Posts Tagged ‘france’

Satellite and Submarine Collisions–History’s Lessons

18 Feb

This week, we saw two very interesting collisions, both from a
current events standpoint, and from an historical standpoint. First,
a Russian satellite collided with an American satellite in orbit
around the Earth. Both satellites were of course destroyed by the
impact. Back on Earth, it made for an interesting news story, with
the primary public focus on the amount of space junk circling the
planet. Twenty years ago, or more, and this event would have
triggered a serious international Cold War incident between the U.S.
and the Soviet Union. It is nice how times have changed!

The second newsworthy collision occurred between nuclear
submarines belonging to the British Royal Navy and the French Navy.
This occurred under the Arctic ice cap, and mostly resulted in an
embarrassing accident between the navies of two old allies. But, if
you look at the longer history between the British and French, this
incident also speaks to the change in attitude and foreign policies
of these two European neighbors. Remember, for most of nearly 900
years, England/Great Britain and France were mortal enemies, with
almost constant warfare and diplomatic intrigue from 1066 through
1815. Tensions remained for nearly a hundred years after the fall of
Napoleon, with a formal alliance coming just a few years before World
War One. Had a naval collision occurred oh, two hundred years ago, it
likely would have been a major diplomatic and military flash

In the case of both international collisions, the animosities of
the past have given way to the casual, “Oh, that was a shame it
happened, but we can fix the problem” attitude of the 21st Century
between nations that have evolved from knee-jerk reactions. We