“We have a sick man on our hands, a man gravely ill, it will be a great misfortune if one of these days he slips through our hands, especially before the necessary arrangements are made.”

The quote is attributed to Russian Tsar Nicholas I, in diplomatic messages leading up to the Crimean War of 1853-1956. The backdrop was the apparent economic and political decline of the Ottoman Empire. The “sick man” analogy was valid, but it took 65 more years for the empire to dissolve, and only under the cataclysmic weight of World War 1. Its remaining territories later reshaped into a national republic, Turkey...

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