Via Winds of Change is the news that John Keegan has a new book about the invasion of Iraq. Among the issues he brings up, the one that intrigued me is his claim that
the military theory holding that defenders will aggressively resist invasion only applies, without modification, to the western developed nations that originally shaped the theory.
That’s a rather provactive claim. I think it applies to Iraq because most of the population either likes the Coalition forces or just grumbles about them. The insurgents seem (IMHO) far more concerned abou their personal/factional power than about the invaders themselves. The insurgents use the language of invasion but as we can see, this has failed to resonate with the Iraqi people, especially compared to the Iran-Iraq war.
Perhaps the Westphalian Order is failing in more than one way. Before the rise of modern nation states, the peasantry didn’t get too concerned about which partciular ruler was in charge, as it made little difference in their lives. The best option was to just lay low and hope the soldiers didn’t come through your village. The concept of total war as the standard form of war is a relatively modern concept. It may be that it’s a concept that didn’t really catch on outside of the West because the rulers (from the peasant point of view) are still mostly indistinguishable brutal, corrupt thugs. One of the effects of this is the relatively small armies that change governments in Africa.
There are a few of modern twists to this, so it’s not quite forward to the past:
What kind of international order will emerge from these changes is yet to be seen.