Raoul's China Saloon (V4.0 Beta)

The Bar Room => The BS-Wrestling Pit => Topic started by: Lotus Eater on June 18, 2007, 02:12:33 PM

Title: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: Lotus Eater on June 18, 2007, 02:12:33 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/18/world/africa/18ethiopia.html?_r=1&th=&oref=slogin&emc=th&pagewanted=all (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/18/world/africa/18ethiopia.html?_r=1&th=&oref=slogin&emc=th&pagewanted=all)

We never learn on this one do we?

Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: ericthered on June 18, 2007, 02:18:07 PM
Money and power. That's why. There is no other answer. People might try to come up with one but it will always be money and power. Guns provide both.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: Vegemite on June 18, 2007, 02:38:01 PM
Yep, we never learn...and in fifteen / twenty years the present Ethiopian government will be the new enemy of the 'West', their leader will be a wanted 'terrorist' and the 'West' will form a new axis of right to combat the new axis of evil.
But it'll keep businesses happy and politicians in power, and it'll maintain the status quo.

I hope I don't sound too cynical bibibibibi
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: ericthered on June 18, 2007, 03:14:53 PM
You forgot the millions of people who will suffer from a warfare economy, the waste of life and the undeniable fact that the more bombs that rain down on innocent people the more prospective enemies are made. Nope, we don't learn. Or, those who do learn are not the ones who are in power and can make lots of money. Too cynical...not at all...
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: Lono Tiki on June 18, 2007, 03:33:40 PM
Generally speaking, the United States only sells lower-end equipment to other nations, even allies. The Brits are kinda ticked off that they're not going to get the top version of the Joint Strike Fighter even though they contributed a chunk of funding.

The stuff we sell to other nations funds our ability to keep a technological edge.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: moon over parma on June 18, 2007, 03:46:14 PM
(http://www.wpclipart.com/money/money_bags.png)

over

(http://www.hri.ca/education/development/images/a1.gif)

That's the brutal math of truth. amamamamam
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: Lotus Eater on June 18, 2007, 05:10:12 PM
unstable areas .....



US is top purveyor on weapons sales list
Shipments grow to unstable areas

By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff  |  November 13, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The United States last year provided nearly half of the weapons sold to militaries in the developing world, as major arms sales to the most unstable regions -- many already engaged in conflict -- grew to the highest level in eight years, new US government figures show.

According to the annual assessment, the United States supplied $8.1 billion worth of weapons to developing countries in 2005 -- 45.8 percent of the total and far more than second-ranked Russia with 15 percent and Britain with a little more than 13 percent.

Arms control specialists said the figures underscore how the largely unchecked arms trade to the developing world has become a major staple of the American weapons industry, even though introducing many of the weapons risks fueling conflicts rather than aiding long-term US interests.

The report was compiled by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

"We are at a point in history where many of these sales are not essential for the self-defense of these countries and the arms being sold continue to fuel conflicts and tensions in unstable areas," said Daryl G. Kimball , executive director of the nonpartisan Arms Control Association in Washington. "It doesn't make much sense over the long term."

The United States, for instance, also signed an estimated $6.2 billion worth of new deals last year to sell attack helicopters, missiles, and other armaments to developing nations such as the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, India, Israel, Egypt, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Developing nations are designated as all those except in North America, Western Europe, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand.

In addition to weapons already delivered, new contracts for future weapons deliveries topped $44 billion last year -- the highest overall since 1998, according to the report. Nearly 70 percent of them were designated for developing nations.

Many of the US sales are justified by American officials as critical to the war on terrorism or other foreign policy goals such as checking an emerging China. One such example is the recent decision to sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

The United States has long relied on arms sales to prop up allies or enhance collective defense arrangements.

"For decades, during the height of the Cold War, providing conventional weapons to friendly states was an instrument of foreign policy utilized by the United States and its allies," according to the report, titled "Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations."

