AuthorTopic: Evolution of War  (Read 14652 times)

Offline RE

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Evolution of War
« on: September 29, 2013, 02:43:08 AM »

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on September 29, 2013


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Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner


With the latest in “Now we Will, Now we Won’t” bomb Syria back to the Stone Age progress toward War in that theater, I got to pondering on how War has evolved here since the early days of Ag Civilization into its current incarnation.  Besides the technology for killing evolving quite a bit over the millenia, the Goals changed as well, and so did the means of Resolution when a given War came to a “Close”.  The second aspect is much more interesting, but to begin a review of the Techno-Progress of warfare is in order, because it impacts on the second in many ways.


http://www.assiniboinetipis.com/im4/bowman.jpgBy the time real large scale Wars developed in the early Ag Era, Hunting methods had already evolved some means of Death at a Distance, most notably the Bow and Arrow at the beginning.  With this technology, you had maybe say 200 yards of Killing Range, though at that distance accuracy was pretty minimal and it was mainly a matter of luck for a large number of Bowmen to send flying arrows in the general direction of the enemy and hoping they hit somebody.  With Longbows, probably you gotta wait until the enemy is inside 50 yards to actually aim at and hit someone in particular.  Depends a lot on your position on the terrain where the battle takes place also, if you hold the “High Ground”, you have a good deal more range than those coming at you from below.


On the defensive level at this time for those being shot at, Wooden Shields were pretty good also, since at distance the arrow has to be shot in a high parabolic trajectory to make maximum range, so you know where the arrow is going to come from, basically above you on it’s way down.  Hold the shield over your head and slightly forward at around 45 degrees, the arrows will hit that first, and not penetrate.  Only once you get pretty close can arrows be shot with a flatter trajectory that could hit you from the front.


So, as long as you were working with mainly Infantry, while some portion would get taken out before the armies met Mano-a-Mano, most of the real killing occurred when they finally engaged with the Swords, Battle Axes, Maces and so forth.  Pretty even playing field at least between 2 different Ag Societies that both had some metal working capability.  Winning or Losing such a War was mainly a matter of who had more numbers and better control over the High Ground where a battle might be fought.


Team Strategies were developed during this period to move large groups of soldiers around a battlefield, Phalanxes being the main one.  This borrows from the Herd idea in Nature, where only the exterior of the Phalanx is exposed to arrows and so forth being shot at them as they get close to the enemy.  This sort of battlefield organization persisted right up until Gunpowder made it’s appearance well into the modern era.


Besides the Death at a Distance in War Tech evolution in the early years, the other big “advance” was in the area of Mobility as Horses were enlisted and Cavalry was deployed.  The great advantage of this was the speed at which you could move these soldiers around a battlefield, allowing you to Outflank the enemy who was without Horse, or who had substantially fewer of them.  Groups like the Mongols who had LOTS of horses in this period were able to do a lot of damage to larger populations of more sedentary ag societies because of the speed at which they could move around the battlefields.  There were some means of defending against a Cavalry attack of course, like this one depicted in Braveheart:



The Advent of the Wheel which led to the Chariot increased the advantage of using Horses by a good deal after this, though their use was more limited to Flatland areas.  Nice thing about a Chariot was the Charioteer could move quickly, then stop and shoot his Arrows from a stationary platform, much more accurate than shooting a Bow from Horseback.  So you outflank the enemy, get close enough to shoot flat trajectory arrows from the side, and then when anyone starts running in your direction to take you out you giddyap your horse and GTFO of there, setting up again somewhere else to do the same thing again.


The Romans used all these War Techs of the era about as well as could be done, and were able to expand their Empire quite far with it.  Where things fell apart for the Romans was not so much on the Battlefield, but in the administration of all the places they conquered over time.  More about that later. in the second part.


http://www.markchurms.com/mm5/graphics/templar-l.jpgPrior to the development of Gunpowder, or rather prior to its application in Cannon and Muskets, there were numerous developments on the Defensive End in War Tech after the Roman Empire went through its Collapse.  On the personal defensive level, Body Armor became quite popular.  With metal working improving, stuff like Chain Mail and Metal Helmets and Breast Plates became available, and for a short while even Full Suits of Armor were used.  Not real clear here how many “armies” actually all suited up this way, probably very few.  First off very expensive for the time in energy to create such things, and besides that they weigh a LOT and reduce your mobility by quite a bit as well.  So they probably were limited to a few of the King’s most wealthy Vassals and Honor Guard, rather than an entire army suited up like this.  Helmets however and Chain Mail were probably a lot more common and certainly provided a good deal more protection from getting bashed than a leather helmet or vest.


