Politico: Let Theresa May read Thucydides to solve Brexit

Politico: Let Theresa May read Thucydides to solve Brexit

"It may turn out to be the best purchase they have ever made with 7,95 XNUMX"

With the Brexit adventure in full swing and time counting down to March 29, the official date for Britain's exit from the EU, Britain has much to learn from Thucydides.

"The history of ancient Greece offers useful lessons to states that embark on suicidal national adventures due to lies and refusal to listen to experts," writes Politico, commenting on the possibility of a naughty Brexit without an agreement. "It would be good to advise British Prime Minister Theresa May to tell her MPs (and officials) to read Thucydides. It may prove to be the best purchase they ever made with 7,95 XNUMX. "

The article refers to two bloody episodes in the catastrophic war between Athenians and Spartans, which divided Greece about 2.500 years ago. The campaign in Sicily and the massacre of Milia. He even mentions that it is a conflict that the British will do well to study, as it offers a useful lesson: Even at 11 o'clock, agreement can be reached. He cites Thucydides and his book as a masterpiece of political psychology and strategy, arguing that there are strong parallels with Brexit. He notes that unfortunately Thucydides is not widely read in Britain, while it is much more fashionable in America, where it is mandatory to read his book for high-ranking officials, as he is considered a guru for the rise and fall of the great powers.

Referring to the Sicilian campaign and attempting to draw parallels with Brexit-era Britain, he says that the British in 2016, like the Athenians, had little sense of the scale of the adventure they had undertaken. They had been promised that the conquest of Sicily would be easy and make them richer, while those who opposed the invasion were considered enemies of the people and non-patriots. As is well known, the campaign ended in disaster. The prisoners were found dead in smelly quarries or sold as slaves. The defeat suddenly made Athens look more vulnerable to the war with Sparta and the democratic system (temporarily) was overthrown two years later.

Politico refers to the massacre of Milia, which he considers to be the epitome of a failed negotiation, when the arrogant Athenian empire (the EU in this case) approached the island of Milos to tell the inhabitants to submit to the imperial plan and pay tribute. The courageous Brexiteers on Milos opposed the imperialists and the most famous dialogue in world diplomatic theory emerged. "The problem is that the islanders insisted on cloudy hopes for what people would like to look like instead of accepting the facts. The Athenians were surprised by the lack of realism. At its heart, the debate is a study of the wrong judgment. The negotiations proved fatal because the Milians underestimated the need of the Athenians to show strength in order to keep their empire united. "Finally, the men of Milos were slaughtered and the women and children were sold as slaves," Politico writes and broadcasts AMPE.

The good news for the British is that the Milians had repeated opportunities to submit to the greater power, but they did not. "Compromise is possible even a minute before midnight, but only if you drop your selfishness and make a realistic assessment of your own weaknesses. "Just hoping things go your way is not a strategy." In order for Britain to survive, it must acknowledge its "apple" tendency to believe that it has more cards than it has. "At times, the British speak as if they think the Athenians are in the debate," he said.