World roundup: August 2 2023
Stories from Niger, France, Brazil, and elsewhere
TODAY IN HISTORY
August 2, 338 BCE (or thereabouts): Philip II of Macedon defeats a Greek army organized by Thebes and Athens at the Battle of Chaeronea. The outcome effectively ended any chance of Greek resistance to a Macedonian takeover. After harshly punishing Thebes, Philip engaged in heavy diplomacy to win over Athens and Corinth and isolate Sparta. He managed to unite most of the Greek city-states behind him in what historians call the “League of Corinth,” which was one of the key preliminary steps in his grand plan to invade the Persian Empire. Philip didn’t live long enough to lead that campaign, but his son Alexander picked up where dad left off.
August 2, 216 BCE (or thereabouts): At the Battle of Cannae in southeastern Italy, the Carthaginian general Hannibal annihilates a much larger Roman army in what has often been regarded as the closest thing to a total military victory in history. Hannibal’s cavalry outflanked and completely encircled the Roman infantry in a pincer movement, then attacked from all sides. Of the 86,000 or so Roman soldiers who began the battle (to about 50,000 for Hannibal), Livy says that the Carthaginians killed 67,500 and that’s the low estimate. Polybius cites a death toll of over 85,000.
August 2, 1964: The USS Maddox, in North Vietnamese territorial waters, exchanges fire with several North Vietnamese torpedo boats. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, as it came to be known, along with a second alleged engagement two nights later that turned out to be fictional, kicked off the Vietnam War.
August 2, 1990: Iraq invades Kuwait, sparking a US military buildup that would eventually lead to the Gulf War and, as far as that conflict’s fans are concerned, nothing else whatsoever.
In today’s global news:
Worldometer is tracking COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
The New York Times is tracking global vaccine distribution.
According to Reuters, a team of US “observers” is inspecting border crossing points in Israel this week to see how authorities are treating Palestinian-Americans who attempt to enter the country. The Israeli government changed its border policies to allow entry for Palestinian-Americans in order to qualify for participation in the US government’s visa waiver program. Final decision on Israel’s entry into that program is in theory contingent on how it implements those new policies over an initial six week period that began on July 20.