“YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP! ”
Remember Planet of the Apes? The scene where Charlton Heston
confronts the remains of the Statue of Liberty sticking out of the sand?
Xenophon of Athens had a Planet of the Apes moment some
2,500 years ago without quite realizing it. He and ten thousand Greek
mercenaries, having fought on the wrong side of a Persian civil war, were
fighting a running rearguard action trying to get the hell back to Greece in
one piece. One night they camped close to the river Tigris, near the modern
city of Mosul.
They found enormous fortifications abandoned in wrack and ruin.
The ruins were gargantuan by Greek
standards of the day.
“The base of the fortification was
made of polished stone, in which were many shells. It was fifty feet broad and
fifty feet high. On top of it was built a brick wall fifty feet in breadth and
one hundred feet high. The perimeter of the fortification was eighteen miles”.
Xenophon asked the locals who had built them. They shrugged
and said probably the Medes (the prior regime of the Persian superpower). The
irony was the locals were probably Assyrian, and the ruins were no doubt the
remains of Ninevah, the capital city of the Assyrian empire. Ninevah had been
laid waste a mere two hundred years before Xenophon’s arrival and was already forgotten.
Hey, those massive walls worked great didn’t they? This is
the lesson of what I call Land Power culture. Static solutions to static
problems get you 2,500 years of dirt piled on top of you.
The Danes are said to be an island people who happen to own
a peninsula. They have retained a maritime culture. They are a Sea Power culture.
The United States can be viewed as a Navy that happens to
own a continent.
Sadly, there are shitheads trying to eradicate this worldview.
Much has been written about the advantages of Sea Power culture, the most
obvious being Alfred T Mahan’s The Influence of Sea Power Upon History. Mahan convinced
Teddy Roosevelt to build up the US Navy.
I would argue that a culture need not be near the sea to be
a Sea Power culture, any more than Viking is an ethnicity (it’s not, it’s a
profession). The usual suspects are Athens, Carthage, Venice, the Dutch
Republic, the Scandinavian countries, Great Britain, the US of A.
I would argue that the Mongol Empire, prior to stagnation, was a Sea
Power culture, as was Prussia, the Huns, Islam in the 8th century, etc. The
commonality being vast tracts of land with no physical barriers, thus forcing
the inhabitants to face and adapt to powerful enemies via fluid responses (e.g.
horses rather than ships).
Which is to say, Sea
Power cultures, maritime identities, display openness, inclusivity, and
dynamism (liberalism) compared to the lumbering
continental land power identity of closed borders, exclusion and static
And so you have dumb static solutions from stumbling
slow-witted jumbos that are expected to work forever, as if circumstances never
Build a Wall. Wall built and the clapping of imaginary dust off tiny
manicured hands. “Done and done!”
Travel bans and immigration restrictions
based upon prejudiced views of shithole countries and the illusion of safety.
(As if merit based fails to recognize the inherent arrogance of an inherent
superiority that does not exist in changing environments. And of course we need more soft fat white people to make us look good).
I am astounded at the reactionary vision that engages in
magical New Age thinking, wishing the world back to some fantasy paradise through
Take Steve Bannon back in 2016. Seriously, WTF Steve, a Navy guy
supposedly well read in history, espousing a trillion dollar infrastructure plan
to rebuild “ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. It will be as
exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution – conservatives, plus
populists, in an economic nationalist movement”. Might as well build steam
locomotives while we are at it.
Aerospace is the new maritime (except, with robots… and
robot farms, unless you can perfect the centrifugal toilet, the next step
beyond 2001: A Space Odyssey, and radiation, and the debilitating health effects of low G).
China gets it. That’s why they are building stuff on the
side of the Moon we cannot see. (Although my brother argues, how do you know we
don’t have that stuff already? Fair point, but we have no long term vision
based on lurching from one administration to the next).
Drifted off topic there.
The only way the USA doesn’t end up
all Planet of the Apes is to return to open, inclusive dynamism and take
whatever the world will give us. If we continue to act like a land power, we will
end up like the Soviet Union: birth rates and life expectancy down, alcoholism,
drug use and suicides up, infrastructure and military in decay, a political
system unsteady, corrupt and in chaos, resources,
opportunities, and education available to the highest (and/or most dishonest) bidder.
Because right now, the rest of the world really doesn’t want
to come to a place that has no balls, so long as we keep on acting like pussy
ass bitches that hide behind walls.