The defensive end developed a lot more on the large scale with Castles and Fixed Fortifications through the Medieval period.  If you could get one of these places erected, it provided a pretty safe haven against all but the most organized large marauding bands of Zombies of the period.  In these places the War of Attrition idea really took hold, which was to see who could last longer, the folks inside the Castle with stored up food and a water supply, or folks on the outside who would have to last for a year or two or 3 of siege on the castle trying to starve them out.  Eventually they speeded this up some by employing Trebuchets to hurl really big Rocks at the castle walls and knock them down, thus enabling the attacking army to breach the stronghold.


Shortly after this the Cannon started getting deployed, and that basically spelled the end of Defensive Warfare of this type right up to today.  With a couple of decent 40 pounders, you could reduce Castle Walls to Rubble in no time at all, so they pretty much stopped building them.  However, you still did have to move these INCREDIBLY heavy things around and get them in place, which was quite hard and slow even with lots of horses.  For the bigger Nation States forming in Europe during this time, they ALL had Cannon, and you began to see the Napoleonic Wars type battles over there, and here in the FSoA the War of Northern Aggression, aka the Civil War.


Once the Internal Combustion Engine got developed, the issue of moving around this Heavy Equipment at decent speed was mostly resolved, though there were not THAT many vehicles available at the time of WWI and that was mostly fought as a War of Attrition in Trenches dug out to avoid oncoming Bullets and Mortar fire.  The fortification idea was pursued by the French in the aftermath of that war with the Maginot Line, which rather than putting up a Solid Wall  put up a virtual Wall of Artillery which in theory could hit everyone coming at them from Krautland.  The Industrialists of Krautland overcame that one by producing a lot of Tanks for WWII, able to do an End Around the Maginot line and set up Blitzkriegs wherever they rolled to.


http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_4I94EWqLlfs/S4YDTOEPN3I/AAAAAAAAAP0/WVkjuswsULM/s400/Platoon+4+Burn+Village.jpgTanks and this sort of warfare though while suited well to most of the European continent and MENA where most of those type of battles played out was NOT so good either for the Naval War pursued against Japan at that time, or later the Wars pursued in Korea and in Vietnam, where the terrain just wasn’t well suited for rolling Tanks.  Although certainly Aerial Warfare was pursued in Europe with the Firebombing of Dresden and the v-2 Rocket Campaign of Werner von Braun against London, not to mention the dropping of Fat Man and Little Boy on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, going full on into Death from Above as the War Paradigm really took off with Vietnam and the use of Helicopters to move troops around the Jungle in place of Armored Personnel Carriers and Jets delivering Napalm to incinerate the Jungle cover of “Insurgents” aka local Villagers to be MASSACRED in My Lai.http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-qVuI8EJfvI8/TtIzeR-N92I/AAAAAAAAEVc/H22cgOkAD2I/s400/PLATOON-8.jpg


Techno Warfare of this sort reached it Zenith in the current era, with Drone Aircraft delivering death basically anywhere, and in relative safety for the Drone Pilot, sitting comfortably at a Work Station at Langley or on an Aircraft Carrier etc.  However, while delivering Death in relative safety has become possible this way, it is still damn difficult to actually gain any CONTROL over a given area just by dropping bombs on it.  This brings us to part 2 of the story, the Objectives and Methods used for controlling a neighborhood after prosecuting a War on the local residents.


Returning back again to those early Ag Wars even Pre-Rome but extending right through that time period, nobody “made peace agreements” really with Conquered peoples.  Generally speaking, all Adult age Males who managed to survive the war got dispatched to the Great Beyond, since these guys were dangerous to keep around and made lousy slaves.  Children were taken to be raised as Slaves, and Women were taken to breed more Slaves.  The objective of the War was to take over the Land the other group held and replace it with your own group of people, adding in the Class of Slaves to do the scut work in that neighborhood.


