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Insightful Observations of History

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Hello all,

I'd like to have a thread where we share stuff we've read/seen that's board relevant which we feel allows a better understanding of historical developments or that succinctly describes cultural/military/social/etc. trends. This can be either in the form of just quotes (if they're self explanatory enough by themselves) or further exposition about the point you're making.

On my end, after reading On War by Clausewitz, I've frequently reflected back on how universally true many of his observations about armed conflict are.

For example, he makes a point about how violence in war - both throughout history and in any specific war - naturally tends to increase the more protracted a conflict becomes. This is because the first side to escalate the brutality of their conduct in battle gains an advantage over their opponent, thereby provoking their opponent to do the same (or inducing the opponent to escalate brutality first, through the simple fear they could otherwise lose the advantage by waiting.) I've always thought that was an incredibly relevant observation in looking at military history.

While we're on the topic of Clausewitz, I liked his idea that the most important requirement for waging was successfully is in marshaling the violent impulse of the nation. Failures in this explain cases where a belligerent gave up a conflict despite having the upper hand in every other way.

To provide another point I have mulled over since first reading it is from Adam Smith in "The Wealth of Nations." I feel his overview of why currency is a fundamental component of building a society (and precious metals natural value in facilitating systems of exchange) was very illuminating (that feels a little pretentious to write, but I'm trying to bump with content because I'm really, really interested in seeing what other people have to say.)

I'm going to look for that passage to see if I can post it.
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That's very, very true. If the people of your nation have no willpower to pursue a conflict, you've lost despite any advantage you may have over the opponent.

That's always seemed super relevant to me looking at the Civil War; the South just had to not lose, they didn't have to win. They needed to have inflicted enough morale damage on the North to make the Yankee population too weary to fight, despite their massive number and industrial advantages.

Haha, I'm also posting paintings with a degree of expression on purpose.
I know this board is meant to discuss the past, but I believe discussing military theory is timeless.

In todays globalized society, how does a Nation go about assuming the role of the dominant nation. The United States only gained this status due to Europe exhaustion during the war and the collapse of the Soviets, leaving them the strongest, but times have changed since then. Nuclear weapons have changed the rules of the game, now any form of large scale conflict posses the risk of annihilating the human race. Are we doomed to live in a multipolar world or can a new dominant force circumvent the idea of nukes and establish a new hegemony over the nations of earth?

Found the passage I was talking about.

>"... when the division of labour first began to take place, this power of exchanging must frequently have been very much clogged and embarrassed in its operations. One man, we shall suppose has more of a certain commodity than he himself has occasion for, while another has less. The former... would be glad to dispose of; and the latter to purchase, a part of this superfluity. But if this latter should chance to have nothing that the former stands in need of, no exchange can be made between them.

>"The butcher has more meat in his shop than he himself can consume, and the brewer and the baker would each of them be willing to purchase a part of it. But they have nothing to offer in exchange, except the different productions of their respective trades, and the butcher is already provided with all the bread and beer which he has immediate occasion for. No exchange can, in this case, be made between them. He cannot be their merchant, nor they his customers; and they are all of them thus mutually less serviceable to one another.

>" In order to avoid the inconveniency of such situations, every prudent man in every period of society; after the first establishment of division of labour; must naturally have endeavoured to manage his affairs in such a manner, as to have at all times by him, besides the peculiar produce of his own industry, a certain quantity of some one commodity or other, such as he imagined few people would be likely to refuse in exchange for the produce of their industry.

I think on of the prevailing theories is that we've entered a period of economic warfare becoming the primary way of deciding conflicts between major powers. It's too dangerous to provoke armed conflict with first world nations, because of the risk of mutual destruction, so the world powers will be fighting proxy wars, conducting cyber warfare, and trying to reduce the influence of their rivals in the marketplace.

Just look at the relationship of the U.S. and China. U.S. media paints China as an international bogeyman aimed at destroying our way of life, yet they're one of our largest and most important trading partners.

Next step could be the rise of importance of space economy and then controlling that. A faction could potentially have hegemony over massive ammounts of resources.

Complete conjecture at this point.
">They have a very wrong Notion of Government, who say, that the People have encroached upon the Prerogative, when they have got any part of it to be defined by positive Laws. For in so doing, they have not pulled from the Prince any thing that of right belong'd to him, but only declared, that that Power which they indefinitely left in his, or his Ancestors, hands, to be exercised for their good, was not a thing, which they intended him, when he used it otherwise.

>"For the end of government being the good of the Community, whatsoever alterations are made in it, tending to that end, cannot be an encroachment upon any body: since no body in Government can have a right tending to any other end.

Based John Locke.
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