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How Islam led to world wars

Posted by Picard578 on July 2, 2018

Islam has, maybe not directly caused, but definitely set into motion events which ultimately led to the World Wars. In short, Islamic expansion cut off trade routes to the East and forced Europe to (eventually) turn to Atlantic. This led to discovery of the New World, which was then settled, giving rise to great colonial empires (and also heavy-duty slavery, started by islamic merchants selling slaves to Europeans – not that it was anything new at the time, slavery existed even in Merovingian Empire). Colonialism and colonial competition (not directly nationalism, as is often said) then caused global conflicts: Seven Years War, Napoleonic Wars, World War I and World War II. Specifically, Seven Years War led to Napoleonic Wars. Napoleonic Wars eventually helped cause national unification of Germany, which became industrial power, leading it to conflict with West over the colonies, which led to World War I. World War I was never properly wrapped up, and so caused World War II.

Islam has appeared in 7-th century, after a man by name of Muhammad decided he is not rich enough and decided to dupe a bunch of people with God to pillage for him. He was supremely successful, and Islam spread rapidly. Within decades, whole of Middle East and North Africa were conquered. Eventually, in 15th century, Ottoman Emirate captured Constantinople. Islam also invaded Central Asia, cutting off the overland route to the East. Afterwards, islamic armies continued their advance westward until finally being stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1683., specifically on September 11, 1683. Old overland route for trade with East now went through islamic territory. But in 1492., Spanish finally liberated the pennisula from islamic occupation, and Cristopher Columbus went sailling West to find the new passage East. This led to discovery of Americas.

Europe itself (in geopolitical terms) is product of Islam. Up until the expansion of Islam, there was no “European” civilization, but Mediterranean one, primarily centered around Eastern Mediterranean and tightly connected to the Fertile Crescent and through it to India and China. Greek civilization is a product of Egyptian one, Greek philosophers and artists had been to Egypt (as is obvious when comparing art: kuros, and other early Greek art, shows clear Egyptian influences). There was in fact an entire civilizational system along the Silk Road: Rome/Greece – Persia – India – China – Korea – Japan.

Islam destroyed all of it. It conquered Arabia, Near East (Middle East for Americans), Northern Africa, Persia and parts of India. It conquered as far as Soviet -stans. This last act in particular severed the Silk Road, and forced Europe to look West. First came expansion northwards: into British islands, Germany, Scandinavia and Russia (Byzantines), turning former Mediterranean civilization into European one, and giving birth to modern Europe. Then, after the route through Central Asia was severed, came the western expansion: Americas, and later Australia, Africa and Asia. Balance of power and trade shifted from Mediterranean to Atlantic, and this led to global expansion and first wave of globalization. It is not incorrect to say that European colonialism is a product of Islam.

This colonialism in turn led to a series of wars. First came the Seven Years War. This war was what made Britain into great power, but it was initiated by a conflict over colonies between Britain and France. Conflict started in 1754. when British attacked French positions in North America, and – much like World War II – it quickly spread to encompass most of Europe and much of the world into what became the first world war. The war ended in expansion of British Empire and destabilization of France, which ultimately led to the French Revolution and the next global conflict – Napoleonic Wars.

Napoleonic Wars are a continuation of French Revolution, itself caused by the Seven Years War. French Revolution did not last long, and as revolutions are prone to doing, it soon turned into a dictatorship by Napoleon Bonaparte. French expansion, even though it started from wars of self-defense, destabilized the continent and threatened other powers. This destruction of balance of power precluded peaceful settlement, and ensured that wars started in the Revolution would continue, both in Europe and in French colonies. After 10 years of Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon was defeated, borders redrawn, and both Europe and the world were free from major conflicts for next hundred years.

First and Second World Wars follow a nearly identical pattern. First World War was started by a conflict over colonies – rising Germany wanted resources and slaves to exploit, and established Britain and France did not want to give up their own resources and slaves. This led to formation of various alliances, which after some shuffling settled into well-known Triple Entente and Central Powers. The entire continent was a powder bag, and was easily set off by a single spark provided by Serb imperialist activists. The war led to dissolution of German, Austrian, Ottoman and Russian Empires, but solved little – colonies and colonial powers remained, and heavy-handed peace terms forced on Germany bred resentment.