This had all sorts of problems of it’s own, even though if you got kids young enough and bred a slave class, maintaining the Order and keeping said Slaves in line was a Costly Bizness.  It requires a good size Military/Police force and a class of Overseers as well.  You have to feed the slaves at least enough so they do not die of malnutrition, clothe and shelter them so they don’t die too fast from exposure to the elements also.  When your Slave Keeping Protocols get TOO BAD, the slaves REVOLT, which again is a costly exercise to squash down.  Precisely how many people you can actually enslve in your population and remain in control of it is a bit unclear, but overall it probably is not more than20-30%.  Taking Rome as an example here:


http://trendsupdates.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/slavery-in-the-bible.jpgEstimates for the prevalence of slavery in the Roman Empire vary. Estimates of the percentage of the population of Italy who were slaves range from 30 to 40 percent in the 1st century BC, upwards of two to three million slaves in Italy by the end of the 1st century BC, about 35% to 40% of Italy’s population.[27] For the Empire as a whole, the slave population has been estimated at just under five million, representing 10 – 15% of the total population. An estimated 49% of all slaves were owned by the elite, who made up less than 1.5% of the Empire’s population. About half of all slaves worked in the countryside, the remainder in towns and cities.[28]


Roman slavery was not based on race.[29] Slaves were drawn from all over Europe and the Mediterranean, including Celts, Germans, Thracians, Greeks, Carthaginians,[30] and black Africans, usually called “Ethiopians” in Greek and Latin sources.[31] By the 1st century BC, custom precluded the enslavement of Roman citizens and Italians living in Gallia Cisalpina, but previously many southern and central Italians had been enslaved after defeat.[32]


Inside Italy itself, you might have got up to 40% slaves, but this is only because Italy ALSO housed the preponderance of the Military, and besides that Slaves who lived inside the Center of the Empire probably lived better than many Roman Citizens who lived in peripheral territories lived, at least while the resources were steadily flowing into that neighborhood from outlying areas through Taxation.  The further out you went, the harder to maintain and control a large population of Slaves.


After the fall of of Rome, there still was similar types of Consolidation going on in Europe as the Feudal era took hold, enslavement was still pretty common when one group defeated another in a War, but once these incipient Nation-States consolidated up under common languages and slaves taken were assimilated into these societies, this bizness began to wind down.  Economic slavery began to replace explicit slavery, and though certainly non-stop Wars were fought all across Europe through the Middle Ages and into the Colonial Era, you no longer got the kind of deal where ALL the Adult men were sent to the Great Beyond and the Defeated Nation-State was absorbed into the political system of the conquering nation.


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0e/Inflaci%C3%B3_utan_1946.jpgRather what begins to appear here are “Economic Reparations” for the war, where the defeated group has to pay the Winners.  War becomes less about acquiring the territory and populating it with your own group of people then it becomes about gaining economic advantage, coopting the Elites of that neighborhood and getting them to run the country in such a way that they pay tribute to your Dominance.  This sort of behavior probably reached its Zenith with the defeat of Germany after WWI, with the Treaty of Versailles.  This document in terms of Economic Reparations essentially made the entire Kraut Population SLAVES working to pay off the Debt accumulated by everyone for running this War, WITHOUT the Brits, Frogs or Yanks actually taking over their Goobermint and running the defeated Krautland as a Colony.  Local KRAUT leaders were expected to collect the necessary Taxation to pay off the War Winners here, in MONEY, not specifically in land acquisition.


Colonialism had a lot of problems, the main one being that if you went and installed your own Goobernators in a territory, the local population HATED that person and his Tax Men.  Particularly if there were Racial/Religious/Ethnic differences between the Installed New Colonial Goobermint and the local population of J6P, it wasn’t generally too long before REVOLTS happenned, cue the American Revolution on that one.  Or look at British Colonial Rule of India as another example of the problems you get when you try to impose rule on another society without actually physically wiping them off the face of the earth (at least the Males) in the Olden Times.