"This was equally true for the Soviet Union and its allies," the report said.

Yet there is growing evidence that the sales are increasingly more about dollars and cents for the US military-industrial complex and other major military economies. The trend began after the end of the Cold War, when American, European, Russian, and other defense industries were forced to consolidate and competition for foreign sales heated up.

"Where before the principal motivation for arms sales by foreign suppliers might have been to support a foreign policy objective, today that motivation may be based as much on economic considerations as those of foreign policy or national security policy," said the congressional report, which detailed both arms deliveries, or weapons actually delivered to customers, and arms agreements, or contracts signed for future deliveries.

Washington's desire to maintain the status quo was on display at a meeting at the United Nations on Oct. 26, when a UN panel voted to study whether a new treaty might be possible to regulate the sale of conventional arms. The United States was the only country out of 166 to vote no, though China and Russia were among a handful of countries to abstain.

With that lone dissent, the UN's Disarmament and International Security Committee approved a British proposal to draw up uniform standards that might block arms sales considered destabilizing, including those that might fuel ongoing conflicts, violate embargoes, undermine democratic institutions, or contribute to human rights abuses. A UN task force is set to make its recommendations to the General Assembly next year.

But powerful interests in the global arms industry have long stood in the way of controlling the arms flow to the developing world.

After the 1991 Persian Gulf War, for example, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- the United States, Russia, France, Britain, and China -- pledged to limit the sale of arms to the volatile Middle East, attributing the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait to the region having been awash in high-tech arsenals.

More than a decade later, those pledges have gone unfulfilled. The United States is not the only culprit.

For the first time in eight years, Russia outpaced the United States last year in the value of new arms transfer agreements reached with developing nations, according to the Congressional Research Service report, authored by Richard F. Grimmett .

Moscow inked major deals to sell missiles, warships, and other hardware to such potential trouble spots as Iran and China, according to the report, which is considered the most authoritative breakdown of the global arms trade. China also agreed to provide weapons to trouble spots such as Iran and North Korea, while major Western European suppliers, such as Britain and France, also concluded large orders with developing countries.

But it is the United States that by far remains the top purveyor of high-tech arms to areas where analysts believe the likelihood of armed conflict remains highest. A study last year by the progressive World Policy Institute found that the United States transferred weaponry to 18 of the 25 countries involved in an ongoing war.

"From Angola, Chad, and Ethiopia, to Colombia, Pakistan, and the Philippines, transfers through the two largest US arms sales programs [Foreign Military sales and Commercial Sales] to these conflict nations totaled nearly $1 billion in 2003," the report found.

Meanwhile, more than half of the countries buying US arms -- 13 of the 25 -- were defined as undemocratic by the State Department's annual Human Rights Report, including top recipients Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Uzbekistan.

The agreement last year to sell F-16s to Pakistan underscores the larger trend, according to Wade Bouse , research director at the Arms Control Association.

"F-16s with advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles are not for fighting Al Qaeda," Bouse said. "They are for fighting India."

And India, which has fought three wars with Pakistan, is considering a US offer to sell the country F-16s. "We are creating our own market by selling to both sides of regional conflicts," Bouse said.

With more such lucrative deals in the offing, there is little sign that the United States -- or other major suppliers -- wants a treaty to control the sales.

"The US would be significantly affected if there was an arms treaty that took into account human rights abuses and conflict areas," added William Hartung , director of the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute in New York. "The US government still wants to be able to do covert and semi-covert arms transfers. And a certain amount of it is simply keeping factories running in certain congressional districts."
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: Lono Tiki on June 18, 2007, 05:24:50 PM
The United Arab Emirates is a loyal ally and vital to any and all American efforts (for better or worse) in the Middle East. Kuwait is an ally with a recent invasion history and Israel is an ally under constant threat of invasion and obliteration. These three should be supported.

