“The study of history is largely a waste of time because it prevents us from focusing on the challenges of the present.”
Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion expressed above. Support your point of view with
reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations, or reading."
The author asserts that the study of history detracts us from our present problems, and is thus largely an exercise in time wasting. While it is true that our attention and resources should be focused on the problems of now, nevertheless there are much to learn from our history. Therefore, I disagree with the strong stance of the author.
History repeats. Much of history is littered with amazing stories and lessons from which our present society has much to learn. The success of UN stems largely from the failures of the League of Nations. Ronald Reagan, probably aware of the doomed appeasement policy to Adolf Hitler, refused to stand down to the Soviet Union's arms race in the 1980s, ultimately culminating in the arms treaty pact signed between the two superpowers.
On the other hand, politicians who refuse to heed history's lessons too often find themselves walking down the slippery path of failure and doom. Geroge Bush has been forewarned of the problems caused by an invasion of Iraq by Vietnam war veterans who knew better. Despite international condemnation and warnings of another Vietnam in the making, he went ahead, and got the US stuck in a largely unsuccessful and costly operation. Ethnic cleansing in history have always been shown to be a disastrous policy, yet in our modern society, we are still forced to witness the horrors of mass slaughter based on racial prejudice from Serbia to Rwanda.
In conclusion, the study of history is still largely relevant in our modern world. A leader who is astute and wise would do well to listen to history lessons and forge policies with history in mind. Otherwise he risks committing the mistakes of his forefathers. For the sake of progress, history is still an important part of our modern world.
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