http://media.nj.com/njv_paul_mulshine/photo/us-saudi-bush-abdullahjpg-87e60952a59fc870_large.jpgThe methodology pursued over the last century was to Co-opt a Leadership Class of the Conquered Society, offer them AMAZING WEALTH & Perks to become part of the Global system of Industrialization, and for the real Rulers of this, hide in the background as much as possible and let all the Local Goobermints take the blame for any problems.  You hold everyone hostage through Debt, and the War proceeds onward Economically here, until there is yet another breakdown of the System of the World, as Neal Stephenson phrased it.  Said breakdown occurs regularly of course, Strauss & Howe call it the “Fourth Turning”, it is the relatively predictable outcome of an economic system based on Debt which has around a 2-5% Interest Charge placed on it.  This allows said economic system to operate anywhere from around 60-90 years generally speaking before all hell breaks loose and the only way to rejig the monetary system is with a real big WAR that pulls in everyone using said monetary system.  Same shit has repeated itself at least a half dozen times or so since the 1500s, using this same sort of monetary system, though the Age of Oil and Computers have made some significant changes in the dynamic.


Out of said repetition, Strauss & Howe developed the “Four Turnings” theory of generational collapse and rebirth, which bears a remarkable resemblance to the ecological theory of Four Cycles put forth by Holling & Gunderson back in the 70s.


In this model, the “Release Phase” corresponds to the Fourth Turning described by Strauss & Howe, and it seems to be a regular feature of all Biological Systems.  On the Positive side of looking at the Collapse this way, you can Expect/Hope For a “Rebirth” or “Reorganization” phase to follow the Collapse Phase, if you go by the Timeline of Strauss & Howe this should come 15-20 years down the pipe for this Fourth Turning Event.


The problem with looking at this event in this way is that it ignores aspects of Homo Sapiens development which are NOT Cyclical and NOT Repeated, as well as Physical Conditions of the Earth Ecosystem which are not cyclical or repeated.  In our War Example here, the Wars of today are NOT repetitions of the Wars of Old, they utilize a whole lot more Energy to prosecute them along with Technology that was not available in days of yore either.  The Biomass of Homo Sapiens is now around 7B, which it NEVER was in all of recorded history for sure, and you have to make some pretty far out assumptions to believe such a biomass of Homo Sapiens existed in an Atlantis Civilization that preceeded this one.


The conditions which produced all the Fossil Fuels utilized during this particular cycle also are unlikely to be repeated, since the Sun itself is on a non-cyclical path to its own destruction, which in the more near term makes the Biosphere on Earth unlivable.  MAX time for this might be 500M years from present day, but many factors could make that time period a whole lot shorter, right down to the Near Term Human Extinction timeline proposed by folks like Guy McPherson, who think Positive Feedback Loops will make the planet uninhabitable for multicellular life forms by Mid-Century or so.



When you bring all the variables together here, is seems Unlikely to me that this particular “Release” phase will result in the same sort of “Rebirth” phase that came in the aftermath of the Great Depression or the Civil War before that.  Each of those Rebirth phases came at a time where the Human Biomass was much lower, and there still was copious amount of Stored Energy of Fossil Fuels to Exploit and use for rebuilding and developing a still more complex paradigm.


Regardless how this next set of Wars is pursued, whether it is with Chemical Weapons, Nuclear Weapons or even just “conventional” weapons like Bullets and “Regular” bombs and mines, the outcome of the war is that it is likely to exhaust the supplies of fossil fuels we have a bit faster than they otherwise would be burned, and upon conclusion whoever managed to “win” this War would have about nothing left with which to administer and maintain control over another population.


Picture say India in the Setting Sun Years of the British Empire in the late 1800s, with a few Brit Sahib Goobernators controlling all of India with a  few Warships, an Honor Guard of Troops equipped with Repeating Rifles and some Artillery to protect their Forts.  Take away all these Techno-Advantages for maintaining control, how long does this small group maintain control over the much larger poulation of Colonial Slaves they have working for them and paying them Taxes, aka PROTECTION MONEY?  Not very long, IMHO.


The Techno Army/Navy/Air Force we have may persist a while longer, it is likely to be the last of the systems developed under industrialization to Run Outta Gas, but inevitably they will run out.  It has always taken economies of scale to pull up Oil and Coal, even when it came cheap and easy.  Running refineries, fixing broken parts, replacing sunken ships, all this will become ever more difficult as the Wars for Resources are pursued by the Industrial Military.  In the end, they will put themselves Outta Biz, and they will not reappear again in a New Cycle, not in the next few Millenia anyhow for sure.  So under no circumstances imaginable here will the NEXT Turning bring about a rebirth of the type we saw before, when there was much energy still to access.  Nor will War be the same as it was, ever increasing in size, global scope and technological prowess.  All dependent on accessing copious amounts of energy, which will be consumed by the very machine that accessed it in the first place, so long ago when the first Metal was smelted to produce Bronze Spear Points and later Chain Mail and Body Armor.  This was unidirectional, not cyclical, and we have reached the end of the road for this paradigm, though to be sure it may take a decade or even 2 to work through this end game completely.


