If we were monkeys we’d be content to throw poo and eat bananas all day. But we’re humans, and humans are curious. Whether we’re trying to determine what Willis was talking about, or who let the dogs out, we’re incessantly inquisitive. We want answers to our questions.
These days a lot of the questions we’d like answered are along the lines of “Iraq – what to do?”, “Iran – what to do?” or “North Korea – where that is?”
Every question deserves an educated answer as opposed to the uninformed TV soundbite, knee-jerk blog post or gruesomely biased editorials we’re used to. That’s where my friend Theo comes in.
Theo is a genius. He looks smart. He has glasses. He has a high class Irish accent and he teaches at one of the best universities in England – an old brick place filled with cashmere-sock-wearing intellectuals who would rather read an encyclopedia than sleep with a lady.
Theo has the greatest job title of anyone I know. His job title is Professor of War in the Modern World.
He can cheat at Risk yet still convince you it’s simply a proven strategic maneuver.
I can not tell you how much I’d like to have “Professor of War in the Modern World” on my business cards. But he earned it, I didn’t. He went off and got his doctorate in war. I barely earned a degree from film school. He lectures military types and writes about strategy. I do silly things in print and television.
Theo: PhD in Politics, Diploma in International Relations, MA in International History, BA History and Politics.
Me: BS degree in film acquired by sucking up to professors.
Theo: Wrote “Force and Legitimacy In World Politics” – Cambridge University Press.
Me: Wrote “Guide to Celebrity Stalking” – Radar magazine.
Theo: Spending two years examining military transformation in European states as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s New Security Challenges Programme.
Me: Spent three minutes making fun of Glenn Beck’s ties on the Glenn Beck program.
As you can see, Theo is better than I in many ways, though I am taller and have perfect vision.
Theo offered to answer the kind of questions you’d want to ask someone with the job title Professor of War in the Modern World. Questions were forwarded and received a valuable, educated response by someone who does not have a discernible agenda other than being smarter than everyone when it comes to modern warfare.
Theo’s answers here.
What’s the biggest threat to the biggest threat facing the United States?
If the U.S. had never invaded Iraq (only Afghanistan), and so had available the resources and manpower now in Iraq, would it have been worthwhile/viable and/or made “sense” from a U.S. (or global) national security perspective to have invaded North Korea to stop their nuclear weapons program? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an advocate of invading countries generally (indeed I’m opposed to it except perhaps where there are human rights atrocities involved), but it just seems that North Korea is/was the bigger threat. I’m just curious whether invasion, as opposed to diplomacy or sanctions or other options, would have been a “smart”/viable/realistic political option in North Korea, or whether it would have been as big (or even bigger) of a disaster as Iraq.
Which unpronounceable Asian territory provides a greater strategic advantage, Irkutsk or Yakutsk?
What would Caesar do?
Who would make a better wartime commander-in-cheif: jack bauer or daniel craig’s james bond?
Given that “protecting the American way of life” is the strategic imperative of modern US military decision making and that history has shown “what people do in other countries really doesn’t matter much” would it not be more prudent to nuke Florida or Kentucky before they turn on us? In my estimation this course of action would put human evolution in this country back on track, thus ensuring a sustainable continuation of American values. At the very least, Canada should be put on the watch list, right?
Ok, I’m going to ask it, since no one else has the guts.
War, good God y’all, hunh, what is it good for?
When people in warring countries pray for victory over their enemies, who does God listen to and how does he decide who is the enemy and who is the good guy?
Ok. My question … and it’s a biggie … whoever said Theo ever won a game of Risk? If my memory serves me, Brian F was the one who won by cheating (pulling dead soldiers out of the box and reinserting them into key strategic positions) while Theo was generally overrun first. Which reminds me, question 2: whatever happened to the movie Mr. Vampire?
If war is so destructive, what is its evolutionary purpose?
You could argue that wars weren’t really that destructive until relatively recently in history. Yes, a Spartan invasion was bad news, but they had to keep enough farmers alive to tend the fields. Perhaps modern warfare can kill people on a scale that we don’t exactly comprehend.
Regardless, the question remains: why is war such a common, pervasive feature of human societies?
I heard that during World War II, all the American guys went to England, and all the English guys were all pissed off, because all the English girls were hot for the Americans and the Americans were having all of the sex, so there wasn’t any left for the English. Weren’t the Revolutionary War veterans super pissed, and saying stuff like – “Blimey, cricket, croquet, rugbyball, Empire! We lose the colonies to them and now all the English girls are taking it in the backdoor from them, even though they always said to us that they weren’t comfortable with that!”?
How could you let that happen?
It appears that certain countries (for example: China; India; and, Pakistan) are positioning themselves to create a competing, yet multipolar, military hegemony in their respective regions. If so, will this be a stabilizing or destabilizing force in the region for the foreseeable future? What about the Middle East and the competing forces presently there?
What’s more likely to protect a border (and the opposing neighbors):
A) Building a 2000-mile wall, or
B) Changing the hearts and minds of malcontents?
Just wondering. Neither option seems… peaceful.
Taking today’s massive population into consideration, are humans today more directly effected by war than they have ever been in history?
My theory: We’ve got it pretty good!
blimey! war? Pickles i say!
Answer for Patrick:The Yanks arrived in a Britain almost devoid of British soldiery, who were fighting in North Africa, the Middle East, Burma etc.They carried with them loads of money and trade goods of the highest quality, notably nylon stockingsThey had time on their hands, because they didn’t really get into action in the European front until 1944, having entered the war a little lateI should add, in fairness, that when they did apply themselves to war, as opposed to seduction, many of them did OK at that, too.
Let’s cut to the chase – how many troops should we set aside for the War on Christmas and can the curly-toed shoes be armored?
What would Caesar do?