I'd like to see further sales in Saudi Arabia, India, and Pakistan tied to solving some of their problems (women's rights for the Saudis and the rivalry between the South Asian powers).
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: The Clan on June 18, 2007, 06:39:31 PM
Good old U. S of A blblblblbl dddddddddd bibibibibi  llllllllll llllllllll llllllllll

Not a fan.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: moon over parma on June 18, 2007, 08:14:44 PM
Good old U. S of A blblblblbl dddddddddd bibibibibi  llllllllll llllllllll llllllllll

Not a fan.

Don't hate: appreciate.

I appreciate I'll be leaving it within a year!
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: Lono Tiki on June 19, 2007, 03:26:38 AM
I gotta tell ya, I'm cool with people not liking the States... heck, there's parts that I don't like.

But putting two middle fingers up at the flag of (presumably) more than a few members here just strikes me as rude... and well outside the bounds of disagreement.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: Stil on June 19, 2007, 03:31:18 AM
It's a little different if it's your own flag though innit Tiki?
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: moon over parma on June 19, 2007, 03:59:50 AM
I gotta tell ya, I'm cool with people not liking the States... heck, there's parts that I don't like.

But putting two middle fingers up at the flag of (presumably) more than a few members here just strikes me as rude... and well outside the bounds of disagreement.

I agree. It's pretty insulting - and I am an American who isn't even fond of America. It is insulting, though.

Jingoism is obscene. Inversely, nation-bashing with malice is obscene. I don't trust flag wavers or flag burners. It's an individual's right to do both, but they disturb the shit out of me.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: Lono Tiki on June 19, 2007, 04:02:22 AM
Perhaps a bit, but still seems over the top to me. After all, flag burning is an accepted way to voice displeasure. But it's not generally very good at opening up discussion and discourse, which is part of what a forum is for. It's the same for giving the finger to the flag.

But, whatever. I hate to come off sounding so uptight and such my first few days here, but I feel how I feel and so do others. I believe this forum has the ability to allow me to ignore posters that I feel are vulgar and rude... and if not, it's easy enough to create a GreaseMonkey script to do so.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: Lotus Eater on June 19, 2007, 04:11:11 AM
I said "WE" - Britian, Russia and other western countries all sell arms to developing areas.  The U.S.A. sells most because they have the largest armaments industry, and I highlighted the section about flashpoint areas because the U.S.A. continues to arm those areas at a higher rate. 

My whole point is that we supply arms, training etc to groups within nations, then wonder why the hell in a few years time we have more flashpoints.

Clearly money talks way louder than the desire for peace, commonsense and intelligence.

I wasn't intending to point any specific fingers at any nations.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: Stil on June 19, 2007, 04:22:59 AM

But, whatever. I hate to come off sounding so uptight and such my first few days here, but I feel how I feel and so do others. I believe this forum has the ability to allow me to ignore posters that I feel are vulgar and rude... and if not, it's easy enough to create a GreaseMonkey script to do so.

You don't seem uptight to me. I don't think there is any problem in talking about what we find rude. I wish more people would talk calmly about these kind of things. many times when there is critism on forums it is either extremely aggresive or comes across as a sermon to the ignorant. You were neither.

As your grease monkey script, if you do create one, I will probably end up on your list as I tend to be rude and vulgar.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: moon over parma on June 19, 2007, 05:44:01 AM

I wasn't intending to point any specific fingers at any nations.