What will we see on the OTHER SIDE of this, if in fact anybody does manage to survive the conflagrations to come here?  I cannot answer that question to be sure, but I seriously doubt we will go trekking the stars or setting up colonies on Mars in the aftermath of this.  Best Hope, the few surviving Homo Sapiens will learn to Garden the Earth in Peace with each other and respecting other forms of life, and keep Sentience going until the Sun fries the Biosphere to a crisp in a few 100M years.  One can only hope on this one, since the current direction looks a whole lot worse than that.


http://www.permacultureglobal.com/system/post_images/845/original/fresh%20in%20the%20garden%20bed%20design%20080311%20020.jpg?1300013091


RE


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Offline Surly1

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Re: Evolution of War
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2013, 11:30:24 AM »
I'm not sure this article passes Ashvins criteria for avoiding “doomer clichés,”  but I enjoyed it.

I found this of interest, because I did not know it:

Quote
Said breakdown [of a world system] occurs regularly of course, Strauss & Howe call it the “Fourth Turning”, it is the relatively predictable outcome of an economic system based on Debt which has around a 2-5% Interest Charge placed on it.  This allows said economic system to operate anywhere from around 60-90 years generally speaking before all hell breaks loose and the only way to rejig the monetary system si with a real big WAR that pulls in everyone using said monetary system.  Same shit has repeated itself at least a half dozen times or so since the 1500s, using this same sort of monetary system, though the Age of Oil and Computers have made some significant changes in the dynamic.

Out of said repetition, Strauss & Howe developed the “Four Turnings” theory of generational collapse and rebirth, which bears a remarkable resemblance to the ecological theory of Four Cycles put forth by Holling & Gunderson back in the 70s.

In this model, the “Release Phase” corresponds to the Fourth Turning described by Strauss & Howe, and it seems to be a regular feature of all Biological Systems. 


Was not aware of the "Four cycles" theory. This will come as a great blow to Jim Quinn,  For whom the “4 turnings” theory has become the gospel by which all other phenomena are evaluated.
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Evolution of War
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2013, 11:59:02 AM »
This was unidirectional, not cyclical, and we have reached the end of the road for this paradigm, though to be sure it may take a decade or even 2 to work through this end game completely.

About the only argument I have is with this timeline. Because of the complete control that exists over the remaining resources, I would guess that the military/police state will persist for longer than this...maybe a hundred years or more. It will likely shift from a foreign invasion/foreign occupation force, into a force more concerned with maintaining order within our own borders...and exacting various forms of tribute.

Support the Troops...or else. Local and regional paramilitary forces. Gangsters with national organizations, like Indonesia has. Protection rackets and two sets of laws. One for the plebes, and another for the "freedom fighters".
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Offline Ka

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Re: Evolution of War
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2013, 02:38:11 PM »
Returning back again to those early Ag Wars even Pre-Rome but extending right through that time period, nobody “made peace agreements” really with Conquered peoples.  Generally speaking, all Adult age Males who managed to survive the war got dispatched to the Great Beyond, since these guys were dangerous to keep around and made lousy slaves.  Children were taken to be raised as Slaves, and Women were taken to breed more Slaves.  The objective of the War was to take over the Land the other group held and replace it with your own group of people, adding in the Class of Slaves to do the scut work in that neighborhood.

What? Generally speaking, this is not what happened. This wasn't what Rome (except maybe at Carthage, and then just the city, not the whole countryside) or Alexander did. Or Sparta after defeating Athens, or Cyrus, or the Hyksos in Egypt. Otherwise, there wouldn't have been any reversals of these conquests. Slaves were taken, but nowhere near on the scale you are saying. What the conquerors wanted was for the local people to send their taxes to the conquerors rather than whoever the rulers were prior to conquest.

