Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2012 March 16

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March 16[edit]

USSR's occupations in WW2[edit]

This has always bothered me after I learned about the Soviet Union's part in World War II. As most may know, the USSR allied Nazi Germany, invaded Poland with them, occupied the Baltic nations, annexed Moldova, and then when Germany attacked them they became apart of the Allies. They even helped the Allies defeat the Nazis. But why were the Soviets justified for keeping those lands they invaded, annexed and killed for? If the Allies were the good guys why didn't the USSR return the lands they took? Thanks. 64.229.204.143 (talk) 02:34, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

The short answer is that the Allies weren't necessarily 'good guys', though the general opinion seems to be that on average they were better than the 'bad guys'. For the long answer, you'll have to read up on the history of the period - though what conclusions you reach will depend on who's version of history you read, and on your own political perspectives. There aren't easy answers to questions like this - in fact there probably aren't answers at all. You might find that reading up on the Yalta conference and similar events gives an indication of what the Allies were intending - or at least, of what they said they were intending. Much of what was agreed was never implemented. AndyTheGrump (talk) 02:46, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
They weren't "given" Eastern Europe, they simply refused to leave. The only way to get them out would have been war, using nuclear weapons. The US wasn't willing to do this when they had the chance, and once the Soviet Union had nuclear weapons of it's own, this was no longer an option. StuRat (talk) 02:57, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
That has to be the most facile oversimplification of the question possible - and how exactly would 'liberating' eastern Europe by killing its inhabitants have made the US the 'good guys'? AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:02, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
The nukes would have been dropped on the Soviet Union until they agreed to pull out of Europe. And killing millions of people would have made the US look very bad, this is why they weren't willing to do it. StuRat (talk) 03:06, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
How exactly could the Soviet Union 'pull out of Europe? Much of it was in Europe - look at an atlas. As for whether the Soviet Union could be persuaded to give up territory by force, that had already been tried once, and it didn't work out too well for the bloke who tried. The Western allies were never in a position to take over the Soviet Union militarily, and their populations (and economies) would never have supported them if they had tried. And in response to your earlier comments regading the Soviets not being 'given' territory, Churchill in particular seems to have seen the negotiations at Yalta, Potsdam etc as quite explicitly about dividing up the spoils of victory. AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:15, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Evidence. A link to Churchill's "naughty document": [1] AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:19, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
That's pulling out of all of Europe except for the portion which was actually the Soviet Union. Churchill recognized the reality that once in, they wouldn't leave voluntarily. That's not the same as giving it away. And while the US had nukes and the Soviet Union didn't, the US did have the ability, just not the will. StuRat (talk) 03:23, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
The ability to do what? To kill a large number of Soviet civilians, certainly. To actually render the USSR incapable of fighting, maybe not. As for America not having 'the will', given subsequent events (not least the collapse of the Soviet Union), I suspect that we should be grateful they didn't. And no, Churchill wasn't just 'recognizing reality', he was negotiating about what 'reality' was going to be. Or at least attempting to. AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:30, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
When you can't stop the inevitable, you negotiate to get what few concession you can get. That's pragmatism in action. And even dictators must bow to public opinion when it's strong enough. Stalin's ability to maintain the occupation of Europe wouldn't work if the army refused. And yes, it did work out well in the end, except for the couple of lost generations in Eastern Europe. StuRat (talk) 03:35, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
If something is 'inevitable', negotiations are irrelevant. But yes, you can call it 'pragmatism' if you like. Stalin would have liked to take over Greece. In terms of popular support, and in terms of having the means to do this (the communist dominated Greek resistance), he was probably in a position to do so. He seems to have preferred to be 'pragmatic' and concede Greece to 'the West' - which resulted in a particularly bloody civil war. AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:46, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
That, short of war, the Soviet Union would soon dominate Easter Europe was inevitable, but the actual boundaries were not (as in Greece), that's what the negotiations were about. StuRat (talk) 04:04, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, and short of war, that the United States would dominate Western Europe was likewise inevitable. And the negotiations were in part about whether Greece was in the 'East' or the 'West', regardless of the opinions of Greek citizens. I don't see much evidence of 'good guys' here. Just the usual spectacle of victors dividing up the spoils:

Caricature gillray plumpudding.jpg AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:21, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Life in US-dominated western Europe was just about intolerable. For example, people were always trying to escape from West Berlin into East Berlin. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:53, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. To equate the two situations is absurd. Western Europe had free elections, and the subsequent governments were of their own choosing, while Eastern Europe had puppet governments and sham elections, backed up by Soviet troops whenever anyone challenged the results, as in the Prague Spring, or even preemptively, as in the Katyn Massacre. This is true, with a few exceptions, like Spain in Western Europe which, even though friendly with the Nazis, remaining officially neutral and thus was not under Allied control post-WW2, and Romania, which while just as repressive as other Eastern European govs, did manage a degree of autonomy from the Soviet Union. StuRat (talk) 13:14, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict)"The enemy of my enemy is my friend..." is how the saying goes, and that applies for exactly as long as we share an enemy. The Soviets were never very "friendly" with the UK or the U.S. either before or after World War II. Indeed, they were only forced into the war against Germany because Germany renegged on the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. In simple terms, the Soviets didn't fight the Germans to make the world safe for democracy, or to rid the world of a totalitarian scourge. They fought the Germans because the Germans attacked them first; they were defending themselves. Coordination with the other allies was always tenuous at best; there's no indication Churchill and Roosevelt trusted Stalin in any way. The Soviet Union only joined the war against Japan at the literal last second; they fought no significant battles and only declared war against Japan so they could reap the spoils of the "victors" side, see Sakhalin_Island#Second_World_War. The Soviets and the Western Democracies went back to being rivals almost as soon as the war ended. --Jayron32 03:03, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I must disagree on one point. Stalin and Roosevelt actually had a mostly trusting relationship with one another. Stalin and Churchill, not so much. Roosevelt believed that Stalin could be reasoned with, worked with as a respected equal, trusted to keep his word, etc. (Not completely, of course, but I Roosevelt didn't even trust Churchill unconditionally.) Now whether this was because Roosevelt was a fool or because he had a more subtle diplomatic touch, historians disagree. But Truman had no diplomatic touch, no subtlety, and no ability to trust or be trusted by Stalin. Roosevelt+Stalin was a very different situation than Truman+Stalin. It's possible that had Roosevelt been the one at Potsdam and VJ Day, that things might have turned out a bit different in the Cold War (I have my doubts, because I think the limiting factor here is Stalin, not the Americans), but of course, one can never know. --Mr.98 (talk) 13:16, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
That's a good point, but two things. First, Truman inherited a very different post-war (and mostly post-bomb) diplomatic relationship with Russia than Roosevelt did, and second, turning the Soviet Union into an allied power was possibly one of Hitler's worst (of many) strategic blunders. There are accounts of Stalin being almost personally betrayed after Hitler declared war on the USSR. That seemed to be a reoccuring theme of Hitler's... declaring war for no strategic reason on countries that would come back to crush him (Germany declared war on the U.S. within days after Pearl Harbor, which made it easy for Roosevelt to finally be involved in the war in Europe). Shadowjams (talk) 09:01, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Without disputing much else of what you say, it's worth noting that the western Allies pressed hard at the Yalta conference for the Soviets to agree to enter the war against Japan once Germany had been defeated. Whether they would have done this anyway is one of these questions that can never be answered... AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:24, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I think the idea was for them to enter the war against Japan immediately after Germany fell, not right before Japan surrendered. StuRat (talk) 03:32, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I think you'll find that the Soviet Union entered the war as agreed at Yalta - within 90 days of the final defeat of Germany. I think you'll also find that many historians consider the entry of the Soviet Union into the war as being a significant factor leading to the Japanese surrender. AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:51, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
