GO NAVY BEAT ARMY

GO NAVY BEAT ARMY

'87 Sir

Thirty years of service ----USNA Class of 1987 '87 Sir

Friday, August 31, 2012

More history and politics

Yes...more history and politics...but now from the ORIGINAL military historian...Thucydides.  WHO is that, you may ask.  And yes, sadly far too many Americans must ask that, since they don't know history, philosophy or Western Civilization (oyyy, is that racist or xenophobic?), but can sure as heck name all the Kardashian sisters.

Thucydides, is considered by most military historians (or at least the ones I read) to be the first real military historian...and his magnum opus History of the Peloponnesian War is still required reading for anyone who wants to understand the eternal nature of war, politics, strategy and human behavior. 

I always find it amusing when Americans say- "This is an unprecedented crisis...never before seen in history.!?!?"  Well, yea, sweetcheeks, it really has been seen in history...no matter how much we have cool toys like iPads, the Internet, cable TV and Twitter...people are still fundamentally the same from the time they wielded spears and helmets and hacked each other to death on dusty battlefields.

This of course, is clearly obvious when reading Thucydides...so what would he say about politics these days?  Well, to start with, here is one of the most famous principles he espouses about war and conflict:

three of the strongest motives, fear, honor, and interest
Now, least anyone take those out of context, here is the entire little passage when the Athenians were making their speech to Sparta to avoid war.

It follows that it was not a very wonderful action, or contrary to the common practice of mankind, if we did accept an empire that was offered to us, and refused to give it up under the pressure of three of the strongest motives, fear, honor, and interest.
So,  these three motives, which seem very selfish and self-centered, but can be used to lofty purposes, often explain a great deal of human behavior, including political behavior in either a positive or negative light.  In fine Grouchy Historian manner, let me explain.
  • Fear:  For Republicans, this seems to be a genuine fear that our country is going off the rails, with  massive debt, massive spending and no real plan by the Obamabots to control either.  For Democrats, fear that Sandra Fluke will not get free birth control, fear that Obama must stop playing golf and going on vacations (at our expense) and actually lead by making hard decisions, and fear that someone will figure out that Harry Reid has really been part of the Walking Dead for the last four years, like the Zombie King.
  • Honor:  This is a tricky word for ANY politician.  So let's just say that honor is a way of saying what you mean and meaning what you say.  Obama has clearly failed this test...whether Republicans are REALLY serious about absorbing the coming onslaught from the Legacy Liberal Media and the Vicitimization Industrial Complex in order to truly reform entitlements remains to be seen.  Sorry, can't say much more than that.
  • Interest:  This is also a tricky word.  Republicans appear to understand that it is in our nation's interest (and theirs) to get the economy moving, put people back to work and start making real cuts to out-of-control government spending.  DemocRATs of course, consider it in their interest to keep as many people dependent on government handouts as possible, whether individual or corporate.  Sorry if that offends libs, but that's how I see it.

Okay, it's a very simplistic view, but at heart humans are pretty simple and basic creatures...in spite of what some people want you to believe...there are not a whole lot of "new" experiences for humanity.  We are just bombarded 24/7 with images and data these days...but not necessarily information or....wisdom.

Now, one of the central characters in Thucydides history is the first leader of Athens during the war, Pericles, who made one of the most famous speeches on strategy and war ever written.  When Athens and Sparta went to war Pericles knew that a decisive battle was not in Athens' best interest.  The Spartans were THE best fighting force in antiquity, who nearly always crushed their foes in battle, drove them before them, and listened to the lamentations of their women, kinda like Marines against terrorists in Fallujah.  However, Athens was a wealthy empire, with the best navy of the Ancient Greek world and a nearly impervious city.  So Pericles advocated a war of attrition, patience and asymmetric warfare, using Athenian naval might to raid the Spartan territory, maybe inciting a slave revolt among the Spartan serfs, and generally not doing anything stupid.
"I have many other reasons to hope for a favourable issue, if you can consent not to combine schemes of fresh conquest with the conduct of the war, and will abstain from wilfully involving yourselves in other dangers; indeed, I am more afraid of our own blunders than of the enemy's devices... It must be thoroughly understood that war is a necessity; but that the more readily we accept it, the less will be the ardour of our opponents, and that out of the greatest dangers communities and individuals acquire the greatest glory. Did not our fathers resist the Medes not only with resources far different from ours, but even when those resources had been abandoned; and more by wisdom than by fortune, more by daring than by strength, did not they beat off the barbarian and advance their affairs to their present height? We must not fall behind them, but must resist our enemies in any way and in every way, and attempt to hand down our power to our posterity unimpaired.  [Emphasis mine]

I highlighted a couple of passages as important lessons for the Republicans.  During next week's DemocRATic convention, they will likely trot out the ol' class warfare, tax the rich, corporations suck mantra, in addition to lots of Sanda Fluke clones saying Republicans are meany poo-poo heads for not providing free contraceptives and taxpayer-funded drive-thru abortions.  (was that over the top?...probably, but Dems would vote for that, I'm sure).

They may even tout how Obama saved GM (really only saved the UAW pensions and retirements---with billions of taxpayer dollars----our money) and prevented the ABSOLUTELY WORST DEPRESSION IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND.  See the above sweetcheeks comment...not really...and arguably Obama made the GREAT RECESSION, or whatever you call it worse..but I digress.  What you are not likely to hear is any great VISION to fix Medicare, fix Social Security, fix the debt (other than raising taxes of course) or anything else but the usual Obama show (I wanna talk about me, I wanna talk about I, I wanna talk about #1 oh, my, me, my).

SO, Republicans must absolutely NOT...EVER get bogged down in the whole "war on women" crap..except to talk about the hundreds of thousands of women out of work.  Seriously, if the Dems think America's biggest issue is free contraception and raising taxes to pay for abortions...then they have already LOST...all Republicans have to do ala Pericles..is stay on message and keep pounding the Dems on taxes, ObamaTax (Medicare plundering stinking pile of Sh** that it is), "YOU DIDN'T BUILD THAT" which may go down in history as the single dumbest political statement ever, and the need to bring that three-letter word, as Joey Biden says J-O-B-S into every single conversation.

In that way Republicans will attain the greatest glory and hand down our power to our posterity unimpaired.

No comments: