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How and Why did Western Civilization Dominate the world??

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posted on Dec, 31 2016 @ 08:55 AM
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a reply to: JoshuaCox

Yes they suffered some reverses, but one battle does not win a war. Indeed, it has been said of the British that the only battle they ever won was the last one.

Your response has left me wondering exactly what your definition of "total war" is. I get the distinct impression that you are confusing "total war" with wars of annihilation. Or perhaps, simply being warlike.

"Total war" is where all aspects of a state's economy are directed toward the war effort. It also allows for direct attacks on civilian targets as all aspects of the hostile state's economy are considered vital to its war effort and therefore are in essence considered military. The American civil war is generally considered to be the first modern example of this, yet, once victory had been achieved, the North did not set out to annihilate the southern population. You mention Britain's defeat of Kwazulu; while this was an unjustified and unprovoked attack, it simply can not be considered an example of "total war." Britain had allocated a relatively small force to the expedition while the Zulu did not have the infrastructure to bring the full force of its economy to bear and as a result could only maintain its forces in the field for a very short time, mere days if memory serves. The Zulu warrior only had what food he could carry and once that was exhausted, he was forced to retire. And again, once victory had been gained, the British did not set out to eradicate the Zulu and they remain a force in South African politics today. Someone in the comments implied that Shaka Zulu learned his empire building skills from the West. I would dispute this and argue that Shaka built his empire quite independently and only encountered exploring Europeans toward the end of his reign. There is an opinion in the historiography, that Shaka did wage wars of extermination and was so effective in this that when the Boer settlers first arrived in what is now known as the Transvaal, there was no one there. The territory had been completely cleared. This is of course disputed, as at the very least, there would have been hunter-gatherer bands, the Xhosa for example, roaming the wilderness, however their population density was quite sparse.

You also mention the Punic wars, fought between Rome and Carthage and here you are somewhat correct. Rome did wage what could be considered "total war", however Carthage did not. In the final acts of that war, when Hannibal requested the resources to lay siege to Rome, (he brought no siege equipment with him), the Carthaginian leadership baulked at the costs and refused. As you pointed out, despite her losses Rome was determined not to concede, whatever the costs. Rome prevailed and then waged a war of annihilation and salted and ploughed Carthage into the ground.

Unfortunately, historians all to often marks points in history around battles and wars. But there is good reason for this, we mark the rise and fall of empires and cultures by the battles they won and lost. This is not limited to Western cultures. Empires grew out of conquest all over the globe, and in attempting to tease out why some were more successful than others, it is simply reductionist to suggest that one was simply more warlike than the other. They are all warlike so therefore we must look past the armies and examine how those armies were enabled, resourced and motivated. That is the societies that supported them.

In my first response to your question, I outlined four areas which contributed to the rise of the West. Let me contrast some of those with some other powers that were extant at that time. The Ottoman empire at its height extended to to the gates of Vienna. The Ottomans were conquerors and for a time probably boasted the best army in the world, however, as a Sultanate and therefore a "limited access order" state, advancement within in the empire severely restricted and nepotistic. Its army and bureaucracy were peopled by slaves, and this had far reaching consequences for the empire's ability to innovate. What difference did it make to a slave whether there was a better way to do a job or not? Succession to the throne was accomplished by fratricide. Together, these led to an environment that discouraged investment and the Ottomans went into decline.

A question often asked, is why the industrial revolution happened in Britain and not in Japan. Both are island chains off the coast of a large continental landmass. Both have similar populations, both were literate and numerate and both had stable and prosperous economies. A reductionist, yet pointed answer, is their various political and economic systems. Japan was a feudal absolutist state, where in Britain the first philosophies around liberal democracy were taking hold. Britain rewarded success in trade, whereas Japan's merchants, no matter how rich and successful were considered beneath the dignity of the Samurai and noble orders. I mention Japan, specifically because, once she was confronted with the West, she quickly determined to take on the the trappings and technologies of the West, in order that she might compete and survive. So much so, she was able to give the Allies a good run for their money in WW2. Should the US have dropped the bombs? I do not agree with the rhetoric that suggest the Japanese would have fought for every stone. The war was effectively and literally lost; Japan had neither a military nor merchant navy remaining, no effective air force and precious little food left. This, it could be argued, with some merit, demonstrates a Western bloodlust. However, it must be considered that the US had invested a fortune in its atomic program and really wanted to try it out. Also, the program depended on a society that had the economic capability of generating the resources necessary for research and development. The development of these weapons can also be considered the next logical step in the constant battle between sword and shield and indeed, some International Relations scholars believe nukes are now a shield from aggression.