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Evolution of War
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2013, 03:34:12 PM »
Returning back again to those early Ag Wars even Pre-Rome but extending right through that time period, nobody “made peace agreements” really with Conquered peoples.  Generally speaking, all Adult age Males who managed to survive the war got dispatched to the Great Beyond, since these guys were dangerous to keep around and made lousy slaves.  Children were taken to be raised as Slaves, and Women were taken to breed more Slaves.  The objective of the War was to take over the Land the other group held and replace it with your own group of people, adding in the Class of Slaves to do the scut work in that neighborhood.
What? Generally speaking, this is not what happened. This wasn't what Rome (except maybe at Carthage, and then just the city, not the whole countryside) or Alexander did.
I can't speak to the other examples, but I do know something about Alexander.  You are quite correct that is not what Alexander did, because Alexander was a liberator, not a conqueror.  The Persians were the ones who can conquered the Known World, Alexander just defeated the Persians.  Except for his final battles in Persia itself, everywhere else he was met by the locals as liberator -- not the governments, mind you, who were put in place by the Persians, but the common people.

There are definitely examples to both support and reject RE's description of ancient war.  I think a more comprehensive survey would need to be done to make generalizations.
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Offline Ashvin

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Re: Evolution of War
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2013, 04:04:02 PM »
I'm not sure this article passes Ashvins criteria for avoiding “doomer clichés,”  but I enjoyed it.

Everything seems so radically simplified on here lately...

It's always about the evil Others who are victimizing the rest of us. I got around to reading other threads and was shocked that some were even defending terrorism by the victims of state-sponsored injustices.

This article was OK... not sure how accurate it was, though. There were certainly a few cliches. I've used the Holling ecosystem "release" analogy myself a few times. It's an interesting application, but, like you say, some people use it to "evaluate all phenomenon" in human society.

Then we have this:

Quote from: RE
The conditions which produced all the Fossil Fuels utilized during this particular cycle also are unlikely to be repeated, since the Sun itself is on a non-cyclical path to its own destruction, which in the more near term makes the Biosphere on Earth unlivable.  MAX time for this might be 500M years from present day, but many factors could make that time period a whole lot shorter, right down to the Near Term Human Extinction timeline proposed by folks like Guy McPherson, who think Positive Feedback Loops will make the planet uninhabitable for multicellular life forms by Mid-Century or so.

Doesn't anyone else think the leap from max time for Earth's habitability to McPherson's mid-century estimate for total life extinction was made with too much ease?

The general idea here seems to be that human history is defined by the "bad guys" winning and the "good guys" losing in ever-larger increments, and now we have reached the point where all is lost. As usual, the hope is defined by what will happen to THEM. We might all go extinct soon, but at least we can be comforted by the fact that the evil Others will not stay in power too much longer. 

Believe me when I say, though, that I'm not trying to point the finger at collapse bloggers without also pointing the finger at myself. I've been responsible for my fair share of fostering this mentality as well.

Offline RE

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Re: Evolution of War
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2013, 05:34:52 PM »

There are definitely examples to both support and reject RE's description of ancient war.  I think a more comprehensive survey would need to be done to make generalizations.


Well, TOTAL Wipeout of an entire population of Adult Males probably stopped shortly after Ag Society got rolling for the most part, though there are examples in the Middle Ages, Vlad the Impaler in particular who would whack 10,000 people and put their heads on spikes, this in a time when 10K people was a Big City population comparatively speaking.

Anyhow, I do make some generalizations in order to keep the narrative running, while not perfectly precise I think it represents the general trend over the timeline involved, where "conquest" moved from the physical conquest of land to the economic conquest of a given nation-state.

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Offline Ka

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Re: Evolution of War
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2013, 05:44:54 PM »
There are definitely examples to both support and reject RE's description of ancient war.  I think a more comprehensive survey would need to be done to make generalizations.

What are some examples of the former? I can think of cases where a tribe moved in to take over another land area, like the Lombards in northern Italy, or the Turks in Anatolia, but even in these situations it wasn't a case of all the adult males being slaughtered and all women and children enslaved.

Offline RE

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Re: Evolution of War
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2013, 06:34:50 PM »
There are definitely examples to both support and reject RE's description of ancient war.  I think a more comprehensive survey would need to be done to make generalizations.

What are some examples of the former? I can think of cases where a tribe moved in to take over another land area, like the Lombards in northern Italy, or the Turks in Anatolia, but even in these situations it wasn't a case of all the adult males being slaughtered and all women and children enslaved.