I didn't get the impression you were. I only agreed with with Lono Tiki in someone using a bird-flipping emoticon to a flag as being insulting. You weren't the one plying those theatrics. You presented an article and highlighted what you felt was pertinent. No snark. No insults. No deliberate nation-bashing.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: Lono Tiki on June 19, 2007, 07:48:50 AM
While I probably (got mixed feelings) disagree with Lotus Eater on this one, I think her post was good for starting a friendly discussion. As "moon over parma" pointed out, my beef was with the flipping the bird, not the article.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: Stil on June 19, 2007, 09:42:09 AM
alright everybody has made nice. Can we please go back to vulgar and rude now?
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: Lono Tiki on June 19, 2007, 09:54:12 AM
Not until the GreaseMonkey script is ready... cause I tend to really flip off the deep end on some topics. Best to be able to hide from those that'll provoke me.  wwwwwwwwww
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: George on June 19, 2007, 11:19:05 AM
I reckon it's not the "flag" that gets up people's noses, but the Government running that flag up the pole! I would never burn an Australian flag, but if john howard was on fire, I wouldn't spit on him!!!......not even  bbbbbbbbbb  on him. So don't get upset about USAnian posters hating USAnia. It's not the flag, but the wavers!
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: BamBam on June 19, 2007, 12:14:41 PM
The flag?  It is but a piece of cloth.  America was not founded on a piece of cloth.  It was founded on values and principles.  That's what I learned in grade school anyway, although revisionist historians might have another take. 

I'm an American.  I've paid my taxes.  I've even served my country in the military and risked my life in combat to help an oil rich so-called ally.  I am a patriot in the truest sense, but anyone can see that America has lost its way.  Socially, politically, and diplomatically, we have much to learn.  I have no qualm with anybody who chooses to point that out. 
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: George on June 19, 2007, 12:20:11 PM
Quote
The flag?  It is but a piece of cloth.
Disagree! It is a symbol of our country, but not necessarily a representation of our government. I will reserve the right to put shit on any politician I feel denigrates my country in any way, but I won't put shit on the symbol of my country.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: BamBam on June 19, 2007, 12:26:59 PM
That's cool.  I have no interest in desecrating the flag myself, but I couldn't care less if others do.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: Lotus Eater on June 19, 2007, 12:34:28 PM
I have no special allegiance to the flag - maybe because of being forced to salute it every morning at primary school. It was after all the result of a competition - with a prize of $(pound)25 for the winning entry.  I would rather see a flag that actually encompasses some real Australian history - including Aboriginal history.

But I also see it as reasonable protest to burn a flag to demonstrate anger towards a country's policy - including the policies of your own country.

Unfortunately, the country's leadership is also the symbol of that country, and such is representative of the wishes of the people of that country.  Unless of course you happen to belong to a totalitarian country and have no voting rights.

This is one of the reasons I am currently deeply ashamed of Australia and by extrapolation those who voted for the current leadership.

Now flipping a bird to a koala or kangaroo - NEVER! An emu might get me.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: moon over parma on June 19, 2007, 06:33:03 PM
That's cool.  I have no interest in desecrating the flag myself, but I couldn't care less if others do.

Agreed.

 I don't like it, and I think the flag waving zealots and flag burning zealots are wastes of flesh who acomplish sweet  f. a. with their actions/thugism, but they have their right(s) to do it. Personally, flags make me sick. Beliefs are not something you attach to a rag. It's action. Actions are what prove the mettle of a man. Nationalism is little more than saber-rattling, chest thumping, mouth breathing insecurity on a international level.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: The Clan on June 19, 2007, 08:12:59 PM
Wow who knew I would rub so many people in so many ways. I am proud to be an American. Just not proud for what, I feel, the majority of Americans stand for. The people don't even know the words (or commas) in the pledge of allegiance, but if you were to ask them who won American Idol they could tell you the winners for every season. The flag as a symbol of freedom has long since taken a different meaning, being marketed on t-shirts, blankets, and bikinis. The flag that was never allowed to touch the ground is now laid and sat upon or covering the nipples of a woman. I was not giving the bird to the real flag but a computer animation. Two of my brothers are former military, my father is a retired police officer, and I am an eagle scout; I just hate what America is becoming, or better...more blatantly becoming, Big Business at anyones cost.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: moon over parma on June 19, 2007, 08:28:58 PM
Big Business at anyones cost.

