On behalf of Charles Cameron and J. Scott Shipman, I would like to warmly welcome the newest co-blogger to zenpundit.com, Lynn C. Rees.
Rees’ blogging and insightful comments have long been enjoyed by many in this corner of the blogosphere, though some were written pseudo-anonymously and then later circulated by third parties on private listservs. Some samples of his writing:
….If I were to draw a rough analogy between the Old Testament and De re militari in Chinese history, the Old Testament would be a compilation of all the major Spring and Autumn and Warring States‘ literature of one of the smaller seven warring states (Judah) redacted by a Legalist-leaning Confucian (the Deuteronomists of Josiah’s reign) right before Chin (Neo-Babylonian Empire) completed its conquest of China (Fertile Crescent) and then re-redacted by Szma Chyan (Ezra) in the early days of the Han (Achaemenid) Dynasty. The theme of the Deuteronomists (“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25) is similar to a strong theme emphasized by editors of the Seven Military Classics that China had to be unified under one authority (“all under Heaven” (TyanSya) to eliminate the disorder of warring states during the Warring States era. This theme was recently expertly propagandized by the Beibing Regime in the interesting Jet Li film Hero on Jau Jeng.
De re militari would be a compilation of stray bits of the six existing Seven Military Classics studiously assembled by a public-spirited provincial Confucian scholar with no military experience and submitted as a memorial to the Late Han court in the hopes that its ancient virtues would rouse the court to reverse the collapse of the dynasty.
The Western strategic tradition after 1500 drew heavily on works synthesizing De re military and more recent recovered works from antiquity like Polybius and especially Livy.
and, from another post, in a different place:
….A network requires asabiya, that almost mystical force of network cohesion and harmony that makes the members of a group unite to fight the far enemy instead of dividing to fight the near enemy. While asabiya is sometimes personified by a particular individual and their qualities, true asabiya transcends the one and distributes itself across the many. But individual humans remain asabiya’s greatest ally and most dangerous enemy. It’s appropriate to view the network immediately around particularly potent individuals as webs rather than networks. Like its namesake spider web, an individual’s web places them in the center of a network. Like the spider, the web allows a supernode to detect fluctuations in asabiya density before it directly encounters the source of the disturbance. The web also amplifies a supernode’s reach, radiating its localized asabiya through its web into the greater network, disrupting or strengthening broader network asabiya as it might.
Asabiya separates an army from a mob. Ardant duPicq observed that most of the casualties inflicted in battle up to his time happened when one side’s cohesion was smashed. The enemy could then run down the disorganized stragglers as they fled the battlefield. The loss ofasabiya proves fatal. Asabiya is the force that allows a Headless Chicken to run around without its head. The Romans, for example, lacked the magical spark of the Macedonian armies of Alexander and Pyrrhus. Parmenio suggested to Alexander after the Battle of Issus that he should accept Darius III’s offer of an alliance, the hand of his daughter in marriage, and all Asia Minor, reputedly saying “If I were Alexander, I would accept the terms.” “So would I, if I were Parmenio.”, Alexander replied. If Alexander had been killed at Granicus, Parmenio would have retreated back into Europe. It took that special insanity of Alexander to take the arms of Macedon all the way to the Hyphasis. In contrast, the Roman armies of the Old Republic relied on asabiya. They could be commanded by a mediocrity and yet pull out a victory. They could suffer a catastrophic defeat like Cannae and still bounce back. They were robust against failure. In fact, the Magic Bullet was anathema to the Roman. The occasional genius who popped up, burning brightly in the firmament, the Scipio, the Marius, was pulled down by an Elder Cato or some other old senatorial blood.
But exactly who is Mr. Rees?
Lynn C. Rees is a software engineer specializing in workflow optimization and genealogy. He is a long-time student of how human systems discover and cope with truth through (or despite) culture and politics. Lynn group blogs at Chicago Boyz (joining the Clausewitz, Xenophon, Afghanistan 2050, and Reagan Centenary roundtables along the way) and the third Committee of Public Safety. He also contributed to The Handbook of 5GW, edited by Dr. Dan Abbott.
Welcome aboard Lynn!