5 May 2010
"It takes two to Tango" 20th Century song
We sneak up on it by examining unlikely combinations .
Like Substitution Chess , this develops a deeper insight into the board .
Given N nations , there are a possible N*(N-1)/2 possible conflicts .
The upper boundary of all possible number of combinations of alliances is 2^N
The present number of nations on Terra is about 200 . So we have a potential 19 900 conflicts .
The War Algorithm :
1.Choose any two nations at random (eg from an atlas)
2.Work out a scenario where these two would go to war .
4.That’s it .
Some historically unlikely conflicts .(Reason in brackets)
1.USA vs Granada (morale)
2.USA vs Vietnam (greed of US Military-Industrial complex)
3.Paraguay vs Argentina (pride)
4.UK vs Argentina (Falklands I) (election of Thatcher)
5.Cuba vs RSA (internal stability)
As you can see from these very few examples , we can learn more about the reasons for war by examining the forcing of war between low-probability combatants and looking at the factors .
Please create credible scenario's where there would be war between the nations in the list that follows:
1.Lesotho vs Switzerland .
2.Chad vs Peru.
3.Iceland vs Turkey
4.Kazakhstan vs New Zealand .
5.Nepal vs Chile
6.Japan vs Jamaica.
7.Samoa vs Greenland
I would have to think about these myself . But notice how it enhances your insight .
And there are 19 900-7 = 19 893 remaining . Have fun .
N gets restricted to 3 : For , Against and Neutral . This has been the pattern in WWI and WWII .
Civil wars :
These arise , by definition , from failed states . The fracture lines are usually ethnic (eg Yugoslavia , Africa) . The center cannot hold , usually due to corruption . External forces like arms dealers stimulate conflict . But there are also scarce minerals .
RSA and Chrome :
Chrome is absolutely essential to low-weight turbines and chemical reactor vessels .
(ie tanks , fighters , explosives)
RSA and Zimbabwe are the largest available deposits (coming from the old Vredefoort impact) . There are smaller deposits in Kazakhstan and Sweden (Why Sweden could remain neutral in WWII . Hitler , quite correctly , blocked the production of Me262 jet fighters in 1940 . The severe shortage of chrome meant that one fighter was about the same as a ton of explosives . If he needed fighters like the Me262 , the war would have already been lost .)
The weakness of the central RSA government has encouraged adventurism in both China and the USA . They are encouraging the secession of the northern provinces where these deposits lie via surrogates like Zimbabwe and Venezuala . I presume that Cuba will be roped in eventually , as they have had a long history of interfering in African affairs (courtesy of Che Guavara)
In their scenarios , they have already written RSA off as a failed state , and would rather squabble like vultures with each other over the chrome deposits . The rest (platinum , manganese , diamonds , remains of gold) are not strategically necessary and will go to fund the civil war between the various provinces . Something like Somalia or Sudan .
But how failed is it?
Let us look at the numbers .
The three large private security firms have about 180 000 members , based on the old SADF forces .(Like Buffalo , 32 , etc) . The SAPS has about 200 000 members , of various effectiveness . The SANDF has about 80 000 members , of about zero effectiveness . The old Commando and police reservists are still on the books , but ,frankly , they were useless even in the Apartheid era . Poorly trained and even more poorly disciplined drunken militia . Licensed bullies .
The main elements of the RSA government comprises the Zulus and Whites(Afrikaners) . Both are very aggressive .
An armed incursion will come to an abrupt end (Cf Jamieson)
What will happen eventually is a South African Empire , as the energies are channelled outward .And a Napoleon equivalent is waiting in the wings .
Plus la change.