Well, again this is really more a statistical argument, not so much the actual reality of EVERY last male being slaughtered, though I do think that occurred on Tribal levels early on, and you certainly can make the case that First Nations people were virtually exterminated by the Europeans.  You could look at how genetic populations were changed, say for instance the Norman conquest of England replacing the Anglo-Saxons on a statistical basis, not to mention disappearance of the Celts overall.

The important point is that at one time the end result of War was the physical conquest of a patch of land which was then used directly by the conquerors.  It evolved however to an abstract Economic conquest, where one are was exploited by the conqueror for the benefit of that society, at the expense of the other society.

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Offline RE

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Re: Evolution of War
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2013, 09:48:16 PM »

Was not aware of the "Four cycles" theory. This will come as a great blow to Jim Quinn,  For whom the “4 turnings” theory has become the gospel by which all other phenomena are evaluated.

You must have missed Panarchy & the One to the Many- The Final Countdown I published here on the Diner on October 13, 2012.  I reviewed Holling & Gundersun's theory in that article.  Jimski should also be aware of this, since as I recall I got him to Cross-Post it on TBP.  Maybe not though...that might be before we Buried the Hatchet.  I should have dropped a Link to that article into this one, I will do that now here on the Diner.  Doubtful Jimbo goes in and edits the TBP version for this though.

Jim is basically married to the Strauss & Howe theory, it is his Bible of Collapse.  I did argue with him on TBP at one point about the economic nature of this cycle, which he sort of grudgingly admitted MIGHT be valid.  You do have to credit S&H for being relatively precient, as this tome does predate most of the other Pundits and the Peak Oil community, which got rolling around 2004 or so I think (although of course the ideas were floating about going back to M. King Hubbert in the 1950s) .  Impossible to know whether it is derivative and S&H were aware of the work of Holling & Gundersun when they wrote The Fourth Turning, or whether they came up with their model completely independently.  The similarities in the models though are quite remarkable, so if it was independent I would say it rivals Newton and Leibiz independently working out the Calculus as a theoretical construct.

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Offline Ka

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Re: Evolution of War
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2013, 09:51:10 PM »

Well, again this is really more a statistical argument, not so much the actual reality of EVERY last male being slaughtered, though I do think that occurred on Tribal levels early on, and you certainly can make the case that First Nations people were virtually exterminated by the Europeans.  You could look at how genetic populations were changed, say for instance the Norman conquest of England replacing the Anglo-Saxons on a statistical basis, not to mention disappearance of the Celts overall.

Early on, yes, but basically the difference is between civilized and barbarians, so-called. Your example of the Normans doesn't work, though. Yes, the Angles and Saxons pushed the Celts away from what is now England, but the Celts haven't disappeared (they're called Irish now, mainly). But the Normans didn't replace the Anglo-Saxons -- if they did we'd be speaking French. They just took over as the ruling class.

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The important point is that at one time the end result of War was the physical conquest of a patch of land which was then used directly by the conquerors.  It evolved however to an abstract Economic conquest, where one are was exploited by the conqueror for the benefit of that society, at the expense of the other society.

I don't really see it this way. The Roman conquest of, say, Egypt, looks to me about the same as the British conquest of India. On the other hand, Hitler's attempt to conquer the Soviet Union was to depopulate it of Slavs, to be replaced by ethnic Germans. As I see it, the distinction to be made is between barbarian invasions which push out and/or massacre the natives (so including the European takeover of the western hemisphere, and the Hitler example), versus empires gaining more colonies. And there have been both all along, at least since Egyptian/Assyrian times. Many of the recent smaller wars have been of the former type, e.g., in the former Yugoslavia.

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Re: Evolution of War
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2013, 10:16:51 PM »

Early on, yes, but basically the difference is between civilized and barbarians, so-called.


It is interesting that the enslavement of societies via dominance first militarily and then economically is considered "civilized", while exterminating a population is considered "barbaric".  To me, both are pretty barbaric, and personally given choice between enslavement and death, overall death seems preferable unless the enslavement is fairly comfortable, as it has been here in the FSoA during the Age of Oil.

