Monday, May 13, 2013

How To Lose A War

Before the United States enters Syria, it should consider the lessons of history.
There are many reasons why nations lose wars. Sometimes small states are simply overwhelmed by large empires, such as Poland’s fall to Nazi Germany in September 1939 or the invasion of Finland by the Soviet Union in 1939. These outcomes are almost always foreordained by huge imbalances in manpower and national wealth, although the superhuman heroism of the Finns and the weather postponed their inevitable defeat for six months.
But such vast mismatches are history’s exceptions. And, on occasion, even the far weaker power can trump the advantages of numbers and resources of the stronger. The Greeks at Marathon, and a decade later at the battles of Salamis and Plataea, proved that even a massive Persian fleet and army did not doom the badly outnumbered Greek cause.
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