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Ways of War: How Different Societies & Regions have their own distinct ‘Art of War-Fighting’


I just finished typing this article, in response to an ongoing current debate via a ‘Military Strategy and History’ Society on the LinkedIn pages, entitled ”Genghis Khan v Hannibal”, a thread started by Mark Freeman.

On this article, I discuss the different societies, in topographical analysis, and how they approach and conduct wars, in accordance to their own traditional and ancestral ways of warfighting. This is the copy-n-paste of the article in full;

”To appreciate the behaviour and the limits placed upon the generals, one must appreciate the societies, and their historical ‘ways of warfare’. For example;

A. The Byzantine:

This region is essentially administrative in doctrine. They inherited this ‘superiority’ or ‘habit’ from the Roman Eastern Empire, which sought to be more administrative in colonial affairs. This habit is documented by one of the key warfighting practitioner, Emperor Leo, and his Tacticus (Latin for Tactics). This Byzantine ‘Art of War’, emphasised more on the administrative and logistics side of the Army and wars, than the real fighting, that Combat (key to Western way of war).

This region is today, Turkey, Arabian Peninsula to the limits of Persia. This can still be observed from within these regions, as the sultans and princes of the states, are more concern with advanced high-techs weaponry (defence, as did the Byzantine, symbolised through the Great Constantinople Walls/Siege), and administration, than Real-Fighting.

Though this region has another side, inherited from past masters, such as the Mongols, Scythians, Syracuse, Egyptians etc., the need to ”Fight Light and Fast”, high mobile warfare, of hit-n-run etc., still persist today.

B. The Far-East

This can be, in short, stated as where the ”fighting man/woman” is the centre of strategy, tactics and operations. This is the finest of the art of war, hence, Sun Tzu, Li Ching, Mishusiko (or whatever and his Three Ways), Wu Chi (I Love This Guy), Von Guyen, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Genghis Khan etc.

This region, is where one finds best of the best generalship and arts of war.

C. Europe.

Europe is largely influenced by positional warfare of the Romans, as well as by the same token of Roman-Greco ‘elan’, courage, in Fighting. But its weaknesses are, hyper-dependency on weapon systems, from Hoplites, Romans and their short-swords and spears, shields, to mechanised forces, etc. This together with the political nature of accountability and so forth, has tend to demean geniuses and out of box thinking, reduced all, as we are, to ‘drones’, and to the submissions in the laws of warfighting and thinking.

Not finest of wars-fighters, minus, the Huns of Far-East, to be found in the plains of Germans (here survives the old traditions of the east in the west, at its microscopic levels, and with advent of NATO, this is almost dead).

D. The Americas

North, not a chance. they are the children of the old Europe, same mentality, same politics, traditions etc.

South, the passionate of Spaniards with the local ‘nature-bonds’ and fierce environment, has created ‘brutal levels of wars’. These individuals can fight with passion, and for long/protraction, but they fight dirty, not street dirty, but gangs dirty, hence, the continent renown for its gang-culture.

E. The Slavs

Russians, for me, perhaps the best military minds in the entire world. Not just mind, but fighting society. They can withstand the harshness of wars, hence, you will get more Russians in the Foreign Legion than any other groups. I, dream of the day, that I will be free to spend three-years of complete seclusion studying nothing but Russian way of warfighting, cultures, people, psychologies etc. You can conquer the world, but you will be stopped in the steppes of Russia. Hence, responsible for doctrines as diverse as operational art (copied by western allies into AirLand Battle), and others.

F. Africans

The day Africans rise up, is the day, the entire world, minus Russia, of course, will be at the mercy of a brutal fighters. They have no rules, and they are very ‘beasty’, like the animals dominating the dark continents, they are very paternalistic, and driven by egos and greed and never rational ‘interests or security concerns’.

Anyway, I might come back and add some few points later on.

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About s.s.salim: Geopolitical Analyst

Political & Strategy Defence & Security Intelligence & Communications

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