War: always bubbling just under the surface.

Jane's Information Group provides an amazing resource for people working with, well, force. Weapons, tactics, political crises, deployments, are all fodder for Janes.

Did you know that Greece and Turkey almost went to war in 1996, and very recently two of their F-16s collided over the Aegean? It's true.

Did you know how many nukes China actually has that can reach the US or it's Asian neighbors? You do now.

It is telling that Jane's writers themselves refer to this all as a "game", for example in this article about Japan "joining the main game" by joining the "United States' SM-3 (Standard Missile 3) naval ballistic missile interceptor programme".

Indeed, with the right abstractions, it is hard not to see world-wide security status as something of a game. It's a game that must be played and played well or else you (and your country) will die. It is a simple fact that the relationships between nations are at their heart barbaric. "International Law" is meaningless unless it has broad, impartial, and universal enforcement. Tensions exist between nations, each seeking to gain advantage over the other, governed largely by the morality of selfishness.

There are startling exceptions to this rule. The Tsunami of 2004 engendered widespread altrusim throughout the world. Even so, in a way this altruism reenforced our military thinking, as our help was largely dispensed by the military. Movies like "Armageddon" similiarly reenforce the need for military technology as guarantees against large-scale emergencies (in that case that big nukes can be used to save the Earth by blowing up large bodies on collision courses).

I grew up, as most boys do, playing with war-like toys, and playing war games. I enjoyed it. I still enjoy it. I would go so far as to say that most people enjoy war games (e.g. chess), and indeed revere great leaders of war, even on the opposing or losing side. We are taught to respect Yamamoto as well as Nimitz, Eisenhower as well as Rommel, Grant as well as Lee.

Recent conflicts are different; there is no respect. Who were the great commanders of the Korean War? Vietnam (Westmorland comes to mind - the opposition?)? The Gulf War (Schwartzkopf comes to mind, but the opposition?) The second invasion of Iraq?

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