Comments: Classic Blunders Dept.

Long live Vizzini! Too bad he died.

Point of order on "Never get into a Land war in Asia". The historical facts on this topic are: with the exception of the entire Vietnamese mess [French and US both]the basic rule on land wars in Asia is: Western Armies annihilate Eastern Ones. Now, we have to take Hun and Mongol as 'western' for this arguement to fully work , but they are certainly not 'eastern' in location or outlook.

Let's look at the last century of Chinese military expereince: After getting thorouoghly drubbed by Charlton Heston [Gordon, actually] in the 19th century, they ran up against him again [ably supported by David Niven] at the siege of Peking! Most people do not realize that the Peking Relief Expedition fought its way though 10 times its number of regular troops armed with modern weapons - with almost no casualties. Some years later, Mao's Peoples' Army spends most of its effort on the squalid forces of the Nationalists and [wisely] avoids the Japanese.

The Russo-Japanes war of 1905 seems to be an anolmaly until you notice that the Japanese were far more modern and 'western' in their tactics and equipment [they appear to have paid attention to the US Civil War] than the antiquated armies of the Czar.

Although tough and determined, the Chinese and Jaspanese armies of the mid-20th century were utterly destroyed by their American opponents. In each case inital successes were followed by disastrous defeats [less than 10% of the Chinese 19th Route Army remained alive after the Korean War]. Once complacency [or near-psychosis in the case of MacArthur] fades, the armies of the West have been not merely victorious, but overwheming.

The special case of the Viet Nam war offers this collorary: Superior tactical and operational art are no match for excellent strategy, pursued with unwavering vigor. War was forever proven to be a contest of wills, above all. However, it should be noted that those pundits believed that no military victory was possible in Viet Nam were obviously not heeded by the North Vietnamese General Staff.

The bottom line is that land wars in Asia are emminently winnable - but not always quick and easy, and we seem to have developed a taste for quick & easy warfare.


Posted by OldFan at January 20, 2004 03:21 PM