Syria Descending Toward Madness
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  • vanderleun

    Elsewhere we find this more compelling combination of insight and advice concerning the Syria perplex:


    “Everyone is killing each other in Syria and some other places in the region, and the conflict might spread. What should we do about it?”

    “How much does this cost you?”

    “Nothing at all,” I answered.

    “Then let them kill each other as long as possible, which is to say for 30 years or so. Do you know,” the ghastly Cardinal continued, “why really interesting wars last for 30 years? That has been true from the Peloponnesian War to my own century. First you kill the fathers, then you kill their sons. There aren’t usually enough men left for a third iteration.”

    “We can’t go around saying that,” I remonstrated.

    “I didn’t say it, either,” Richelieu replied. “But I managed to reduce the population of the German Empire by half in the space of a generation and make France the dominant land power in Europe for two centuries.

  • Eurydice

    #vanderleun #1 – The Cardinal’s strategy works as long as all the neighboring countries aren’t feeling warlike, too. With a rolling war zone people have plenty of time to have more children. 30 years here, 30 years there, before you know it you’ve got centuries of regional unrest.

  • Soviet of Washington

    Eurydice, If you’re at all familiar with Spengler’s work, you’d know his thoughts on Arab and Iranian collapsing birthrates would say this is unlikely.

    Gerard, I’d add this Spengler essay on Angelo Codevilla’s writings to the reading list as well.

  • Fred

    Precisely who does this surprise, and precisely why?

  • BillyB

    “The Syrian government and its opposition are each their own worst enemy. Butcher Assad is the worst of all combinations: a bumbling murderer. He can and will kill, but he cannot govern. Yet the opposition has lost credibility even as Syrians put their lives on the line every day. Its inability to organize a coherent alternative to the government underlines the key point of Assad propaganda: that the only alternative to the goon squad currently in power is anarchy and, perhaps, genocidal wars of revenge by fanatical sectarian killers.”

    Somehow, should things go badly, I can foresee the exact same situation with different names here in the good ole U.S.S.A.

  • Why no mention of the clans and tribes of Syria?

    ““The results showed that the overall frequency of consanguinity [first-, double-first- and second-cousin marriages] was 30.3% in urban and 39.8% in rural areas. Total rate of consanguinity was found to be 35.4%…. The mean proportion of consanguineous marriages ranged from 67.5% in Al Raqa province to 22.1% in Latakia province…. The western and north-western provinces (including Tartous, Lattakia and Edlep) recorded lower levels of inbreeding than the central, northern and southern provinces….”

    This kind of inbreeding leads to diversity all right, but not the kind that knows how to govern itself very well.

  • @Eurydice:
    Cardinal Richelieu presided over France during the 30 Years War, which was fought by various parties and alliances in Germany. The various German states and principalities, even without considering the Austrian empire, were by far the largest entity in Germany’s population was reduced (such an antiseptic term!) by 25-40%, and it would not be united for another 250 years. Germany in posse was the dominant land power in Europe; Richelieu’s task was to prevent it from becoming dominant in esse. France supported one faction, then another, as circumstances suggested. Each was bled in its turn, while France spent gold instead of blood. Ghastly it may be, but it worked. In the end, France had run out of gold, not people, when it collapsed in 1789.

  • *largest entity in Europe.

  • Eurydice

    @Soviet #3 – I’m not familiar with Spengler’s work, but I don’t see how what I’ve said is unlikly; it’s already happened, been happening for centuries – perhaps not in neat 30-year increments, but in constant flare-ups. Also, war isn’t the same as it used to be, not as many combatants are necessary and not all of them have to be men.

    @Mitch #7 – I wasn’t referring to the actual Richelieu, but to the fictional one speaking in a dream sequence as decribed in the first post.

  • Kris

    [email protected]: “In the end, France had run out of gold, not people, when it collapsed in 1789.”

    And its large population is what enabled it to take on all comers in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.

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