Thursday, October 15, 2015

aggressor states 4 of 5


Russia was constantly getting its Slavic ass kicked by others, notably those Oriental nomads of horses, barely getting by with paying protection money and being mostly left alone to trap and gather wood and grow root crops.  All that changed with the introduction of black powder rifles.  Previously, slaves and newly conquered people could provide military arms to the nomads, beyond those of a personal scale ( such as siege weapons ) or on an industrial scale.  But guns spelled the end to horse power, and without horses as military weapons the field belonged to the agricultural societies once again.  After quickly ( relatively quick, of course ) ending the threat from the southeast, the Russians could safely settle Siberia and other points towards the Pacific.  Okay, at the time perhaps nobody but them wanted the frozen craphole, but it worked for them for elbow room, without challenging another gunpowder empire.  For a fledging empire it was a pretty smart move.  And unlike the Americans, who mostly view distance as a way to get rich by draining the treasury, Russia made it a military asset.  They may not have been an aggressor state as in challenging an equal ( who brags about kicking Eskimos asses to get a bunch of land? ), but they have been one to keep the land they settled.  To be fair, they took land other “civilized” nations didn’t want and only really act aggressively when that is being threatened ( temper your grade school propaganda about the Cold War.  We invaded Russia to begin with, so a lot of hostility towards us was justified ), but I’ll lump them in with other aggressor states nonetheless.


The Chinese might seem aggressive, with their occupation of Tibet and other areas.  With the whole Cambodia and Vietnam issue.  But really, as mercantilists, they have the souls of shopkeepers rather than warriors.  As a nation they will wax and wane aggressively but in the grand scheme of things they are hardly all that provocative.  More defensive than offensive.  They are pretty racist bastards, or I should say more correctly xenophobic,  and they have one of the longest running civilizations around ( Egypt has both killed its eternal agricultural clock with their dam, and been at the mercy of colonists for a very long time whereas China has been occupied rarely by outsiders ).  They have only limited expansion in mind ( unless they can immigrate the culturally pure and assimilate the place completely by expelling the original group, they probably have little interest in governing outsiders per se ).  I exclude China, despite its military and modern behavior.  And we come around to the European colonists, some of the bloodiest aggressors.  I would say that while Rome profited about the same time-wise from its colonies as the Europeans did, several hundred years, I believe that the Industrial Age states extracted far more treasure in the same time, just because the tools to do so were mightier.  Spain might have temporarily gotten rich by the old school silver and gold extraction ( employing close to the same level of technology as Rome ), but it never approached the long term resource wealth her successors extracted.  Both used a modern navy to range further, but while Spain had piles of gold coins to show for her efforts, the others invested in the machine age to better their wealth.  More next article.

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