to compromise with a broken trans-national organization. I too am concerned about the growing tide of nationalism. I however don’t view the suggestions that we cling on tighter to one of the main causes of nationalistic populist fervor as an adequate course of action.

https://www.commentarymagazine.com/foreign-policy/europe/dont-fear-eu/

While a nice sentiment it actually would do more good to ban hijabs than to encourage their use. It wasn’t until the rise of theocracies and decline of secular societies in West Asia that the hijab became a staple of Muslim women’s dress. The hijab for all intents and purposes is a symbol of patriarchal rule which last time I was told by the progressive left was the bane of women’s existence. People are against the symbolism of the hijab rather than Muslim women’s right to wear it. If all women had the right to choose to wear it or not then it wouldn’t be nearly the contested issue that it is. But at least they are willing to condemn the full niqab.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/austrian-president-alexander-van-der-bellen-all-women-headscarves-hijab-veils-burqa-muslim-a7707166.html

I think the election went as most political analysts expected things to turn out. Macron and Le Pen move on to the next run off round of the presidential election which takes place May 7th. I will be curious where the support for the other candidates decide to realign for the next round. I would not be surprised if the majority of the center right candidates support eventually finds its way to Macron ensuring his victory over Le Pen. I fear though this will be a hollow victory in the long term as Macron has not laid out any policies of real change. Macron does not appear to have a hard line stance on EU reform nor does he feel that domestic terror attacks are a major priority with the people. I fear these will be his eventual downfall. If Macron attempts to keep the status quo and salvage the sinking ship that is the EU then he will be dragging France down with him. My hope is that Le Pen will pull through simply because the demise of the EU will be accelerated. I don’t necessarily agree with her views on overall French society but the current trajectory of the country is not feasible. But I predict Macron to win.