World War II was little more than delayed epilogue of World War I. Germany, humiliated by the peace treaty – very different from light handling France received post-Napoleon – vied for a revenge. This in turn destabilized and illegitimized the Wiemar Republic, and everything was worsened by the Great Depression. Nazism was little but expression of uncertainty and insecurity caused by this, even if expressed in extreme terms (and even then, it was much less extreme back in 1930s than it seems today). In Asia, Japan itself embarked onto colonialist route, placing it at collision course with established colonial powers. Overall, Nazism, militarism etc. that are typically listed as causes of World War II were largely incidental – true cause of war was, again, colonialism.

Overall, Islam caused European colonialism, and European colonialism caused world wars. Normally stated causes of world wars such as nationalism are at best minor, if not irrelevant. Likewise, it is doubtful that United Nations, EU and other such institutions prevented World War III. It is unclear whether World War III had even been prevented in the first place – between 1814. and 1914. there were 100 years, whereas World War II happened “only” 73 years ago. However, if it had been prevented, it was not due to European Union. What prevented next European conflict was decolonization and transfer of balance of power from Europe to North America and, now, Pacific-Indian ring. Post-World War II Europe and its powers are simply not important enough to warrant a continent-wide conflict, and even if such a conflict had happened, they would not have had the power or influence to drag the rest of the world into war with them. If there is next world war – a prospect more likely than many think, thanks to globalized economy – it will begin in the Pacific.


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Quality and quantity

Posted by Picard578 on June 8, 2013


In modern materialistic society, where value of everything – including human life – is considered in monetary terms, many people see more complex and more expensive weapons as being automatically more capable than cheaper weapons, thus justifying the costs. Defense spending proponents argue that “nothing is too good for troops”, thus justifying procurement of ultraexpensive weapons. In reality, more expensive is not automatically better – if there is no discipline to specify what is important and stick to it, mounting requirements will start requiring very heavy trade-offs, thus compromising specifications in primary mission.

For example, battle rifle has to have powerful round capable of reaching long ranges, which also means lot of recoil; this means that bolt-action and semi-automatic rifles are best for that role. Assault rifle’s primary requirement is to put lots of rounds down the range quickly, enabling suppressive fire, which does not allow for powerful rounds. As infantry combat has, ever since World War I, usually happened at ranges of 100 meters and below, it can be seen that assault rifle, and not battle rifle, is best suited for standard infantry weapon, with bolt-action and semi-automatic rifles being relegated to special roles. Yet for person who does not understand reality of infantry combat, bolt-action rifles with their very long range may seem superior to assault rifles.

Thus only way to see what works and what not is to study combat data, over long period, and understand what makes an effective weapon. That is what I am going to do here.

Lanchester laws

While in ancient combat, where lines of soldiers fought, each unit of army that was outnumbered by factor of 2 had to be twice as effective as each unit of outnumbering army in order for it to break even (or, as more commonly said, force a stalemate), that does not hold true in modern combat.

Modern combat is a ranged affair, and individual units are highly mobile, and no not fight in relatively static formations. Result is that combat between units becomes several-on-one affair, unlike phalanx’ one-on-one affair, which automatically means that equation is different; no longer does army outnumbered by 2:1 have to have two times as effective units, but four times as effective. It is not always applicable, as ground combat (particularly infantry combat) still faces force-size-to-area constraints, so exponent is often adjusted to 1,5.

But while it would appear to give large advantage to quantity, there are times where numerically inferior force won over numerically superior one. These victories, however, could only very rarely to never be attributed to quality of weapons alone.

Quality versus quantity – a false dilemma

This lack of understanding among general populace, and even many military personnell, has led to definition of effectiveness as “how loaded with high technology this weapon is”. Hugely costly weapons are being justified under “troops deserve the best”, “we can’t win the war with inferior weapons”. But while at first look it would seem a reasonable assumption, reality is often that, when combined with above-mentioned lack of understanding of combat, it results in costlier weapons that are less effective than cheaper ones, both individually and as a system. Still, in some cases more effective weapon also is more costly and expensive; such is case with air-to-ground precision-guided munitions when compared to dumb munitions dropped from same altitude.

Quality vs quantity through history Read the rest of this entry »

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