" The Soviet Union... fought no significant battles" - well the Soviet invasion of Manchuria threw a force of > 1,500,000 men and 5,000 tanks against a Japanese army of > 600,000 and routed them in 11 days (in contrast, the Allied assault at the Normandy landings totalled 156,000 men). To quote our article: "The rapid defeat of Japan's Kwantung Army was a very significant factor in the Japanese surrender and the end of World War II" The article also agrees with AndyTheGrump above; "The invasion began on August 9, 1945, exactly three months after the German surrender on May 8 (May 9, 0:43 Moscow time)". Alansplodge (talk) 11:26, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
They sure waited until the last possible minute, though. StuRat (talk) 13:07, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't think that earlier Soviet intervention would have done us any favours. The Allies were certainly worried that the Soviets might mount an invasion of Hokkaido before they could get their act together. The Soviets did invade Sakhalin and have never got around to giving it back. Apparently all the Japanese people were chucked out in 1949. The prospect of it ever being returned seems very remote. Alansplodge (talk) 13:32, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) It takes time build up a force of a million and a half soldiers on the far side of Russia. Anyway, the US and UK weren't exactly encouraging them by that point — any significant participation in the invasion of Japan would mean sharing more territory with the Soviets, and by then the US was convinced they could win in Japan without their help. --Mr.98 (talk) 13:31, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
First of all, "Allies of World War II" are "Антигитлеровская коалиция" in Russian - literally "Anti-Hitler Coalition". Use of such name might make things a little easier to understand... Also, it might make sense to see three sides - Axis, Western Allies and Soviet Union - instead of two. For example, computer game Hearts of Iron divides the states in a similar way. We also have an article concerning evaluation of the position of Western Allies with respect of Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe - "Western betrayal". --Martynas Patasius (talk) 20:47, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
There was also a significant difference between the US and the UK/France, in that the US wasn't interested in helping those two reestablish/maintain their empires post-WW2. StuRat (talk) 22:00, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Relevant articles: Operation Barbarossa (close to 26 million Soviet citizens were killed in later years, including 20 million civilians in then-German-invaded western Russia), Allied war crimes during World War II and the much-later Sino-Soviet split. Also, were there actually many people trying to flee West Germany (W. Berlin) into East Germany during the 1960's? ~AH1 (discuss!) 19:40, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Do you have a source on that last point ? I imagine people in the West might have wanted to go East if the rest of their family was there, but couldn't they just walk across ? Who actually would prevent movement in that direction ? StuRat (talk) 02:37, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
@AH1: No, Beseball Bugs was just joking in his comment above. There have been some (few) people moving from West Germany to the East during the Cold War (e.g. Angela Merkel's parents), but there were no restrictions of movement in that direction, so no-one was forced to "flee".--Roentgenium111 (talk) 22:35, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
Klaus: "So many candidates in our elections, it's so confusing !"
Gretta: "Ya, so why don't we escape to East Germany, where the government decides who we should vote for ?" StuRat (talk) 22:43, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Collections[edit]

