Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Hard World for Little Republics

It's not easy being a small nation in a world of aggressive Great Powers. Consider the experience of diplomats from the short-lived Italian republic of Lucca, who in the spring of 1814 petitioned Emperor Francis of Austria for "the restoration of their independence." Francis replied - in Italian, graciously enough - "Tutti hanno fame, anch'io voglio mangiare, emmeglio che io vi mangi che se fosse un altro," which translates as "Everyone is hungry, and I need to eat too, and it is better I should eat you than another." (Adam Zamoyski, The Rites of Peace [New York, 2007], 234.)

I'll have to remember that line the next time I play Diplomacy.

No comments: