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Is world history really doomed to repeat itself?

Published 17/06/2015

THERE is a belief out there that history moves in circles. We know all too well what it is like.

The Troubles were, for 30 years, just a retelling of the conflict that had plagued this land for 300 years. What started on the banks of the Boyne in 1690 ended with the Good Friday Agreement. But trouble rumbles on. Maybe we haven't seen the last of the fighting.

President Obama makes another increase in the number of troops in Iraq to help locals fight Isil.

I see the parallels between this conflict and another 50 years ago in a jungle in south-east Asia.

Russia, too, is experiencing the painful cycle of history. Its obsession with what they call "the Near Abroad" leads them into the same wars over the same territory again and again.

Which brings me to Greece. The woes of this State are nothing new. Neither are the doom-ridden messages that Greece, if mismanaged, will spell disaster for Europe.

The fact is that, 100 years ago, the Balkans was just as dangerous to Europe with its instability.

What is to be learned from history? At worst, it can stop us trying anything new. At best, it's a predictor of future problems. Let's hope we can lean to the latter.

COLIN SMITH

By email

Belfast Telegraph

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