Sorry for the rambling reply, I'm supposed to be on holidays


Happy New Year and peace to you and yours!!

Feoil
edit on 31/12/16 by feoil because: Errata




posted on Dec, 31 2016 @ 09:53 AM
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a reply to: feoil




he war was effectively and literally lost; Japan had neither a military nor merchant navy remaining, no effective air force and precious little food left. This, it could be argued, with some merit, demonstrates a Western bloodlust. However, it must be considered that the US had invested a fortune in its atomic program and really wanted to try it out


1. The damage of those bombs was not any greater in loss of life than other firebombing campaigns.
2. Japan could have surrendered earlier, from what I understand the US wanted an unconditional surrender, japan would not accept. Japan knows the end is coming, they knew it, we knew it, they were the aggressors. They were too prideful.
3. Japan surrendered in large due to the encroaching soviets. They did understand that being under US occupation was much more preferable than the soviets.

This is a bit off topic though.



posted on Dec, 31 2016 @ 10:26 AM
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a reply to: jellyrev

I am not sure that this is entirely off topic. I believe the OP is trying to establish whether Western culture is more warlike than any other. What I have attempted to show is that empire building requires more than military advantage but is more dependant on a dynamic and innovative society, which in turn depend on political and economic considerations.

The Japanese example was used as a non-western example of a state that had successfully adapted to the environment created by the west. It also shows that being warlike is not limited to the West and in terms of the Chinese theatre of WW2, Japan was certainly the aggressor.

On your more "off topic" points, firstly, while the European firebombing campaigns were as deadly, they required a fleet to deliver. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were delivered by a single aircraft. Secondly, for most of the war Japan and the Soviets maintained a non-aggression pact, which the Soviets only broke toward the end of the war with the liberation of Manchuria. In fact, after the fall of Okinawa, the Japanese had been sending out peace feelers through its embassy in Moscow, which those warlike Westerners [back on topic
] refused to listen to. Their only condition was the maintenance of the office of Emperor, which the US eventually allowed them anyway.



posted on Jan, 1 2017 @ 04:36 PM
link   

originally posted by: feoil
a reply to: JoshuaCox

Yes they suffered some reverses, but one battle does not win a war. Indeed, it has been said of the British that the only battle they ever won was the last one.

Your response has left me wondering exactly what your definition of "total war" is. I get the distinct impression that you are confusing "total war" with wars of annihilation. Or perhaps, simply being warlike.

"Total war" is where all aspects of a state's economy are directed toward the war effort. It also allows for direct attacks on civilian targets as all aspects of the hostile state's economy are considered vital to its war effort and therefore are in essence considered military. The American civil war is generally considered to be the first modern example of this, yet, once victory had been achieved, the North did not set out to annihilate the southern population. You mention Britain's defeat of Kwazulu; while this was an unjustified and unprovoked attack, it simply can not be considered an example of "total war." Britain had allocated a relatively small force to the expedition while the Zulu did not have the infrastructure to bring the full force of its economy to bear and as a result could only maintain its forces in the field for a very short time, mere days if memory serves. The Zulu warrior only had what food he could carry and once that was exhausted, he was forced to retire. And again, once victory had been gained, the British did not set out to eradicate the Zulu and they remain a force in South African politics today. Someone in the comments implied that Shaka Zulu learned his empire building skills from the West. I would dispute this and argue that Shaka built his empire quite independently and only encountered exploring Europeans toward the end of his reign. There is an opinion in the historiography, that Shaka did wage wars of extermination and was so effective in this that when the Boer settlers first arrived in what is now known as the Transvaal, there was no one there. The territory had been completely cleared. This is of course disputed, as at the very least, there would have been hunter-gatherer bands, the Xhosa for example, roaming the wilderness, however their population density was quite sparse.

