1500 years ago, the Shiva Dhanurveda- one of the principal military manuals of the Sri Sri Gupta Mandala- or the Gupta Empire- declared: ‘(Enemy) heroes who faint, or are wounded, or whose weapons are broken, or who are fighting with another warrior, or who are asking for asylum or refuge, should not be killed…A mighty warrior should not chase a weak fighter who is running away, because a warrior who apprehends death may suddenly become aggressive and brave…’
‘Mlecchas’- Hunas (Huns), Turukushas (Turks), Parsikas (Persians or more accurately- Turanians), Yavannas (Indo-Greeks), and other races- were disdained because, unlike ‘Aryas’ (Malwas (Ujjainis), Kushanas (Punjabis), Odras (Oriyas), Kadambas (Kannadas), Cholas (Tamils) etc), they didn’t follow such ‘righteous’ precepts.
Interestingly enough- the Guptas and other Arya rulers seem to have felt no compunction in following the same precepts while battling the Mlecchas. Instances like the Battle of Korur have Indian armies wiping out entire invading hordes root and branch. Kalidasa describes how punitive Indian forces invading modern-day Uzbekistan made the Huns ‘weep blood’- a reference to the practice of Hunnic women slashing their cheeks in grief at the death of their husbands (interestingly, the exact same descriptions used by Roman writers half a world away). It is clear the idea of ‘righteous’ warfare was applicable only- and only- to the people of the Indian subcontinent and not to other races.
The reasoning of the Gupta Emperors and their Indian kin was simple:-
- ‘Righteous’ war is, by its very nature, very resource intensive and expensive since you are constantly battling the same people again and again. Thus it suits the rich settled Indian kingdoms better than it suits the poor nomads.
- ‘Righteous’ battles suited the richer Indian kingdoms since that meant the enemy wasn’t attacking the women and children in Indian cities- who were more at risk than the nomad women and children in the mobile camps.
- ‘Righteous’ war allowed the Guptas to bring their Super-weapons into play- Super-weapons no other civilization in the World was capable of producing at the time. Steel bows that could pierce armour at half a mile, Chariot-mounted Flamethrowers, Catapults and Ballistae carrying round shot- the mlecchas had nothing- absolutely nothing- in response.
Thus, playing by the ‘rules’ of ‘righteous’ War didn’t really hurt the established powers of India- but was not practical for the weaker nomads. Even when the nomads were rapidly adopting Indian culture- worshipping Hindu gods, building Sanskrit universities, and copying Indian practices- they were still ‘mlecchas’ merely because of the way their weakness forced them to fight.
The same logic applies to the current Anglo-American Empire as well.
North Korea is, essentially, a powerless entity in global politics. It has little ability to challenge the global hegemony; it has little food, antiquated equipment, a vast over-built army, little power-projection ability, and no navy. Even their former allies- the Chinese- are fast drifting away from them in favour of deeper trade ties with the South Koreans. Even at best, North Korea was nothing more than a buffer between the Chinese Continent and the NATO Ocean. Now- with increasing anti-Japanese sentiment coupled with the rise of Abe with his plans for the militarization of Japan- it is highly likely we might see tentative handshake between the South Koreans and the Chinese in the future.
So what does North Korea have?
The latest toy in the North Korean arsenal is a new Nuke, twice as powerful as any they’ve possessed yet. The test on Friday- yet another nail on the coffin of Obama’s foreign policy- generated power equivalent to a 5.3 Richter scale earthquake.
In theory, a North Korean nuke of that power can wipe out most of Seoul within 3 minutes, destroy almost half of Tokyo, and threaten even the American Pacific front. A North Korean nuke represents an unparalleled threat not only to Asian, but Global trade and security- partly because North Korea has been the go-to supplier for every shady nuclear proliferator out there- Pakistan, Gadaffi’s Libya, even Iran. A North Korean nuke- especially the new miniaturized versions being tested- also gives its tiny navy impressive coverage of some of the most busy shipping lanes in the World.
Sounds formidable, doesn’t it?
The North Korean situation is what Chairman Mao- whose birth anniversary was barely a week ago- would’ve called a ‘paper tiger’. ‘It looks formidable but it is weak against the rain and the wind.’
Consider this- there’s nothing the North Koreans have done which hasn’t been repeated ad nauseum by other foreign states. Stealing and selling nuclear technology? Many have been guilty of this- for example, the valiant NATO ally called Pakistan. Global trade and security is at perpetual risk anyway- or has anyone forgotten that most World trade passes through the Bab-el-Mandab and the Persian Gulf, the heart of the turbulent Middle East? There are dozens of failed states littering the World already- and North Korea, for all its faults, is still a stable functioning country with a decades-old government which maintains foreign relations with several countries including India. As far as militarization is concerned, North Korea can hardly equal India itself, let alone the Chinese and NATO. As for threatening World peace? The only one in the US Presidential race even advocating peaceful relations with the Russians is Trump the Wall-builder!