I read somewhere that if you own three of something, you're well on your way to having a collection. But, really, if you own just two of something, don't you already have a collection, as otherwise why have two of the same thing?

Also, I would submit that if you own something already, that is already a collection. It is not difficult to imagine a museum saying "This piece is our whole Chinese collection."

Going farther, if the museum is just about to acquire the piece, aren't they "well on their way to having a collection"?

What if they're only considering acquiring it, but have good reasons to do so? So, really, if you have good reasons to get something, aren't you well on your way to having a collection of that?

Is this where we draw the line? But what if there aren't really any good reasons to get it, AND you're not about to, either. Certainly you're not on your way to having a collection then, right? But, what if someone comes and convinces you, in SPITE of the fact that there aren't really good reasons for you to have it.

So can't we really say, if you could be convinced - verily, tricked - into possibly considering getting something, aren't you on your way to having a collection of it?

Also, what if the person can't convince or trick you because you're simply unreasonable, and you don't see the value. Couldn't you become more reasonable in the future? Isn't a better question "Could a reasonable man be convinced to or tricked into considering getting one of these things?"

Is this where we draw the line? I submit that it is. But I would like philosophical references or insight from this desk. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.99.254.208 (talk) 08:46, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

So, you are asking how we define whether you are 'well on your way to having a collection' of something? This phrase is so vague, I don't think you are likely to get any definite answers, and naively, it seems unlikely to me that there any philosophical references discussing this specific phrase - maybe you could make your question a bit more general? Maybe you are interested in philosophical discussions of quantity or ownership? 130.88.73.65 (talk) 09:15, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
The paradox of the heap might be relevant, as it considers how many items are needed to have a heap: see Sorites paradox. --Colapeninsula (talk) 12:07, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
This is one of those semi-humorous phrases which isn't meant to be subjected to deep analysis to understand its meaning. When I grew up, my mom used to say, after talking to herself, "People who talk to themselves outloud are either crazy or have money in the bank..." That doesn't mean that some study has been done which correlate wealth or level of sanity to frequency of self-speech. Knowing that my family wasn't particularly rich, it basically was meant to be understood humorously that my mom was calling herself crazy. Or when we were kids in the bathroom, a guy at a neighboring urinal used to say something like "If you shake it more than twice, you're playing with it!", as if that was some hard rule which defined the difference between cleanliness and masturbation, which is of course a bit absurd. Its the same with this phrase. The context is not that there is a strict numerical definition of the term "collection". The context I usually hear it in is when someone thinks collecting things is a bit "weird", reminding people that at some point one has to admit they have gone beyond buying some stuff because it looks cool, or is useful, to the point where you're buying things merely to collect them. It isn't that that magic limit happens at 3 (anymore than the third shake to get the last drop makes one a public masturbater); its just supposed to be a silly thing to say. Sometimes silly things to say are just supposed to be silly. --Jayron32 12:39, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Wycliffite's "staff"[edit]

WycliffeYeamesLollards 01.jpg

I noticed in our article on John Wycliffe#Activity as a preacher it talks of a "staff" in hand. I assume this is a walking stick and not a weapon - am I correct? Is the picture a good depiction of their "staff". What does it mean "...the latter having symbolic reference to their pastoral calling"? In the picture it appears that every set of "two-by-two" had one. I assume when they "passed from place to place preaching the sovereignty of God" it was only in England - right?--Doug Coldwell talk 14:20, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

a modern sheperd with his staff
18th century painting showing a sheperd and their crook
A Roman Catholic bishop carrying an ornate crosier meant to resemble a sheperd's crook
Shepherds traditionally carry staves (often called "Crooks" as they frequently have a long crooked bit at the top to hook sheep) to guide and control their flocks. The term "pastor" refering to a priest or cleric in the Christian faith, and the term "pastoral" meaning "of or relating to herding animals" are directly related. Christian clerics of all strains use the symbolism of the shepherd to signify their vocation to varying degrees, and the staff can be one of those symbols. See Staff_of_office#Ecclesiastical_use and Crosier for more details on the practice. In summation, a christian cleric may sometimes carry a staff which is symbolic of the sheperd's crook, in keeping with the symbolism of the cleric as a sheperd of his flock. I've added a few pics as examples. --Jayron32 15:14, 16 March 2012 (UTC)


I think the Lollards were mainly in England, but they were also in Holland, with which England had close economic ties at the time. They must have also been in Bohemia; England and Bohemia were connected by the marriage of Anne of Bohemia and Richard II, and Wycliff was certainly an influence on Jan Hus. Adam Bishop (talk) 16:13, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
We also have a brief article about the Pilgrim's staff, which discusses the peculiar hooked variety used by pilgrims to Santiago de Compostella. Most other pilgrims would have carried a plain pole like a quarter staff I suspect. A rather upmarket version is shown here. However, "The rejection of saints and pilgrimages was another common facet of Lollardy."[2] Alansplodge (talk) 17:03, 16 March 2012 (UTC)


Thanks for the great responses on "staffs".--Doug Coldwell talk 17:36, 16 March 2012 (UTC)


A couple of years ago, I spent a rainy afternoon writing a long paragraph on the shepherd's crook, historical development in medieval Europe, and use as a symbol in ancient egypt and by the church; all carefully referenced. I can't remember which article I appended it to, but the whole lot seems to have vanished intop the ether. If anyone can track it down, I'd be very grateful. Alansplodge (talk) 20:54, 16 March 2012 (UTC)