You also mention the Punic wars, fought between Rome and Carthage and here you are somewhat correct. Rome did wage what could be considered "total war", however Carthage did not. In the final acts of that war, when Hannibal requested the resources to lay siege to Rome, (he brought no siege equipment with him), the Carthaginian leadership baulked at the costs and refused. As you pointed out, despite her losses Rome was determined not to concede, whatever the costs. Rome prevailed and then waged a war of annihilation and salted and ploughed Carthage into the ground.

Unfortunately, historians all to often marks points in history around battles and wars. But there is good reason for this, we mark the rise and fall of empires and cultures by the battles they won and lost. This is not limited to Western cultures. Empires grew out of conquest all over the globe, and in attempting to tease out why some were more successful than others, it is simply reductionist to suggest that one was simply more warlike than the other. They are all warlike so therefore we must look past the armies and examine how those armies were enabled, resourced and motivated. That is the societies that supported them.

In my first response to your question, I outlined four areas which contributed to the rise of the West. Let me contrast some of those with some other powers that were extant at that time. The Ottoman empire at its height extended to to the gates of Vienna. The Ottomans were conquerors and for a time probably boasted the best army in the world, however, as a Sultanate and therefore a "limited access order" state, advancement within in the empire severely restricted and nepotistic. Its army and bureaucracy were peopled by slaves, and this had far reaching consequences for the empire's ability to innovate. What difference did it make to a slave whether there was a better way to do a job or not? Succession to the throne was accomplished by fratricide. Together, these led to an environment that discouraged investment and the Ottomans went into decline.

A question often asked, is why the industrial revolution happened in Britain and not in Japan. Both are island chains off the coast of a large continental landmass. Both have similar populations, both were literate and numerate and both had stable and prosperous economies. A reductionist, yet pointed answer, is their various political and economic systems. Japan was a feudal absolutist state, where in Britain the first philosophies around liberal democracy were taking hold. Britain rewarded success in trade, whereas Japan's merchants, no matter how rich and successful were considered beneath the dignity of the Samurai and noble orders. I mention Japan, specifically because, once she was confronted with the West, she quickly determined to take on the the trappings and technologies of the West, in order that she might compete and survive. So much so, she was able to give the Allies a good run for their money in WW2. Should the US have dropped the bombs? I do not agree with the rhetoric that suggest the Japanese would have fought for every stone. The war was effectively and literally lost; Japan had neither a military nor merchant navy remaining, no effective air force and precious little food left. This, it could be argued, with some merit, demonstrates a Western bloodlust. However, it must be considered that the US had invested a fortune in its atomic program and really wanted to try it out. Also, the program depended on a society that had the economic capability of generating the resources necessary for research and development. The development of these weapons can also be considered the next logical step in the constant battle between sword and shield and indeed, some International Relations scholars believe nukes are now a shield from aggression.

Sorry for the rambling reply, I'm supposed to be on holidays


Happy New Year and peace to you and yours!!

Feoil


I mean both really..


Being able to motivate your entire population tward a wartime goal..

And fighting wars till annihilation.






I was actually referring to the way the Zulu fought wars before and after Shaka swapped their military over to a more western mold and began fighting wars of annihilation. Weather he actually copied the British or just decided to fight wars of annihilation is kinda irrelevant. Pre annihilation war the tribes were scattered, after Shaka brand of warfare he conquered them all.


About Carthage, absolutely and Rome won, lol.

About the ottomans and Persians if I'm right "their armies being manned by slaves" is revisionist history to play the west as the freedom party. When the ottomans and Persians had as many freedoms as the west and were no more slaves than any monarchy.




About the reason the industrial revolution started in Britain..

