06 December 2009

Shorter version of today's Kings of War post

Patrick Porter's entry regarding Afghanistan's reputation as the "Graveyard of Empires" has some good news. Afghanistan, in his opinion, is not the graveyard of empires. Now for the bad news...

(I've abridged his article for you in a much more succinct and sarcastic format, for your enjoyment):

Afghanistan is not the "Graveyard of Empires", as many claim. It was only a proximate cause for the fall of the Soviet Union, merely a total defeat for the British Empire (but not related to the loss of their empire), and a brutal campaign which claimed 80% of Alexander the Great's army, and resulted in little short-term Hellenic consolidation. This is largely because it's just the ideal fighting ground from insurgents, a logistical nightmare, ethnically fractured, and whose history as a nation-state ruled from a strong, centralized government Kabul is somewhat less than spectacular...most empires also find themselves cutting their losses and leaving because it produces little of value. But to call it the actual "Graveyard of Empires" is a bit extreme.

Seriously, though, read the actual article and not my snarky commentary on it, as it's quite interesting. One of the comments to the article brings up a great point about the relatively successful incorporation of Afghanistan into the Persian Empire, which is worth reading more on.


Patrick Porter said...

Hey Starbuck,

It wasn't a total defeat for the British Empire, which returned decades later, foisted a client ruler and controlled Afghan foreign policy. It had nothing to do with the breakup of Alexander's empire. It was only slightly related to the fall of the Soviet Union, which had more profound causes.

So in fairness, my point that it isn't the 'graveyard of empires' was not a meaningless preamble.


Starbuck said...


I apologize if I came off as a smartass with that one. I was feeling like a hungover smartass this morning.

The article is great and raises a number of good issues about the difficulty of controlling Afghanistan, plus its "graveyard" reputation which is more Kipling-esque fiction than certifiable fact. I apologize if I came off as a dick with that one, I just needed some satire this morning.

Patrick Porter said...

no worries, understood! a need for satire grips me often as well.

looks like you've got a great blogsite, btw