On what charges?[edit]

Maybe this belongs in the Entertainment section since it is about an actor, but I'm asking here first since it doesn't really have to do with their entertainment work. Actor George Clooney and some other people got arrested while protesting outside (according to the news releases I've read) the gates of the Embassy of the Sudan in Washington, D.C. The morsel of actual news that no news source I've been able to find seems to include in their reporting is what the charges were. Public disturbance? Was the ground they were on not public property? No data (that I can find). Just curious. 20.137.18.53 (talk) 17:29, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

He was apparently charged with "crossing a police line." Which is to say, the police defined part of public space as a place where you cannot protest, and since he (and many others) protested there anyway, they were arrested on minor charges.
It has become terribly common in the last decade or so to arrest protesters in the United States who fail to disperse upon police order, or who fail to stay in designated "free speech zones" (I dare you to find a more Orwellian term for these cages). The protesters are usually not charged with anything substantial and released shortly afterwards. You might well ask how that policy is compatible with the whole "right of the people peaceably to assemble" thing. The truth is, the courts have given extreme leeway to police forces in the name of keeping order and avoiding violent riots, including the ability to arbitrarily declare certain public spaces to be off-limits for protesting at select times. Whether the state violence that accompanies many such police actions is more or less worth the possible avoidance of extremely hypothetical mob violence — well, I leave that to you to muddle over. You might also read over the text of HR 347, which was recently signed into law and allows the Washington, DC, police extreme leeway in defining protest as an illegal activity within the city limits. --Mr.98 (talk) 18:06, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
It gets worse than that, actually. Not so recently, I was involved in an anti-war demonstration (against the Gulf War) in San Francisco. The police surrounded the demonstrators and then ordered them to disperse, while going at those who "refused" to do so (but in fact could not escape) with clubs and then arresting them. Some were charged with resisting arrest or with assaulting an officer for trying to protect their bodies. I was fortunate to find myself near a side alley through which I was able to disperse before being attacked and arrested. Marco polo (talk) 18:18, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Remember, they hate us for our freedom. --Mr.98 (talk) 18:54, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
See Kettling --ColinFine (talk) 02:02, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
These arrest incidences have been relatively common recently, for example during the Keystone XL pipeline protests often involving 10,000+ demonstrators where on one occasion over 1,000 were arrested including notable individuals. The particular recent protest referred to by OP concerns the ongoing Sudan internal conflict (2011–) which has displaced half a million people in northern Sudan alone (South Sudan became independent in July 2011) and is creating a potential "man-made" famine situation exacerbated by the fact that some prominent UN food envoys pulled out of the country when one of its representatives was murdered earlier in 2011. ~AH1 (discuss!) 19:29, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Anthony J. Selin[edit]

I am doing research on Capt. Anthony J. Selin, who fought with George Washington in the Revolutinary War. I have found a few discrepancies (I think) and would love to have them clarified. I read that Capt. Selin died in 1792. He married Catherine Snyder and they had two children, Anthony Charles Selin and Agnes Selin. Somewhere in my research, I found that [another?] "Capt." Anthony Selin married Aug. 26, 1810 to Miss Catherine Yoner of Sunbury. Would this be the SON of Capt. Selin? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sselin62044 (talkcontribs) 18:09, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

I don't know if it will help you, but findagrave.com has [3] as its only Anthony Selin, shows a plaque "In memory of Capt. Anthony Selin of the Revolutionary Army Born in Switzerland Founder of Selin's Grove Died in the year of 1792". Mary Ann Selin Swineford (1815-1872) is buried in the same cemetery, and the site lists 227 with the last name or as a maiden name. Dru of Id (talk) 01:57, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Lollard protectors?[edit]