Sparta smashed Athens and Persia with no economic system, but they did have a total war society. In fact if it weren't for their lack of breeding we might be speaking spartan lol.



posted on Jan, 1 2017 @ 04:37 PM
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originally posted by: feoil
a reply to: jellyrev

I am not sure that this is entirely off topic. I believe the OP is trying to establish whether Western culture is more warlike than any other. What I have attempted to show is that empire building requires more than military advantage but is more dependant on a dynamic and innovative society, which in turn depend on political and economic considerations.

The Japanese example was used as a non-western example of a state that had successfully adapted to the environment created by the west. It also shows that being warlike is not limited to the West and in terms of the Chinese theatre of WW2, Japan was certainly the aggressor.

On your more "off topic" points, firstly, while the European firebombing campaigns were as deadly, they required a fleet to deliver. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were delivered by a single aircraft. Secondly, for most of the war Japan and the Soviets maintained a non-aggression pact, which the Soviets only broke toward the end of the war with the liberation of Manchuria. In fact, after the fall of Okinawa, the Japanese had been sending out peace feelers through its embassy in Moscow, which those warlike Westerners [back on topic
] refused to listen to. Their only condition was the maintenance of the office of Emperor, which the US eventually allowed them anyway.


Kinda more warlike, but more both the willingness to commit to total war and wars of annihilation, in tandem.



posted on Jan, 2 2017 @ 04:49 AM
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Have you read either "Food of the Gods" or "The Chalice and the Blade"? You might find the Dominator vs Partnership culture theory interesting, and hopefully somewhat relevant.

“Dominator” vs. “Partnership” Cultures: A Profound Re-Telling of Human History

Dominator v partnership societies and relationships



posted on Jan, 2 2017 @ 12:23 PM
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a reply to: feoil




On your more "off topic" points, firstly, while the European firebombing campaigns were as deadly, they required a fleet to deliver. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were delivered by a single aircraft. Secondly, for most of the war Japan and the Soviets maintained a non-aggression pact, which the Soviets only broke toward the end of the war with the liberation of Manchuria. In fact, after the fall of Okinawa, the Japanese had been sending out peace feelers through its embassy in Moscow, which those warlike Westerners [back on topic ] refused to listen to. Their only condition was the maintenance of the office of Emperor, which the US eventually allowed them anyway.

1. So being a war monger is based on one's force multipliers, not on its total destructive force? I don't understand your point.
2. Yes and then for the soviets the western front was over. Guess where all their troops were heading. The whole might of the soviets and american forces were bearing down on them.
3. japanese were the aggressors, Americans made a great geopolitical move in the long term with japan. If the communist would have gotten the japanese surrender east asia would have been shut off from the western world for a long time.

As for are the west war mongers
Are western powers greater war mongers? Their societies and its cultures make it very safe domestically. I think the west is simply that much better at war that they are open to a lot more opportunities than other countries. most countries do not have the logistical competency that western countries have shown.
If saudi arabia, Iran, and North Korea had forces equal to the US would they be war mongers? likely. Would they quickly squander its potential, yes.
In today's world, how can any country war monger except for Russia, US-nato, and China. If any country gets out of line they are going to get pounded at least one these.



posted on Jan, 2 2017 @ 05:27 PM
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originally posted by: jellyrev
a reply to: feoil




On your more "off topic" points, firstly, while the European firebombing campaigns were as deadly, they required a fleet to deliver. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were delivered by a single aircraft. Secondly, for most of the war Japan and the Soviets maintained a non-aggression pact, which the Soviets only broke toward the end of the war with the liberation of Manchuria. In fact, after the fall of Okinawa, the Japanese had been sending out peace feelers through its embassy in Moscow, which those warlike Westerners [back on topic ] refused to listen to. Their only condition was the maintenance of the office of Emperor, which the US eventually allowed them anyway.

1. So being a war monger is based on one's force multipliers, not on its total destructive force? I don't understand your point.
2. Yes and then for the soviets the western front was over. Guess where all their troops were heading. The whole might of the soviets and american forces were bearing down on them.
3. japanese were the aggressors, Americans made a great geopolitical move in the long term with japan. If the communist would have gotten the japanese surrender east asia would have been shut off from the western world for a long time.

