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Climate Change Heating Up Future Wars Part Three

The biggest security threat that the United States and major Western European nations could face is that their small but high-tech, usually very well-trained professional core elite forces could be swamped by overwhelming numbers in having to deal with widespread domestic violence or even civil war in large communities of recent immigrants and their offspring, when there are not enough trained and well-armed police and reservists to do the job.
by Martin Sieff
Washington (UPI) Mar 4, 2009
History, from classical times through to the 21st century, teaches the same lesson: Superb, relatively tiny armies can win wars and spectacular victories. But if you put them in the wrong kind of war, or send them too far from home, or just send them into hostile territory where they are surrounded by too many hostiles, you risk losing them all.

In 414 B.C. the Athenian Empire lost an entire army and fleet by trying to capture the city of Syracuse far away from home on the island of Sicily, the source of grain to Athens' archenemy Sparta. The Athenian Empire soon fell and was never restored. In 378 A.D. the late Roman Empire in the West lost much of its superb, relatively small professional army in the Battle of Adrianople. The Western Roman Empire struggled unsuccessfully in the end for decades in a vain attempt to re-establish peace and order in its domains.

In the 20th century World War I and World War II were both ultimately fought out between enormous armies on all sides. The German Wehrmacht was tactically the most successful and tactically superior armed force the world had seen since the days of Genghis Khan's Mongolian horse-archers. But in invading the Soviet Union, Adolf Hitler finally committed the Wehrmacht to a war it could not win against overwhelming odds. Ultimately, numbers on the ground proved decisive.

In the 21st century, if the United States ultimately needs to defend its southern borders against uncontrolled mass migration from Mexico, if Russia needs to do it against immigrants from the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, if the Western European nations try to limit or halt the current uncontrolled levels of immigration from the Middle East, Turkey and Northern Africa, or if Turkey needs to do so against Iran, high-tech alone, or with only a relatively small number of soldiers, will not do the job. Lots of boots with soldiers' feet in them and lots of relatively low-tech automatic rifles will prove to be vastly more important than having the most expensive, super high-tech combat aircraft, stealth technology or nuclear-powered super aircraft carriers.

Many nations around the world already are relearning and applying this old and supposedly discredited wisdom. India has built strong security fences and passive defenses to strengthen its border security against Pakistan on the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir state and around the nation of Pakistan. The Indian army maintains a far larger standing force than the prosperous, industrial democracies of Western Europe, North America and Japan believe is necessary for them. But the ability to flood Indian states threatened with terrorist attacks with large numbers of relatively untrained but useful and reassuring soldiers remains a huge strategic and political ace card for New Delhi in preserving national security and integrity.

Saudi Arabia and Israel both have invested heavily and successfully in strong passive defenses and the soldiers or border guards to man them, and the United States is slowly and reluctantly but very clearly moving in that direction under both Republican and Democratic presidents.

The biggest security threat that the United States and major Western European nations could face is that their small but high-tech, usually very well-trained professional core elite forces could be swamped by overwhelming numbers in having to deal with widespread domestic violence or even civil war in large communities of recent immigrants and their offspring, when there are not enough trained and well-armed police and reservists to do the job.

Alternately, nations from the United States to Turkey run the risk that if they send their relatively small armies to defend their borders against massive military incursions ultimately backed by the armed forces of other nations, they simply may be overwhelmed by superior numbers.

(Part 4: The warming wars of the arctic)

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Washington new center of global warming battle
Washington (AFP) March 4, 2009
European ministers are flocking to Washington drawn by the new administration's pledge to help lead the fight against climate change, an issue largely put on ice for eight years here.







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