And let’s not forget- the only nation to have used Nuclear weapons upon human beings is, of course, the champion of Human Rights and Democracy in the World- the great and noble United States of America.
Similar logic applies to Biological and Chemical weapons as well. Last week, the Syrian government was accused of uing Chemical weapons again. Somehow the tens of thousands of innocents raped, murdered, and beheaded by ISIS and the rebels don’t make an impression on the World media- but a dozen or so dead because of chemical weapons- if the reports are even true in the first place- are a great tragedy. Why is that? The reason is, again, simple. Chemical weapons are terrifying because they are cheap, effective, and ‘evil’. Worse- they are Germanic weapons, created by the Central European Prussians, instead of the Western European Anglo-Saxons- so they represent a massive cultural assault upon the American Empire even now.
Nobody minds if carpet bombers burn millions of women and children alive- as they did in Japan in 1945.
Nobody minds if landmines turn half of South East Asia and Afghanistan into a living Hell and continue maiming people for decades afterwards.
Nobody minds if tanks fire thousands of depleted uranium shells into the Middle Eastern soil and seed the earth with cancer and radiation for millennia.
Bombs, guns, bayonets, and swords wiped out millions of people during World War 2. The Firebombing of Tokyo killed nearly 200,000 women and children- because all military age men had already had been conscripted. Yet it is the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki- and them alone- that are described as ‘atrocities’. And increasingly- any mention of them in Western media- will have hundreds and thousands of Westerners rushing to defend them.
Why is that?
The answer is that the histories of the World Wars were written in the winters of the Cold War- when every city of the Anglo-American Empire lay under the shadow of Soviet nukes. The only Superpower still around is the USA- and so thermonuclear war becomes more and more blasé an option these days. And the technological gulf between the Anglo-American Empire’s nukes and the North Korean ones is so so much more than that between the Gupta steel spring bows and the horn and bow ones used by their nomadic foes.
If the North Koreans would’ve built up a fleet of hundreds of battleships or if the Syrians had constructed thousands of airplanes, no one in the West would’ve bothered.
Because fighter planes and Destroyers, unlike nuclear-tipped ICBMs and chemical weapons- pose absolutely no danger to the established American Empire and its Client states.
And Nuclear weapons are still ‘acceptable’ to some extent. They have to be delivered by ICBMs- the construction of which requires the resources of the ‘recognized’ powers, by nuclear submarines- the construction of which requires the supplies of the ‘recognized’ powers, by long-range bombers- the construction of which requires the sanction of the ‘recognized’ powers. More ‘equitable’ weaponry- such as biochemical weapons- are completely unacceptable. If India- helped by its vast population and resources and the liberalization- hadn’t become a vast manufacturing and marketing hub, we would still have been a pariah nation with thousands of sanctions upon us.
Countries like North Korea don’t have even this rarest of chances.
To be a ‘recognized’ power in this World, means one simple fact- be part of the Anglo-American Empire. Or else. The only way to break this great chain is to gain power. To not do so is to be consigned to eternal servitude and endless grief. After all- who today remembers the Pushyamitras, the Sakas, the countless foes the Guptas smashed in their road to Empire?
In a way, the current North Korean crisis was entirely predictable and expected. Remember the Dhanurveda? ‘A mighty warrior should not chase a weak fighter who is running away, because a warrior who apprehends death may suddenly become aggressive and brave…’ What the American Empire forgot was this- when they invaded Afghanistan which had no nukes, conquered Iraq which hadn’t obtained nukes, and toppled Libya which had given up its nukes- while avoiding direct conflict with India, Israel, and Pakistan- they sent one very ancient message to the modern World.
If you want peace, prepare for war.
Until the new millennium, the North Koreans had little reason to research long-range nuclear weaponry. Their conventional artillery would’ve enough to destroy Seoul, their needs were satisfied by Chinese trade and aid, their navy was capable of fending off any chance intruders into their waters. Threats and sanctions are meaningless now; what the North Koreans are fighting for is National existence- at all costs.
By actively invading and toppling former Soviet Client States, the American Empire has done the exact thing the Gupta Empire’s generals were once cautioned about- to never attack a cornered enemy.
And now everyone wants a nuke for themselves, there are Chinese consortiums building factories in Africa and Asia at a pace not seen since the East India Company- and Russian tanks roll on Ukrainian plains after almost 25 years.
Whatever the future may hold- one thing is certain as far India is concerned. 1500 years ago, Kalidasa wrote- ‘When Elephants fight, even the thorniest of grasses gets trampled.’ The ancestors from the Golden Age of India, three centuries of glorious reign when the Eagle and the Swastika of Pataliputra had no equals under Heaven, have given us wisdom- despite the vast gulfs that separate the modern India from the Classical Age. All grief in this World stems from lack of Power. It is up to us to determine whether we will roam the World as elephants or be trampled underneath like worthless grass.