You are right the Norman Conquest wasn't a real good example, but the Celts were in fact pushed off their land in England and got left with just Ireland.  Then you have the example of Jews, who were just about completely eradicated from Russia during the Pogroms and nearly exterminated in the rest of Europe later by the Nazis.

Going back to Biblical times, it is pretty much impossible to know whether non-existent now groups like Hittites, Hamathites, Lehabim etc were assimilated or simply wiped out by conquerors.  Far as the Romans are concerned, they pretty much worked under the Economic Enslavement "Civilized" conquest method, and this overall did persist as the meme ever since, with the notable exception of course of the First Nations people on the NA/SA continents.

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Offline Surly1

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Re: Evolution of War
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2013, 03:10:23 AM »

Was not aware of the "Four cycles" theory. This will come as a great blow to Jim Quinn,  For whom the “4 turnings” theory has become the gospel by which all other phenomena are evaluated.

You must have missed Panarchy & the One to the Many- The Final Countdown I published here on the Diner on October 13, 2012.  I reviewed Holling & Gundersun's theory in that article.  Jimski should also be aware of this, since as I recall I got him to Cross-Post it on TBP.  Maybe not though...that might be before we Buried the Hatchet.  I should have dropped a Link to that article into this one, I will do that now here on the Diner.  Doubtful Jimbo goes in and edits the TBP version for this though.

Jim is basically married to the Strauss & Howe theory, it is his Bible of Collapse.  I did argue with him on TBP at one point about the economic nature of this cycle, which he sort of grudgingly admitted MIGHT be valid.  You do have to credit S&H for being relatively precient, as this tome does predate most of the other Pundits and the Peak Oil community, which got rolling around 2004 or so I think (although of course the ideas were floating about going back to M. King Hubbert in the 1950s) .  Impossible to know whether it is derivative and S&H were aware of the work of Holling & Gundersun when they wrote The Fourth Turning, or whether they came up with their model completely independently.  The similarities in the models though are quite remarkable, so if it was independent I would say it rivals Newton and Leibiz independently working out the Calculus as a theoretical construct.

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I don't even remember what I have said half the time . . .

Don't doubt that S&H are/were prescient.The theory of generational change is pretty compelling. Just seemed that JQ was using it as the social history of a unified field theory to explain EVERYTHING-- which will rub the new off any good theory.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Surly1

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Re: Evolution of War
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2013, 03:51:47 AM »
I'm not sure this article passes Ashvins criteria for avoiding “doomer clichés,”  but I enjoyed it.

Everything seems so radically simplified on here lately...

It's always about the evil Others who are victimizing the rest of us. I got around to reading other threads and was shocked that some were even defending terrorism by the victims of state-sponsored injustices.

//
The general idea here seems to be that human history is defined by the "bad guys" winning and the "good guys" losing in ever-larger increments, and now we have reached the point where all is lost. As usual, the hope is defined by what will happen to THEM. We might all go extinct soon, but at least we can be comforted by the fact that the evil Others will not stay in power too much longer. 

Believe me when I say, though, that I'm not trying to point the finger at collapse bloggers without also pointing the finger at myself. I've been responsible for my fair share of fostering this mentality as well.

Been thinking a lot in the last day about your observations, in which there is much truth.

In partial response I would offer this, written by Stephen Marche--

Quote
We have to hate the people in power because otherwise we might have to think about our own positions in the logistical chains of the various markets we inhabit. Who made your t-shirt, the one you are wearing right now? The chances are high that it was an underpaid worker, possibly even a child, in Bangladesh. Your phone? You want to find out how the rare earths that went into that phone were mined? Who picked the delicious tomato you will have on your chopped salad at lunch? Virtual slaves in Florida. And we'd better not discuss how you got to work this morning. Otherwise we might have to talk about oil production.


We are culpable as well, responsible for the choices-- and non-choices-- that we make. So if some writers point a finger of accusation at evil "others," it is with at least some awareness that we are responsible as well.

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

Julius Caesar
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline RE

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Re: Evolution of War
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2013, 04:06:32 AM »

We are culpable as well, responsible for the choices-- and non-choices-- that we make. So if some writers point a finger of accusation at evil "others," it is with at least some awareness that we are responsible as well.

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

Julius Caesar

Well, I think this provides a theme to explore for the first View from the Bugout Machine column.  ;)

Coming Next Sunday to a Laptop Near You.  :icon_sunny:

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