This should sound immediately familiar to anyone living around Washington, DC, this year:
"Court intriques intensified, leading to a near total paralysis of policy. Frontier policy became a political football passed between court factions, each mouthing angry patriotic platitudes, each vying to win favour with unpredictable emperors who sat, cloistered in the Forbidden City, angrily nuturing a futile sense of superiority over the foriegners snapping at the frontier.
Against this backdrop of racist arrogance, military incompetence and murderous factionalism, only one course of action was beginning to look both defensively viable and psychologically satisfying: wall-building."1
The year was 1457 and the place was Ming China. These days we build our own walls. Sadly, they are likely to do us as much good as they did the Ming. That is, of course, none at all.
1. Juia Lovell, The Great Wall; China Against the World 1000 B.C. - A.D. 2000, Grove Press, New York, 2006, pp. 201
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