Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Why fight the West?

In doing some thinking, how often in the past few hundred years has the Western Culture been actually defeated, in pitched battle, with a non-western culture? I'm definitely on a Victor Davis Hanson vibe here- but my thinking is slightly different. I want an actual ratio of victories/defeats, rather than just examples of victories. I'm debating how far back I should go- to the Roman era? Or to the Pax Britannica era?

If I go with Pax Britannica era theres:
Isandlwana (Zulu Wars)
Chillianwalla (2nd Sikh War 1848-1949)
Little Big Horn (Plains Wars, Custer's Last Stand)
Adowa (Italy in Abyssinia)
Russo-Japanese War(1904-1905)
Pearl Harbor (1941)
Singapore (1941)
Dienbienphu (1954)
Franco-Algerian War (1954-1962)

An asides: I'm sure I don't have all of it listed, and if I don't please don't hesistate to let me know. I don't consider the Vietnam War to be an American defeat; the Americans never lost a battle against the Viet Minh and their NVA counterparts. You can thank the American media for their coverage of that war for the assumption of an American defeat. And the Israelis never lost in Lebanon, either. It was a political decision to leave in the late 1990's, which had little to do with the acutal military situation on the ground, which was largely static. Only the Palestinian terrorists turned it into a PR coup (which, btw, they do frequently to pretend that they actually did something). And Mogadishu was an American victory, as well. They achieved their objectives, despite having no armor and artillery. It was a mistake for the Islamofacists to bother copying the hit and run tactics of Mogadishu; the Israelis and Americans now only attack in urban situations with overwhelming force, or in precision raids that have local overwhelming force.

As one can note, the major victories are largely Japanese, and for good reason. The Japanese followed the west in their military planning and culture. They weren't afraid of building a military capable of fighting the west on their terms, and exploiting stupid mistakes by western commanders. Otherwise, in nearly all the other conflicts, the western commanders and political leaders made arrogant mistakes that lead to their downfalls. They underestimated their opposition, and essentially created their own defeats. If this is what the non-west can do against the west, why the hell did the Islamofacists bother attacking the United States? This isn't to say that there won't be setbacks in the War on Terror (there will be, like Madrid), but by and large, at the end of the day, the result will be the same as it was in nearly every other war that the west lost a battle in. The Zulu nation was defeated; the Sikhs were defeated; the Plains Indians were defeated; the Abyssinians were defeated in 1935-36; and the Japanese were defeated in 1945. Only the French never followed up on their military defeats in French Indochina (and the Americans did militarily defeat the Vietnamese; the media never let the homefront know about it) and in Algeria. Thus, Bin Laden and his cronies elsewhere in the greater Middle East will evnetually join a very long list of non-western cultures that have ended up on the ash heap of history by making the very stupid mistake of fighting the west.

And btw, before I get someone yapping at me about colonialism, I do not support any of the colonial wars in any way, shape, or form. I'm being an objective historian, so knock the PC crap off.


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