Skip to comments.Military Advantage in History
Posted on 08/06/2008 4:16:07 PM PDT by gandalftb
This paper examines the nature of military advantage by exploring the character of major hegemonic powers in history and seeks to gain a better understanding of what drives US military advantage; where US vulnerabilities may lie; and how the US should think about maintaining its military advantage in the future.
Case studies of Macedonia under Alexander the Great, Imperial Rome, the Mongols, and Napoleonic France compose the core of the analysis as they illustrate important themes that remain relevant to the US' position today.
The case studies focus on two key questions:
What were the sources of military advantage in history?
What made military advantage enduring or temporary in nature?
(Excerpt) Read more at motherjones.com ...
"The Roman model suggests that it is possible for the United States to maintain its military advantage for centuries if it remains capable of transforming its forces before an opponent can develop counter-capabilities. Transformation coupled with strong strategic institutions is a powerful combination for an adversary to overcome."
Thanks for the post.
Amen, especially considering the number of foreign mercenary/troops in the Roman legions, slow communication and transport, and capable enemies.
Is it the case that this small book-length piece has been published in the Mother Jones magazine, or is it available as a separate item from MJ?
Two (of many) extant points appear worth a quick comment - military advantage is not the only descriptor of a hegemon, nor was it for the Romans, whose political culture was at least as influential as its legions. Hegemony, therefore, must have military advantage among other influences in order to be complete.
In all three models, however, the Macedonian, Roman, and Mongol, the military was far more influential within its host society than the U.S. military is within its. There is peril here in analogy - the older Greek culture enjoyed a considerable cultural hegemony over both the Macedonians and the Romans, and the older Arab culture a similar cultural hegemony over the invading Mongols by way of religion (and the earlier Seljuk and the later Ottomsn Turks). Who then shall be declared master? Is there a similar European cultural hegemony over the United States, and what are the merits of the persistent complaints that it's working the other direction?
Clearly these are matters outside the scope of this paper. But any general application of power geopolitics cannot be restricted to military advantage if it is to begin to explain what appears to me to be an unprecedented world alignment. I suspect, though, that the "adapt or die" message of the paper might be applied very much beyond military advantage in this consideration.
Just some quick thoughts. More later after a thorough read.
No, not yet, they just scanned the actual doc into a pdf. If anyone gets a digital pdf, please post it and ping me, thanks. It will be a lot easier to read.
In those occupations, we projected power through NATO, which is more closely modeled on those many Roman Legions that rarely ever saw Rome were often foreign-speaking troops.
Roman control was cemented by Roman currency and Roman weights and measures. That forced Roman language and political culture which still endures.
Not sure I agree on the Macedonians, they were a rough, warlike, and crude culture within Greece and were rarely accepted into polite company.
Good points never-the-less, and this paper needs much study to get its points.
Thanks for the ping.
I haven’t read this yet, but it looks suitable for the Military History ping list
Thanks for the ping, Kevmo.
Military history ping
Interesting read. Thanks for the ping.
Thanks gandalftb for the topic and indcons for the ping."The Roman model suggests that it is possible for the United States to maintain its military advantage for centuries if it remains capable of transforming its forces before an opponent can develop counter-capabilities. Transformation coupled with strong strategic institutions is a powerful combination for an adversary to overcome."The Romans brought auxiliaries into their infrastructure, which kept potential enemies on the payroll and out of the reaving business, which was smart, and incorporating their battle tactics into the overall approach. Then, beginning with Augustus, half the Roman land forces (not counting the Praetorian Guard) were auxiliaries, and it didn't take many generations for the regular legions to fill up with ethnic groups from around Italy and the empire.
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“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.
I am unfamiliar with pdf, not having used it except to read stuff on-line. Is there any way to save this besides printing it out? I am unable to print at the moment.
The Adobe viewer that I use has an icon that looks like a diskette at the upper left (next to the printer icon). When you pass the cursor over it, it says 'save file as'. Click on it, then save like you would any file.