Corporate communism. It's disgusting. I'm with you regarding the dire state the U. S. is in, and I strongly suspect will forever be that way. It's the quasi-combo of theocratic terrorism from the religious right and corporate communism by the coffer-liners. When over 50% of Americans refute the scientific facts of evolution you know the empire's on the road to ruin. Too bad calling Ghostbusters isn't an option. I've had my fill of the corporate communism and the Bush taliban.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: Lotus Eater on June 20, 2007, 01:01:15 AM
That's cool.  I have no interest in desecrating the flag myself, but I couldn't care less if others do.

Agreed.

 I don't like it, and I think the flag waving zealots and flag burning zealots are wastes of flesh who acomplish sweet  f. a. with their actions/thugism, but they have their right(s) to do it.

The history of activism and real change is littered with symbolic acts such as flag burning, bra burning etc.  The symbolic action is a rallying call to many others to take part - it shocks and awakens far more than letters to the editor or other equally legitimate forms of protest. These forms of action - and they are actions - are reasonable protest actions.  They don't represent a "waste of flesh" unless they are followed by no other actions.  But in general those who have used these methods also employ many other forms of protest and action as well. This one often makes the news more easily.

I'm not too sure of the definition of 'corporate communism'.  I would have said more 'corporate fascism'.  Communism is (theoretically) the common ownership of capital, goods and services incorporating an equal distribution.  I don't see that occurring in any country at the moment - especially not in western or developed countries and clearly not within the corporate west! (That the communist philosophy hasn't worked to date because of the greed and ego of leaders is beside the point. ahahahahah)
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: The Clan on June 20, 2007, 01:24:50 AM
Lets all just follow Marx down with all institutions! No wait I like my family.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: moon over parma on June 20, 2007, 04:06:53 PM
There's the fairy tale communism Marx wrote about, and then there's things like Corporate communism, where hte "commune" isn't a thing created by the people, but for the people, I. e. Cuba, China, old Russia - where hte few control the many and there are only sate-approved ways of doing things. In the UNited States, beign a bogus "two party system," and where our president is not actually "elected" by the people (so long as an electoral gollege is in place the United States will never be a tru democracy, same applies to teh bogus, "two party system"). Seeing as how America's newspapers and radio stations and major broadcasters (i. e. networks) are in teh hands of 5 media companies, and seeing as how the era of the "ma and pa" stores have dwindled into oblivoin and small cities are little more than chain stores owned by a handful of conglomerates, and producs on shelves are mostly from giant companies (regional companies continue to slide into oblivion) - it  is very much akin to what existed in communist countries.

When coporations liek Haliburton have such an obvious hand in foreign and domestic policy (see hurrican Katrina for more information) then "the state" is little mroe than a coporate tool, and any way you slice it, it's closer to the real world "communism" that actually exists, as opposed to the fat German blowhard idealist's little "manifesto" could ever be, especially in thsi day and age.

Live int he U. S. for the next year, Lotus Eater, and get back to me. Yo ucan try to apply what you observe through INTERNATIONAL NEWS, but unless you're in the thick of it, watching the bizarro world go down, then you're only on the outside looking in, and that's isn't always so eye-opening. Today, the U. S. A. is becoming the U. $. $. A. (tm).
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: The Clan on June 20, 2007, 06:51:08 PM
Today, the U. S. A. is becoming the U. $. $. A. (tm).

Here, here!
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: moon over parma on June 20, 2007, 07:13:58 PM
Today, the U. S. A. is becoming the U. $. $. A. (tm).

Here, here!

Let me preface my comments by saying I mean no offense with this;  I wonder how much worse the deterioration of the United States seems when you have a family to support, than in my own situation. I have to look out for myself. I can only imagine the nightmares raising a family in America today would represent. amamamamam
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: Lotus Eater on June 21, 2007, 07:25:44 AM
There's the fairy tale communism Marx wrote about, and then there's things like Corporate communism, where hte "commune" isn't a thing created by the people, but for the people, I. e. Cuba, China, old Russia - where hte few control the many and there are only sate-approved ways of doing things.

