I’m currently reading Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. Philip IV, arguing in defense of the Hapsburg Empire spending itself into financial ruin to suppress insurrection in the distant Netherlands, said the following:
“Although the war which we have fought in the Netherlands has exhausted our treasury and forced us into those debts that we have incurred, it has also diverted our enemies in those parts so that, had we not done so, it is certain that we would have had war in Spain or somewhere nearer.”
They didn’t call it the “Eighty Years War” for nothing. Sounds like a familiar argument, doesn’t it?