The burning of the Fleets.
26 Oct 2010
The burning of the Chinese Exploration Fleets and dismantling of dockyard capability was a deliberate , considerate policy . What's more , it was correct .
During 1300 to 1400 AD the Chinese were in a desperate war of survival with the Mongols . Though the Mongols only numbered about 700 000 at the best of times , through superior tactics and strategy they managed to conquer 40 million Chinese .
The old problem : they could not hold the territory due to insufficient numbers and unwillingness to assimilate . (Mongols were racists that put the Nazi's to shame).
The Mongols ruled by terrorism .
They pitted various social groups against each other , with survival of their wives and daughters as prize . Then systematically betrayed them .
No social system that had contact with the Mongols survived unchanged . The result is usually extreme xenophobia , coupled with paranoia . (Cf Russia , Middle East , China)
The Ming only managed to slowly push the Mongols out of China . No crushing victory was obtained . (The Mongolian threat was only ended in the 1700's with firearms from Russia and China in a pincer movement)
One of the major reasons for Mongol successes was systematic reconnaissance . All possible enemies or victims were probed by spies , emissaries , priests , mercenaries , etc .
The Ming learned to do the same . Having a much larger resource base , and using the designs Kublai Khan developed for the invasion of Japan , they assembled intelligence , sent out exploring and interdiction parties , and built the Admiral He Fleets .
Their findings horrified them . They knew the extent of Europe and North Africa from previous trades . The problem was the plains of Africa . The ideal of heaven for Mongols .
Any breakthrough of Mongols in large numbers into the plains of Serengeti or Southern Africa would mean war unending .
The marginal benefit for China of opening the territories is close to zero , since it is not arable land with their technology . But it is ideal for nomads like the Mongols .
A desperate battle ensued .
Mongols tried to break through , and Chinese countered in annihilation battles (reminiscent of Canada circa 1758 or Anglia circa 450) .
Only small number of elite troops were involved , but the results were large .
The Chinese won . But only by destroying their own capability of projecting large-scale forces overseas . They could not keep the shipyards out of the reach of a determined Mongol assault . So they burned the fleets and dismantled the shipyards and dispersed the skilled workers .
Remember the horsies .
No Mongol went anywhere without a horse .
If the ship could not carry a large number of horses , they weren't going anywhere .
Hence the destruction of large carrier capacity .
Oh , they kept the ones with local sailing skills , but 3000 tons plus skills were retired and dispersed .
Did it work ?
The Mongols were parasites . Without concentrated sources of skilled slaves they were unable to reach the promised land of Serengeti .
The Chinese actually allowed them to survive , which sounds magnanimous until you realize that Han , Tibetan and Mongolian nobility are all cousins . Plus la change .
Would the Chinese have survived if Africa went Mongolian ?
One of those Alternate History questions .
The Ming definitely would not have survived for long . A reconquest of China by African Mongols using Indian surrogate troops is highly likely .
An ethnic cleansing type war is then likely . Indian helots with mongol overseers , ending in a mutual bloodletting about 2173 Alternative timeline .
A good example :
Short term denial had bad long-term effects , but not doing it would have been much , much worse .
What today ?
The plains are still the same . Exploitation can only be done by Nomad-types .
But now we have :
1.Mongols (the Chinese champs)
2.Cossacks (the Russian champs)
3.Apache(the American champs)
4.Boere(the South African champs)
5.Vacquero's (Mexican champs)
6.Gaucho's (Argentinian champs)
Who do think will win on the plains of Africa ?
Remember , they will have to be Green !
Else , anything goes .