Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Its All About The Size Honey..

It is a widely observed phenomenon that size play a 'huge' (pun intended) role in our social lives and self image. Men are measured (again intended) according to the size of their cars, paychecks, property, height and of course their manhood while women pride themselves in owing the bigger bling, greater number of offspring, more voluptuous boobs and of course a man with all the correct 'bigness's'.

Strangely enough, the co-relation of size to self worth goes beyond the personal and can be seen even in the collective sense of a nation or group. A smaller group, nation or company will always aspire to surpass the bigger one, be it in terms of economic or military prowess and it is usually the smaller one that will be more focused and in a lot of cases more successful, in its plans. Call it aspiration or the constant need to prove their worth, but history is proof that smaller groups and nations have always been the more successful aggressor contrary to popular notions of big countries with huge armies (one look at the USA in Vietnam and the Middle East says it all). Lets take a quick look at some case studies of 'Small Nation = Big Fight' in a chronological order.

Greece under Alexander III of Macedon (356–323 BC)
One of the greatest general and war tactician the world has ever known, little Alexie grew up in the small Greek city state of Macedon with an ambition to bring the world to kneel before him. Considering the fact that he was short and stocky (unlike Colin Farrel in the movie Alexander, where Angelia Jolie played his mom!!!), it must have rather difficult to bend down that low. In his prime, Alexie defeated the Persians in battle, marched through Syria, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, , Bactria (not the micro-organism) and into India. An overdose of tantric sex and the earliest recorded case of the Delhi Belly syndrome forced Alexie to cancel his further travel plans and head back home. OK, I am guessing on that part but the fact remains that our man came from a little Greek city state and went on to bitch slap the entire world. First case of the smaller you are the more motivated you are.

Rome (1st century BC - 4th century AD)
Another hard ass city state. Rome's history as a city spans over two and a half thousand years, as one of the founding and most powerful cities of Western Civilization. It was the center of the Roman Empire, which dominated Europe, North Africa and the Middle East for over four hundred years from the 1st Century BC until the 4th Century AD, and during the Ancient Roman era, the city was the most powerful in Europe. At one point of time, it was said that 'All roads lead to Rome', such was the city's significance. Considering the amount of cultural, religious and military influence Rome had over the known world during that time period, it is nothing short of phenomenal considering the size of that place in comparison to the entire Roman empire! They also had a huge rock arena called the Colosseum where gladiators would perform before a packed house and the earliest recorded version of Survivor: Rome would be played out, usually featuring a Christian and a lion

England (during the British Empire days)
The British Empire comprised of territories ruled by the United Kingdom (primarily England), that had originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1922, the British Empire held sway over a population of about 458 million people, one-quarter of the world's population, and covered more than 13,000,000 square miles (33,670,000 km2): approximately a quarter of the Earth's total land area. At the peak of its power, it was often said that "the sun never sets on the British Empire" because its span across the globe ensured that the sun was always shining on at least one of its numerous territories. And the most impressive fact remains that all this was achieved by the small island of England with the size of roughly 131,000 Square km which is less than 1% of the entire empire! Talk of disproportionate gains. The good thing about the whole exercise was that it introduced to the world the delightful pleasures of fish and chips along with the hilarious British accent.

Germany (World War II )
This is a self-explanatory title and I don't need to go into the details. Suffice to put up a picture which shows German occupied territory during the Third Reich. Again a classic case of a small sized nation going on to take over the world (well.. almost). Hey at least they gave us Oktoberfest!

Japan (Early 1900s - Mid 1940s)
Japan has one of the bloodiest histories in the world and despite being just about 378,000 sq. kms, it always had dreams of world domination. Ask any Chinese or Korean about Japan and they can give you some very graphic history lessons. Japan's modern military and territory expansion started in the early 1900s and continued well into World War II when they had advanced well into Chinese Manchuria and other parts of Asia. They even had the balls to not only attempt but pull off Pearl Harbor. In fact, they had to use not 1 but 2 frigging A-bombs to finally make them surrender. Other than all the tech goodies, Japan has given the world some pretty crazy and weird stuff. More on that later.

Mongolia under Ghengis Khan (1206–1227)
Finally, the baddest-ass of them all. If there was an example of the biggest single hit wonder from any country, it has to be the Great Khan from the otherwise-relatively-unknown Mongolia. If it were not for him, you would not have even heard of Mongolia. At 1,564,116 square kilometres, Mongolia is the nineteenth largest and the most sparsely populated independent country in the world, with a population of around 2.9 million people. It is also the world's second-largest landlocked country after Kazakhstan. The country contains very little arable land, as much of its area is covered by steppes, with mountains to the north and west and the Gobi Desert to the south. Approximately 30% of the population are nomadic or semi-nomadic. And out of this god-forsaken place you have one person who not only united the entire Mongolian population (think of the logistical challenges!), terrorized the entire world and also populated pretty much half of the world's population. Yes, you heard it right. One in every 200 men alive today is a relative of Genghis Khan. An international team of geneticists has made the astonishing discovery that more than 16 million men in central Asia have the same male Y chromosome as the great Mongol leader.

It is a striking finding: a huge chunk of modern humanity can trace its origins to Khan's vigorous policy of claiming the most beautiful women captured during his merciless conquest.

'One thirteenth century Persian historian claimed that within a century of Khan's birth, his enthusiastic mating habits had created a lineage of more than 20,000 individuals,' said team leader Dr Chris Tyler-Smith. 'That now appears to account for around 8% of the men in central Asia.' (BTW I am a confirmed recipient of his genes, the non-violent parts of it at least)

Talk about fringe benefits of being an dreaded invader!

Couple of honorable mentions would be Israel fighting religiously with the entire Middle East to claim the exclusive rights to hummus and the Scandinavian Vikings who were single-handedly responsible for the slump in European beach front properties during the Great Realty Depression lasting from 790 AD to 1066 AD. If I have missed out on any, please feel free to post it.

Size not only drives you to be great in the battlefield, it also makes great performers in bed. Just look at the Chinese, the biggest population in the world. They are not exactly known for their generous manhood but that didn't stop them from filling 1/5th of the world's entire human population. So the next time you see a shorter or 'smaller' man, don't laugh at him 'coz he might be doing your wife / girlfriend or both at the same time ;-).

2 comments:

Anonymous Assclown said...

The US-Vietnam analogy is naively irrelevant given that the US was fighting Vietnam in name only. In reality, it was a proxy war pitting us against the soviet union. In fact, one could make a pretty cogent argument that most military conflicts between 1950 and 1990 were actually defacto American/Soviet conflicts (Korea,Vietnam, USSR vs Afghanistan, Iraq vs Iran, etc). Even today, the lines of demarcation aren't terribly clear. Th wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are as much against those countries as they are against Iran, Syria and, to a lesser extent, Russia. So your historical references, although interesting, are largely moot when framed against the reference of the modern paradigm (and thats not even factoring in the impact of geographic determinism on global conflict).

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