Live int he U. S. for the next year, Lotus Eater, and get back to me. Yo ucan try to apply what you observe through INTERNATIONAL NEWS, but unless you're in the thick fo it, watching the
Quote
bizarro world
go down, then you're only on the outside looking in, and that's isn't always so eye-opening. Today, the U. S. A. is becoming the U. $. $. A. (tm).

OK - I can see where our differences in definition of 'communism' come from.  I did point out that mine was a THEORETICAL definition - your Marxist dream.  And I did point out that this wasn't operational anywhere.

The ownership/control of much by a few, supported by the labours of many is not essentially communist but feudal - so we could upset a few leaders by pointing out to them that they have essentially remodelled feudalism.  I already point out that Australia is way more socialist than China, which gives rise to much confusion.

The
Quote
bizarro world
you speak of, is echoed in Australia - just talk to Packer and Murdoch - albeit on a smaller scale.  Why do you think so many Australians are disgruntled with the way international and internal affairs are being conducted by the current government?  Why do you think so many of us were so shamed by Howard's blind following of Bush?

And from International News I can see the influence Halliburton has on international affairs - and it's current move to UAE to stop any investigation of it's affairs.  Surely I don't need to live that to analyse it? 

If we only analysed what we lived, no history would ever be written.
Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: moon over parma on June 21, 2007, 08:11:03 AM

If we only analysed what we lived, no history would ever be written.

If we analysed what we lived more often, history wouldn't be fabricated. After all, isn't that what history is? Fabrication? Embellishment? The whole thing about history books being written by "the victors?" ;)

The mosst influential media magnate in the U. S. - as I'm sure you're aware of - is Rupert Murdoch. Sadly, I don't think his dragon lady wife (who's bat shit crazy! If you haven't researched her background, then it's worth it for the comedy alone!) will be his downfall. Even if she was to bring 'em down, I shudder when I ponder how Wendy Deng and his kids view the world...

Title: Re: Why do western nations continue to arm other nations?
Post by: Lotus Eater on June 21, 2007, 08:49:11 AM
Murdoch's older children are imbued with the 'riches = power' syndrome. But they aren't so keen on wife No 3. Could be very interesting when he decides to actually take his hands off the wheel. Problems have already surfaced about the family trust. Lachlan has already gone out for a while to build his own business, Elizabeth and James are also keen to move into the running seat some day.

But - we grew up on Murdoch and his machinations.

I'm not certain we can analyse what we are living while we are living it.  Firstly, there is too much we don't know - official secret gov't files e.g. are closed for 25 years in Australia.  Secondly, I think we are easily swayed by peer pressure, group think, major injustices to ourselves or our families that are actually minor in the scheme of things. (e.g. Hitler's view of Jews led to the holocaust - if those who believed as he did wrote history, then we would have a different history again).  Thirdly, the impact of those actions, beliefs changes with passing years - worsens, ameliorates etc.

We do need to analyse what we can, BEFORE we make decisions.  We especially need to analyse as much as possible of our government's decisions, prior to voting day!  But we also have to accept that there will be much we don't know, can't know until a broader view can be taken.

Taking it down to a small example - family history.  As a child we analyse our mother's discipline of us as harsh (after all everybody else's mother lets them watch TV at night and doesn't make them learn 8 times table).  But as we grow further away from that part of our history, we know more about our mother's own difficult life, we begin to understand her desire for us to succeed, and we also see that 8 times table is of use to us in our further studies, and we gain a better understanding of what 'harsh' actually is.  So our analysis of the history that we lived at that time is faulty.

What we can do is take the anecdotal accounts and other original source material of that time and fit them into the broader scheme of history, creating, hopefully with some rigorous scholarship, a clearer view of all of the threads that contributed to that history.