Rembrandt’s Elephant

I was excited to find an article yesterday about an elephant named Hansken that Rembrandt painted. I had previously read that there was an elephant at the Congress of Westphalia, possibly brought for or with Madame de Longueville when she came to Münster in 1646. She was beautiful, wealthy, and far more important socially than …

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NATO Expansion

I am not an expert on modern international relations, but I know something about how states act and I have an interest in the subject insofar as it can affect my own life. I have been sceptical of NATO expansion since back in the 1990’s, when I was at Yale and NATO’s expansion was a …

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Treaty of Istanbul?

As you may have read, negotiations between Russia and Ukraine are being carried out in person in Istanbul. This seems like a big win for Turkey’s prestige, and specifically for Recep Erdogan. It also seems like the negotiations are progressing, at least to some extent. Russia is pulling back from around Kiev and Chernigov, and …

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Audio for Westphalia

If you want to get in the mood to study the Peace of Westphalia, there is nothing better than some period music. I have listed a couple of albums on my a/v page, and I came across another one recently that I forgot I had: “Un Concert Pour Mazarin.” It consists of Italian music allegedly …

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More Details on Peace Talks

Izvestiya has a very interesting article this evening on Russia’s peace talks with Ukraine. The first thing I noticed was that the idea of a national referendum on peace came, not from Russia, but from Zelensky. Elsewhere the article quotes Zelensky as saying Ukraine “wouldn’t give up a foot of its territory,” which sounds brave …

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Plan for Peace?

This comes with the usual aveat that I am not an expert, by any means, on the region. However, it is hard to get good news about it, and I have been looking for clues in Izvestiya for what Putin might be willing to settle for. Today’s lead article gives a look at the state …

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War Criminals

One thing the Peace of Wespthalia did not have to deal with was war crime or war criminals. This is ironic considering that the Thirty Years’ War is a byword for the nastiest possible mistreatment of civilians. To really qualify as a war crime, though, the act needs to be committed as a matter of …

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