Saturday, 29 June 2013

The American war of independence – a lesson from the past and contemporary parallels

The American war of independence was a civil war with 100,000 loyalists having to leave at the end. Also it was a world war that the Americans could not have won without the help of France, Spain and the Netherlands. Britain was the highest military power at the time but it could not fight a war on multiple fronts and this is a recurring problem in history, multiple front wars can overwhelm and destroy you even if you have the best army or the best economy, better than your rivals.
The American civil war started due to tax revolts on a wide range of issues but at the basis of it was the fact that there was no representation despite the high taxes.
The British were doomed to lose the war from the start and the American war of independence shows historically that a small guerrilla force can win against overwhelming force so long as they avoid catastrophic and decisive defeat. All that is required is to engage in a continuous struggle. This is exactly the kind of tactics employed by the Vietnamese against the Americans in the Vietnam war.
This is why the Syrian war despite Assads victories will probably result in Syria being split into 3 different countries as he cannot fight a multi-front war, so long as the rebels avoid a decisive defeat. A break up is unavoidable, ethnic cleansing and population exchanges will result, the UN will try to bring the parties to the bargaining table after enough people have died (sad but the west is cautious after the Libya debacle and the public are weary of entering into another conflict, only after exposure to the humanitarian situation in Syria will the west have to face up to finding a solution for the problems there)and a compromise will eventually result or be forced by western backed forces? The split will be based upon sectarian and racial lines: a Shiite and Alawite state loyal to Assad backed by Hezbollah and Iran, a Kurdish state linked with similar separatist movements in Turkey and Iraq and finally a Sunni state backed by Turkey and Saudi Arabia etc. This is a similar situation to the collapse of Yugoslavia which resulted in countries forming based on racial and sectarian lines.
We have dealt with the parallels with current conflicts I.e. warfare but also must be considered is the rise of UKIP in the UK as a response to perceived injustice or strains in Britain’s relationship with the EU. If the EU is to remain in shape legitimately then it must make up for its democratic deficiencies and start addressing the real concerns of its citizens such as rising unemployment, a dire economic situation and tension resulting from freedom of movement between member states.


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