Foreign News: Mother Complex

Ever since Homer called it "the navel of the sea," Malta has been an island in search of an umbilical cord. 'Alone and vulnerable in the Mediterranean, 150 miles south of Italy, the rock (9 by 17 miles) has no economic value. But a fine deep harbor on its northeast shore has brought it the "protection" of a succession of great seafaring peoples, Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, and for nearly 300 years, the crusading Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. Napoleon cut that tie. Then came Nelson, and the island, at the request of the Maltese themselves, became a crown colony.

The British...

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