April 03, 2005

History repeats itself

As I am watching the History Channel, I cannot help but notice the similarities and the truth in the saying that history repeats itself. Though of course, not quite the way it happened in the first place.

The Carthaginians in the Second Punic War, tried to play the Roman Republic against Hannibal for political purposes while at the same time trying to use Hannibal's military talents to push back the Romans. They did this in witholding much needed reinforces that Hannibal needed to obtain victory in Italy. Hannibal did not get defeated in his Italian campaign, but his troops were slowly whittled down to about 12,000, a tenth of his original 100,000. The Carthaginians soon came to regret that decision at Zama, when Hannibal did not have enough experienced troops from his Italian campaign to defend his homeland. Hannibal was loyal to Carthage, Carthage however, was not loyal to Hannibal.

So ended a trading Empire that tried to play their enemies against each other, never standing united.

Around 500 A.D., Attila the Hun invades the Western Roman Empire with his 20 years of tribute that he acquired from Constantinople. After going through the Gauls, Attila is met and defeated by his childhood friend that was a hostage at his father's court, who led the Roman legions and their Visigoth allies against Attila. But instead of pursuing and destroying Attila's Huns, the Roman commander let them go in hopes of using the Huns to defeat the Visigoths in the future. Both the Visigoths and the Huns were barbarians, a threat to the Eastern ROman Empire. Again, such attempts to play sides off of each other instead of consolidating your position with what you got and who are loyal to you, ended with catastrophe.

Again, the Empire fell because they tried to play sides. Both Carthage and Constantinople tried to bribe their way out, they paid Danegeld. And in doing so, condemned themselves to destruction. Constantinope signed a peace treaty with Attila, and allowed him to mobilize against the Western Roman Empire, almost destroying it utterly. When Constantinople needed help from the Islamists, the Western Roman Empire was no long there because of their defeats to the barbarians.

And as history dictated. Those who pay danesgeld, are not worthy of survival or of the responsibility of power.

In this World War on Terror, we see plenty of nations willing to pay danegeld in return for temporary safety. They would be destroyed, if the world acted through their will rather than the will of the new American hegemony. They should be grateful, but they are simply complicit in betraying us to the barbarians.

Every civilization has their barbarians, just as we do. And every civilization will become weak over time, as more of more of the citizenry and leaders know nothing of war but living fat off the land.

When the Italians pay the terroists ransom money, when the Spanish pull their troops out of Iraq when they were bombed, when the French are pathetically grateful to have their journalists back in return for tribute, that should be the beginning of their doom. But there is a chance it will not. There is a chance, unlike Carthage, Rome, and all other civilizations in history, that these weak civilizations will be protected by a stronger, worthier civilization that still honors duty and sacrifice over money and corruption. However, for that chance to succede, an injustice must be perpetrated upon the strong.

The stronger civilization must protect the weaker. It is required to break the chain of historic cyclic events. Even if the weaker civilizations being protected, are providing every support imaginable to the barbarians. It would be like the Western Roman Empire defeating the Huns at Champagne, and then protecting the Eastern Roman Empire from both the Huns, every other barbarian, and the Islamists as well. In such a scenario, the Western Roman Empire would have maintained civilization, knowledge, reading, sanitation, and all the other wonders of civilization. But they would have had to reward those that betrayed Rome by protecting Attila's supply lines with a peace treaty.

Like giving Russia a UN seat even though Russia signed a treaty of non-aggression with Hitler and divided up the spoils of the Poland conquest between them. Like giving France a UN seat, even though French forces were the first ones the US fought in Africa and where the Invasion of Normandy cost many lives that wouldn't have been lost if France had not surrendered.

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