As for are the west war mongers
Are western powers greater war mongers? Their societies and its cultures make it very safe domestically. I think the west is simply that much better at war that they are open to a lot more opportunities than other countries. most countries do not have the logistical competency that western countries have shown.
If saudi arabia, Iran, and North Korea had forces equal to the US would they be war mongers? likely. Would they quickly squander its potential, yes.
In today's world, how can any country war monger except for Russia, US-nato, and China. If any country gets out of line they are going to get pounded at least one these.



I don't think their are modern day war mongers.. nor relative to oodles of other cultures of the past.

The thought of raping and pillaging a city today is unthinkable.. it's doubtful an American army would commit a relative "whole lot" of atrocities if allowed.


Sure you would have some, but the majority?!?!?

Where even your wife didn't care if you raped during conquest??

I don't think so.



posted on Jan, 2 2017 @ 05:27 PM
link   

originally posted by: jellyrev
a reply to: feoil




On your more "off topic" points, firstly, while the European firebombing campaigns were as deadly, they required a fleet to deliver. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were delivered by a single aircraft. Secondly, for most of the war Japan and the Soviets maintained a non-aggression pact, which the Soviets only broke toward the end of the war with the liberation of Manchuria. In fact, after the fall of Okinawa, the Japanese had been sending out peace feelers through its embassy in Moscow, which those warlike Westerners [back on topic ] refused to listen to. Their only condition was the maintenance of the office of Emperor, which the US eventually allowed them anyway.

1. So being a war monger is based on one's force multipliers, not on its total destructive force? I don't understand your point.
2. Yes and then for the soviets the western front was over. Guess where all their troops were heading. The whole might of the soviets and american forces were bearing down on them.
3. japanese were the aggressors, Americans made a great geopolitical move in the long term with japan. If the communist would have gotten the japanese surrender east asia would have been shut off from the western world for a long time.

As for are the west war mongers
Are western powers greater war mongers? Their societies and its cultures make it very safe domestically. I think the west is simply that much better at war that they are open to a lot more opportunities than other countries. most countries do not have the logistical competency that western countries have shown.
If saudi arabia, Iran, and North Korea had forces equal to the US would they be war mongers? likely. Would they quickly squander its potential, yes.
In today's world, how can any country war monger except for Russia, US-nato, and China. If any country gets out of line they are going to get pounded at least one these.



I don't think their are modern day war mongers.. nor relative to oodles of other cultures of the past.

The thought of raping and pillaging a city today is unthinkable.. it's doubtful an American army would commit a relative "whole lot" of atrocities if allowed.


Sure you would have some, but the majority?!?!?

Where even your wife didn't care if you raped during conquest??

I don't think so.



posted on Jan, 2 2017 @ 05:38 PM
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originally posted by: Raggedyman
Public Education came from Western Europe, common people were taught to read and write
War and violence never moved any civilizations forward

Most well educated country's are westernised

Thank Luther


have you heard of china?.....might want to read about it's 5,000 years of "written" cultural history...



posted on Jan, 2 2017 @ 08:00 PM
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a reply to: loNeNLI

Not at all racist..



posted on Jan, 2 2017 @ 10:57 PM
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originally posted by: jimmyx

originally posted by: Raggedyman
Public Education came from Western Europe, common people were taught to read and write
War and violence never moved any civilizations forward

Most well educated country's are westernised

Thank Luther


have you heard of china?.....might want to read about it's 5,000 years of "written" cultural history...


Yeah I have heard of China, but...

We were talking about Western Civilization Dominating the world if I remember correctly, not Asia or any other empire, wernt we, was I mistaken.
Maybe you can do a new thread

And just an aside, education wasnt offered to peasants in China like it was after Luther

www.chinaeducenter.com...

Anyway, whatever you like



posted on Jan, 4 2017 @ 01:49 PM
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a reply to: jimmyx

Sure.. but they didn't have public education.







 
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