If you thought the Suez crisis of 1956 was a long way away, consider that there were joint Russia-China-Iran naval exercises this year, the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1989 could be considered just a pause and the West versus the world's murkier and more dictatorial states is still a conflict in progress.
With Iraq it was a case of naivety, blind stupidity or a gamble that has been first gradually and now speedily evolving the wrong way thanks to a new player the Syrian war created called ISIS. It's an extremist pan Islamic war machine determined to create a Mid East wide caliphate. And it may force NATO back into this land...this time oil is at stake...the magic phrase for military action.
On 20 October it will be two years since the death of Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi... Cut to the present: Muammar's favourite son Saif al-Islam is about to go on trial for a string of alleged offences (including war crimes) along with 37 others. Pre-trial proceedings began in Tripoli this week. The extravagant cruelty is obviously absent but is the trial of Saif and Co at least likely to be a fair process, the respectable flip-side to the shabby killing of Saif's father? Sadly, no, not really.
The depth of intelligence and information on the chemical attacks that have been released underlines a stark contrast with the 1920s when, for instance, there were no satellites and modern communications. There is also a clear contrast in the intelligence evidence that has been assembled compared to that about Iraq a decade ago.
It sometimes seems that Iraqi Kurds have no word with the urgency of manana but it hasn't stopped Iraqi Kurdistan making tremendous strides in a few short years. The best start date for their renaissance is 2006, the first full year of the new Iraqi constitution, agreed by the people and which recognised Kurdistan as a largely autonomous region.