The Philippines – Crucible of Empire

The Philippines has for centuries sat at the crossroads of foreign empires, serving as the gateway to the Pacific for the Moro, Spanish, American, and Japanese empires. As President Duterte considers aligning his country with the Chinese while leaving the relationship open to the Americans in the 21st century, we look back at the forces…

Yugoslavia – Origins and Breakup

The Yugoslavic people have a history stretching back centuries to the Ottoman Empire, but the concept of a “Southern Slav” national identity was first developed in the 20th century while within Austro-Hungarian Empire. Yugoslavia came into existence in 1918 after the end of WWI as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes as a reward…

The Iranian Revolution

After nearly two years of demonstrations against the Shah and his subsequent exile, on April 1st 1979 Iran elected by referendum Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as the Supreme Leader of a new Islamic republic, thus ending the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who had held power since WWII. To Western eyes, the Iranian Revolution may…

Collapse of the Soviet Union

Although the Soviet productive apparatus was becoming ossified by the 1970s, and aggregate economic output stagnating or declining by the early 1980s, the USSR wasn’t inherently doomed as a political entity, necessarily. Cuba and North Korea, which haven’t liberalized much, show this. Massive cuts to foreign aid and military expenditure, to free up resources, combined…