‘Memory Wars’ and National Apologies
National apologies are one of the major diplomatic innovations of recent years and are meant to reduce feelings of victimisation and restore self-respect. They are not entirely rational and sometimes historically inaccurate but they can build confidence both between nations and between national governments and disadvantaged minorities. They have been made by the English-speaking countries to their indigenous minorities but repeated demands for apologies are also used as weapons between the East Asian nations exacerbating tensions between them. To be diplomatically effective apologies need to be undisputed otherwise they will do more harm than good.