I see that John Aston and John Purvey were close associates of John Wycliffe. Were they protectors of the Lollards in general? If not, which preachers would be considered the top protectors of the Lollards in Wycliffe's lifetime?--Doug Coldwell talk 18:55, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Some other clerics who were Lollards were Nicholas Hereford, William Sawtrey, John Trevisa, Thomas Bagley, William Taylor, and John Ball of course. I don't think I could call all of them "protectors" of Lollards though (especially not Ball), but the church wasn't very interested in protecting them. Their greatest protectors were all nobility, I would say. Adam Bishop (talk) 11:56, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Adam for the response.--Doug Coldwell talk 12:33, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Americans in the Second Opium War?[edit]

Was the United States involved in the Second Opium War? B-Machine (talk) 19:11, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

I've changed the title of this question. Please don't just call it "question", as it will garner a better response with a clearer title. Mingmingla (talk) 19:24, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
The United States was involved, and our article (which you've linked) gives examples of U.S. involvement. Marco polo (talk) 20:36, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

FIFA criticism of being too European[edit]

Didn't FIFA receive alot of criticism regarding World Cup because the continent that contributes the most nations is European like I mean FIFA a little bit too racist about that? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 174.89.42.146 (talk) 19:44, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

It wouldn't surprise me if people had made criticisms like that. There are a lot of people in the world and they make a lot of criticisms about all sorts of things. European football is certainly where the money is (although a lot of that money comes from fans outside Europe - Asian television rights bring in a lot), which means Europe will have a lot of influence in FIFA. That doesn't necessarily imply there is any racism going on, though... --Tango (talk) 21:30, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
FIFA is regularly accused of bias by many different groups. It can be claimed that FIFA is pro-Europe (for example, only 1 player has ever been nominated for FIFA World Player of the Year whilst playing for a non-European club), or that FIFA is anti-Europe (by awarding the FIFA World Cup to countries like Qatar, when it is felt that their bids were weaker than those of European nations). Mostly, though, it seems that FIFA's biases, if they exist, are motivated more by money than by out-and-out racism. Having said that, Sepp Blatter has been accused of racism in the past over comments such as "There is no racism, there is maybe one of the players towards another, he has a word or a gesture which is not the correct one, but also the one who is effected [sic] by that, he should say that this is a game. We are in a game, and at the end of the game, we shake hands". - Cucumber Mike (talk) 21:53, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Europe won all medals in the last two FIFA World Cups and on average, European teams also do better than non-European teams in the World Cup. If slots were allocated to get the best teams to the World Cup then Europe would get more slots than now. As in many other sports, World Championship slots are a compromise. They award better continents with more slots, but not as many as they would get in a distribution based purely on quality. In team handball, the European championships are considered harder than the World Championships because you don't get "walkovers" against poor non-European teams. PrimeHunter (talk) 04:24, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Some arithmetic to second what PrimeHunter said: Europe will get 13 berths out of 32 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup (downgraded from 15 out of 32 in 1998). Currently, there are 20 European teams in the FIFA World Rankings top 32, and there are 17 European teams in the World Football Elo Ratings top 32. Some partially or fully Asian countries like Russia, Turkey and Israel count as European for footballing purposes. Notice also that, excluding Brazil's automatic berth, the South American confederation is given 4.5 berths (that is, either 4 or 5; an inter-continental play-off will determine the exact number) when there are only 9 teams other than Brazil that are affiliated to it. Therefore we'll see either 50% or 60% of all South American teams compete in the 2014 finals. --Theurgist (talk) 06:39, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
The thing with South America is not only that these are the teams that most fiercely compete for the title with the Europeans, but that is also where most of the notable non-European talent comes from to play in the big European teams. To even be more accurate, the World Cup is generally a contest between Western Europe and South America. Regards.--MarshalN20 | Talk 06:51, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

