Saturday, November 13, 2010

Feedback is Back!

Guess what, yesterday the CA result is out, today the simulation result is out as well! The marks looked okay although I’m not sure at which part of the bell curve we will be. But so far, I am quite satisfied and this is the comment from our lecturer cum tutor:

Comparatively speaking, this particular simulation was more conservative and less creative thanks to the preliminary agreement regarding the "normative" value of the 1815 settlement. Many fundamental issues, for example, were skirted without ever really being engaged and, as you all know, little on the agenda was actually settled one way or another. Having noted this, I thought that France came out of the simulation quite well, having secured its 1792 borders, managed to keep reparations off the table, and having proposed a few good original ideas. The push to keep Prussia from French borders by creating an independent buffer-state on the Rhine struck me as one of the better innovations of the entire congress, being both well-conceived and well-argued. Team France’s insistence on the observation of the Treaty of Paris (and its arguments against those who wanted to shift to the 2nd Treaty) was very deft. Since few concrete decisions were actually carried Team France cannot claim to have done significantly better than the historical France - but in most cases it did no worse. One of the few points on which Team France did slightly worse was its failure to ensure some minor corrections to the territorial boundaries of 1792 (annexation of the Comtat Venaissin, filling in a few gaps in northern Lorraine, etc). Remember – this would not have happened automatically in this case because the congress was opting to alter the historical settlement of 1815 so you needed to be explicit about such things. This is a minor point, however, and France was generally solid on the issues of immediate interest. It has to be said, however, that French policy seemed to get weaker as it moved eastward. France could, for example, have been much stronger on German questions (could you really have done no better than the Confederation of 1815? Why not be a bit more original? Not only might you have made some changes in France’s favour but you would have set a very important precedent – keeping France a Power with a say in German internal affairs). The discussion of Saxony and Poland were reasonably well-handled, but were not on the same level as that on the Rhine. In real-life terms, I thought France could have done better at defining and institutionalizing her new post-war place and identity among the Powers. Seeing the huge rift that seemed to be opening up between the Northern Courts, France needed to make a policy decision: either to “get your Talleyrand on” and make a concerted effort to bring them together with compromise solutions in the interest of European unity OR to make like Bourbons and drive the wedge further between them (in hopes that this would isolate Prussia and make France king-maker in Central Europe). Instead, France wavered and did not pursue either path to much effect. Levels of participation on Team France during the actual simulation varied and this is reflected in a range of individual grades within the team. Overall, though, Team France can feel satisfied with their achievements.

Gosh, this piece is nice. I agree with the weakness he pointed out and that’s a good way on telling us what to pay attention if such thing ever occur again. This is just superb!

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