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xix PROLOGUE A population weakened and exhausted by battling against so many obstacles–– whose needs are never satisfied and desires never fulfilled––is vulnerable to manipulation and regimentation.The struggle for survival is, above all, an exercise that is hugely time-consuming, absorbing and debilitating. If you create these “anti-conditions,” your rule is guaranteed for a hundred years. —Ryszard Kapuscinski The basis of shame is not some personal mistake of ours, but the ignominy, the humiliation we feel that we must be what we are without any choice in the matter, and that this humiliation is seen by everyone. —Milan Kundera [Conflict] is the eternal struggle between two principles––right and wrong. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time and will ever continue to struggle. It is the same spirit that says,“You work and toil and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.” —Abraham Lincoln Never underestimate the cost of humiliation. In war, victory is never clean because it empowers the vanquished, or their successors, to struggle in the future. Recent wars in Iraq,Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the Muslim world and beyond confirm this enduring, though often unheeded, lesson of history. Since the era of Alexander the Great, the king of the Macedonian Empire, nearly two and a half millennia ago, imperial powers far afield have sent their rampaging armies to conquer and to humiliate the populations of vast fertile lands, cradles of civilization, close to the four great rivers—the Nile, the Euphrates, the Indus, and the Hwang He.What transpired forms a pattern. Imperial Designs_13448.indd 19 3/12/13 2:44 PM xx   PROLOGUE The disputed territories include modern Iran,Iraq,Afghanistan,and the South Asian subcontinent, Pakistan and India in particular. Despite the extreme volatility in this region, a certain consistency has existed for the last 2,500 years.Alexander ’s campaign of conquest finally ran out of steam on the banks of the Hydaspes, the modern-day Jhelum River. His troops became exhausted. They mutinied, refusing to march any farther. The rebellion continued later at Opis, a Babylonian city on the east bank of the Tigris, where Alexander gave a stirring speech, admonishing his troops. His attempt to rally them failed. Agnes Savill, author of the biography, Alexander the Great and His Time, wrote, “A mind of his [Alexander ’s] calibre never realises how ignorant men dwell on imagined grievances, repeating from mouth to mouth small incidents which assume gigantic proportions . Why, they complained, had their marriages been celebrated with Persian rites? Why did the King and Peucestas wear Persian garments? Why should the army include commanders from Bactria, Sogdiana, Hyrcania, Parthia and other conquered races? They would not obey such officers.”1 Elsewhere, clans in the Kunar and SwatValleys had put up extraordinary resistance , forewarning history’s greatest military geniuses. However, the message from those uprisings was not enough for Alexander to overcome his own hubris.After the Battle of Hydaspes, he retreated to Persia, leaving governors he had appointed in charge.But they misbehaved.Alexander was exhausted and injured;his aura was not the same as it had been before the battle. He became even more brutal. He died in Persia three years after his retreat.Alexander supposedly remarked,“I am dying from the treatment of too many physicians.” The hills and valleys of Swat and Kunar, together with lands of the vast region of South and West Asia, have been subjected to repeated invasions through the centuries. The soil is soaked in blood spilled in violence between invaders and defenders, communities and tribes, whose fortunes and failings have attracted eagle-eyed predators far and near.And the ground is as fertile for resistance as it is for agriculture. Foreign armies have found this to their detriment time after time. Subjugation by external forces renders victims helpless but consolidates their long-term resolve.It breeds local resistance to occupiers and their culture.It results in the colonization of lands by foreign troops, mercenaries, and those wearing civilian hats as administrators and advisers.These occupiers engage in activities to extract and sell local assets and goods through market mechanisms created and managed by themselves, not by those who owned the salable items in the first place. Or they use the location of occupied lands to extend their control further. In chapter 5 of The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli discusses three ways to hold newly acquired states that once had their own sovereign laws...


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