December 18, 2005

Bikini Calculus


December 10, 2005

The purpose of War

Response to NNCon's post, in comments section.

His idea of a world government banning war was certainly attractive, and is difficult to give up even today, when it has proven untenable.

I've been kicking this idea around for awhile, and I've begun to start seeing war as a test.

Not as a test of who is right or wrong, more or less powerful, but simply with whom lies the best chances for human success.

That has aspects, but only aspects, of power and rightness.

One of the questions that lead to this conclusion is why does it take a war that ends up blowing up the planet, to unite it?

Why does war show the best and worst sides of human nature?

It looks to me, that while there are various human reasons to fight wars, it still doesn't explain why humans fight wars in the first place.

If you quote Clausewitz, then war is the prosecution of political objectives by other means. If I recalled that correctly. Even then, it leaves the question of what is the point to political objectives.

Wars, in themselves, tend to have a winner and a loser. Almost all of the time. Even in Vietnam. the Vietcong won, and the VIetnamese people lost. Because what is good for a people or a nation, doesn't necessary become manifest if a particular side wins.

Vietnam is a good example, Russia would be another in WWII. All cases of where patriotic men and women fought and died, for dictators that killed far more of their own people's families than any foreigners would have.

So war is obviously not a test of patriotism (Hitler's assassination, attempted by Von Stauffenberg) nor a test of national will (WWI German cease fire due to political reasons) nor of who is right morally or stronger militarily (Stalin was wrong morally and the US was stronger militarily).

So what is it a test of, if it is a test of anything?

I believe it is a test of who has the best chances for bringing a collected group of people through survival challenges.

Using the HG wells connection, Wells banned warfare when the planet was united. Obviously if this happens, it would not be because human nature had changed, so what would have changed?

I postulate that what had changed was the creation of the general perception that one side simply was tougher, stronger, smarter, and more powerful. In otherwords, all the right qualities to engender a feeling of loyalty or trust in leadership of a faction or a person. Human society, built around a heirarchy, tends to revolve around leadership. As such, wars are the ultimate test of leadership. With the risks and rewards being great because that is the only way to test real leadership. Hence, the worst and best sides of human nature become evident. Nobility, self-sacrifice, teamwork, loyalty, duty, cohesion, courage, etc. And also the worst, cowardice, betrayal, backstabs, dishonorable conduct, murder, mayhem, slavery, theft, rape, burning etc.

So in a way, it is like a tournament system. With the winners fighting the other winners. (Russia vs Germany) vs (US vs Japan)

The timing is a bit weird, however. As was the case in WWII. If Japan had won against the US, and Russian had won against Germany. Russia would have taken over Britain eventually. Leaving Russia facing off with Japan eventually. The same was the case with Russia defeating Germany and US defeating Japan, US vs Russia. The winners face off, to decide the final superpower. The final leader, the leader of the human race to so to speak.

And if the human world was left in tatterns, then that escalates the need for an ultimate leader in HG Well's scenario. However, depending on technology, a leader might not influence all that great an area. Only with global communications, the ability to project force using nuclear silos, orbital bombardment (oh wait, we hadn't acquired those yet), and aircraft carriers is the concept of "global leadership" in existence.

A world shattered by nuclear annihilation, would be brought back to the feudal ages, unless there was a faction that stored and hoarded technology, infrastructure, and etc that elevated themselves above the rest. That faction would most likely have belonged to one side, and therefore that side would claim victory in its real sense, in the sense that it gives them a leadership role. If there were factions on both sides, you would probably have another war (version two) after they had reconstructed themselves and met. That is just how humans and human warfare are designed from a conceptual framepoint. There must be a victor, and for there to be a victor, one side has to lose.

So what about Wells and other liberals who abhor the violence of war? Well, I do believe many people abhor the violence of childbirth and the risk to their wives, but nontheless still cherish the resultant baby. If reality dictates your fate, no one can truly refuse and still be the same. As such, war wouldn't be war if there were no risks, no violence, no death, and no loss. The whole point is to see who is weaker, who can better leader, who ultimately has the greater leadership qualities. But leadership isn't just the sum of its parts. So you just can't tally up this, that, or the other like an accountant problem. War is greater than the sum of its parts, strategy is greater than the sum of its parts, esprit de corps the same, and the same for valor. It has to be, because it is the test to see to whom lies the greatest amount and talent for leadership. And you can't test for valor, if the test contains nothing of valor, now can you.

His idea of a world government banning war was certainly attractive, and is difficult to give up even today, when it has proven untenable.

The idea of a world government is not truly untenable. As Sun Tzu said, organizing many men is the same thing as organizing a few men, just scale the difference. So a Sergeant leads a 10 man squad. To lead a 100 men, have 10 sergeants each said a 10 man squad. Then add the officers, and etc.

Such is the case for world leadership, in parallel. All you have to do is to have a Global War to determine, for once and for all, the leader of the human race. No buts, no ands, no rebels, and no secession crises. Who thinks a war such as that requires little to no sacrifice, no use of nuclear weapons, and a minimum of 10 years? In reality, it would likely require billions of lives lost, 50 to 100 years of continuous on and off again warfare and conquest, as well as liberal use of nuclear weapons against those that don't have them.

That'll decimate and unite anybody. As such, if a person really really wants a world government, he can have one, he just has to sacrifice a couple of billion people. There is another way to form a world government, but that is the Co-Dominion model. Imagine Soviets teamed up with America to divide the world, and avoid a nuclear confrontation. S.M Stirling's the Prince spells that out pretty well and clearly.

The Romans were quite willing to face the consequences of their expansion, although they were not faced with numbers of that great a scale. Still, the Romans faced them off man to man, and 50,000 barbarians staring you in the face across the field is nothing to sneeze at.

And after a world government had been achieved, there would be no need to ban warfare, as there would be no purpose to it. Everything would be settled through the courts, people would slash tires to prevent voters from going to vote for etc. All supported by the only military on the Earth, literally. Of course, the lack of warfare only continues to the point until humanity starts colonizing stars and the "world government" now tries to control TWO worlds. You see the logical continuation. Revolution all over again, British colonies, Islamic Terror, holy christ amondo. Human nature let out of the woodworks.

People who want to ban warfare? They don't know what the hell they are talking about. Might as well ban the archetype "charismatic leader" in the human genome. You can do it, but you'd have to change human genetics in the doing.

"[T]he question whether it is still possible to bring about an outbreak of creative sanity in mankind, to avert this steady glide to destruction, is now one of the most urgent in the world."
Perhaps Wells might consider why has humanity propagated to be the dominant species on this planet, only to nuke ourselves to oblivion. Humans, believe it or not, are quite hard to kill. They are easier to kill than infrastructure, but still. This is another one of those complex ideas I'm starting to get a grasp on, why human ingenuity won't lead to absolute destruction defacto.

"Nevertheless, the fact remains that it is in the labour class, and the labour class alone, that any conception of a world rule and a world peace has so far appeared. "
This guy should have studied "Thermopyles" and the Xenophon's 10,000, as well as the entire history of the Roman Empire. First, Second, and Third Punic Wars. He might have found his "concept of a world rule and a world peace" through that instead of the non-existent international labor. This is what happens when you let Socialism into the intellectual sphere, it tends to corrupt talent. Which he should have realized if he understood himself more. Psychological attacks and intellectual methods (i.e. Cold War) still work, even if nukes will kill everyone.