2012/07/25

I'm wondering...

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... whether my old thoughts were fine or am I just too rigid in my adherence to them?

It's been a constant for years that I'm a bit astonished by how much I like my really old blog posts. IIRC there's only one which I stealthily pulled from daylight, and the reason wasn't quality. Some others have become pointless because crucial graphics files were lost.

Anyway, my affection with my very old blog posts such as this one may have the two obvious explanations; either they're really good or I just cannot recognize my bad articles as such.

Let's look at the geostrategy blog post on Turkey; I still agree with it 100%. Sometime around the South Ossetia War a troll claimed the war to be evidence that my pick was wrong, but I wasn't able to follow his logic (him being a troll) since Turkey was the neighbouring Western key country in the conflict (which still chose to be less loud than the then-frustrated U.S. during the conflict).
Actually, later events have reinforced my impression that Turkey is a pivotal and increasingly independent country of great importance. (I'm still no fan of its EU membership ambitions, though.)


Let's have a contest in the comments section; let's find a really, really bad old pot. I don't mean "bad" as "I would have thought it was bad back when it was written", for there's almost always dissent. too much noise. I'm rather after learning which blog post aged especially poorly given the later development (maybe this?) or is in clear conflict with a later blog post.

I'll think about a prize later.

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5 comments:

  1. "... my impression that Turkey is a pivotal and increasingly independent country of great importance."

    Agreed 100% - BTW I am not Turkish.

    As far as bad old posts - no prize for me. But my guess would be your post in May regarding shape charges circa 1946. A few years late I think. Just a tad of internet research would have shown they were first used in hard rock mining back just prior to the 19th century. That discovery was also by a German, a mining engineer I believe. The real key to shape charges came later around the turn of the 19th century with the Munro effect - where a tin can liner (now copper I think) was added and it was first introduced as a weapon. American bazookas used shape charges throughout WW2.

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  2. You misunderstood the text about the shaped charges. The thing previously unknown to me was the early COMBINATION of shaped charge and penetrating bomb. This combo was promoted as the best thing since invention of sliced bread only about a decade ago, when the bunker busting craze began among major Western air forces.

    Suddenly, everybody wanted to have bunker busters with stand-of capability, but stand-off weapons are often subsonic, not ideal for penetration. Shaped charge precursors were the huge solution back then and it did 100% not make the appearance as if this had been an old WW2 innovation.

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  3. Your posts are usually well written, even if there is disagreement on some of the premises. So it was hard to find one. But you did surprise me with this post "Sun Tzu and Cities" http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.nl/2010/02/sun-tzu-and-cities.html

    (read the entire post again first, before continuing)

    "If troops lay siege to a walled city, their strength will be exhausted."

    "Therefore, the best warfare strategy is to attack the enemy's plans, next is to attack alliances, next is to attack the army, and the worst is to attack a walled city."

    You focused on the technological aspect, without mentioning the universality of the ideas behind the application. You are correct that people shouldn't copy-paste "solutions" from the classics. But there is a bigger idea behind his statement.

    "If troops lay siege to a walled city, their strength will be exhausted."

    "Therefore, the best warfare strategy is to attack the enemy's plans, next is to attack alliances, next is to attack the army, and the worst is to attack a walled city."

    Could also be understood as follows.
    "Therefore if you try to steal money using brute force from safes in houses with their owners still present, your strength will be exhausted."

    "Therefore the best way to get the other guys money is by striking a profitable business deal with him by selling him a good product or service, next is to cut of his access to your competitors, next is to rob him while he doesn't realize it or by surprise attack, and the worst is to have to fight him directly while he is prepared for a fight to get his money."

    I think Sun Tzu's point is to focus on the enemies pressure points, the focus being on the mental level and not to use blind brute force if it can be avoided.

    It could be I just misread your post and my point was so obvious that you didn't think it needed to be addressed. Nonetheless this really was a post that surprised me, because it is very different from your other posts (from my perspective).

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  4. I still look at it the same way. Sun Tzzu's advice was written under the condition that sieges would be sieges to starve the defenders out. Only a generation or two later sieges had become assaults with siege engines and techniques. Sieges would not last that long an more (which was a great problem because of the risk of an epidemic in the camp) and the conclusions by (IIRC) Sun Pi was a different one.

    You use Sun Tsu as an inspiration, as a starting point for your own thoughts. That's fine, but your thoughts are most likely not Sun Tzu's thoughts and it's for this reason not a good idea to attribute them to him (which is often done by people to add his credibility to their thoughts).

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  5. Ok it's a lot more clear now what you meant with the original post.

    A lot of classical texts use parables to convey ideas indirectly. The advantage is that many different ideas can be expressed simultaneously to many people at different levels of understanding. One could read a text over and over again and discover new insights for each reading.

    Quoting Sun Tzu would be good to inspire these thoughts and make people think by giving them the original parable, but yes they cannot be used to end arguments by claiming the authority of Sun Tzu.

    "Such is the risk of trusting old treatises on war."

    I first understood that to mean, that you thought the classics were near useless. But now it is clear you didn't mean it like that.

    "You use Sun Tsu as an inspiration, as a starting point for your own thoughts. That's fine, but your thoughts are most likely not Sun Tzu's thoughts and it's for this reason not a good idea to attribute them to him (which is often done by people to add his credibility to their thoughts)."

    And on sieges...

    V. Energy
    "10. In battle, there are not more than two methods of attack--the direct and the indirect;
    yet these two in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers.
    11. The direct and the indirect lead on to each other in turn. It is like moving in a circle--
    you never come to an end. Who can exhaust the possibilities of their combination?"
    I understood this to (also) mean that the advantage of the offensive (siege/occupation/...) over the defensive (anti-siege/guerrilla/...) and visa versa would endlessly circle one another.
    But of course I cannot prove this to be Sun Tzu's understanding as well. It likely isn't.

    To get back on topic. My issue with your original post would then only be that you could be more clear in expressing your position.
    I guess that is not good enough for a prize.

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