No I mean notice that last World Cup had 13 Euro nations, 4 from Asia, 6 Africans, 1 Oceania, 3 CONCACAF and 5 CONMEBOL. Definitely, FIFA is being pro European when it comes to qualified teams. Can't they make it equal number like 6 teams from each association? making it more exciting and longer? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 65.92.150.48 (talk) 19:34, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Do you really think that having six teams from Oceania would make for an exciting World Cup? --Wrongfilter (talk) 20:15, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Breaking Australia 31–0 American Samoa might be sort of exciting – if you are not from American Samoa. PrimeHunter (talk) 20:41, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
I'd suggest that soccer fans be somewhat careful when describing anything in their game as exciting. Obviously the fans get so bored at times that they need to create their own excitement in the stands and streets outside. HiLo48 (talk) 21:03, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Saying that the world's most popular sport is not exciting reveals interesting POV, HiLo! --Dweller (talk) 21:35, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I know, but obviously the word "exciting" is always POV, and I didn't use it first here ;-) HiLo48 (talk) 21:42, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Let's assume that the teams currently (as of March 2012) ranked best at the FIFA World Rankings qualify for the 2014 finals.
First scenario. We're using the current allocation system. Europe: 13 spots; South America: 5.5 spots (we're assuming 6); Africa: 5 spots; Asia: 4.5 spots (we're assuming 4); CONCACAF: 3.5 spots (we're assuming 3); Oceania: 0.5 spots (we're assuming 1).
Qualifying teams:
  • Europe: Spain, Netherlands, Germany, England, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Denmark, Russia, Greece, France, Sweden, Switzerland.
  • South America: Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Colombia.
  • Africa: Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Algeria, Zambia, Mali.
  • Asia: Australia, South Korea, Japan, Iran.
  • CONCACAF: Mexico, USA, Panama.
  • Oceania: New Zealand.
Second scenario. Europe and South America have 6 spots each, the other confederations have 5 spots each.
Qualifying teams:
  • Europe: Spain, Netherlands, Germany, England, Portugal, Italy.
  • South America: Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Colombia.
  • Africa: Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Algeria, Zambia, Mali.
  • Asia: Australia, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Uzbekistan.
  • CONCACAF: Mexico, USA, Panama, Jamaica, El Salvador.
  • Oceania: New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu.
Do you really think that having the purple teams at the expense of the green ones would contribute greatly for an exciting World Cup? :) --Theurgist (talk) 23:15, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Oh dear. There's that word exciting again. (Fair might be better.) HiLo48 (talk) 23:22, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I didn't mean to push a POV. I just repeated the word from the particular question I was answering. --Theurgist (talk) 23:29, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Uzbekistan, Jamaica, and El Salvador might very well have semi-worthy claims. The Oceania nations, on the other hand, are too small (population wise), and their football-playing populations even smaller. If we were talking about Rugby, on the other hand... very different story! Samoa, Fiji, and Tsonga, tiny as they are, would all have worthy claims to entering the Rugby World Cup (and have been). 58.111.224.202 (talk) 23:46, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Uzbekistan, Jamaica, El Salvador are ranked 67, 54, 58 in http://www.fifa.com/worldranking/rankingtable/index.html. They might get points but not compete for medals. In this scenario they would replace France, Sweden, Switzerland who are ranked 16, 17, 18. France won gold in 1998 and silver in 2006. PrimeHunter (talk) 00:01, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Virtually every sporting competition in the world is weighted to ensure that the 'top' teams/players make it to the finals. The qualification processes do this to ensure that things like 'world cups' are opportunities for the best teams/players to be pitted against each other in an exciting tournament...It's not that Fifa is biased/Euro-centric it's that ALL sports organisations are. In Tennis most tournaments are ranked so the top-seeds avoid each other early in the competition. In Rugby for their World Cup the qualification process (Rugby World Cup qualification is 'biased'. The cricket world up has its bias too Cricket World Cup qualification. Hell even big Chess tournaments have biased qualification FIDE Grand Prix 2008–2009#Qualification. I guess what I'm trying to make clear is...this isn't so much Fifa being euro-centric/biased, this is virtually every major 'world' tournament in virtually every sport weighting qualification processes so the highest ranked/historically established nations (in that sport) are more likely to qualify. ny156uk (talk) 08:30, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
This scheme also makes it less likely for an underdog to break into an advanced stage by chance (that is, by encountering weak oppositions all the time) rather than according to actual merits. --Theurgist (talk) 09:12, 18 March 2012 (UTC)