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Thread: Fool me once same on you, fool me twice shame on me.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Default Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

    The first two Condor Heroes novels covered the decline of the Songs. While often considered a high point of Chinese cultural history, I always got the impression that the Dynasty was a bit stupid.

    First they sided with the Jins to get rid of the Khitans, then found themselves with and even more powerful enemy than they had before. Afterwards when the Mongols emerged they did the exact same thing and found themselves in even more desperate straits.

    For a civilization that claimed to be one of the most sophisticated at the time, they seemed incredibly thick.
    Last edited by Mandred Skavenslayer; 04-18-15 at 05:41 PM.

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    Senior Member Ian Liew's Avatar
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    They didn't really have a choice because the Song tradiationally relied upon diplomacy and playing their neighbours against one another to survive. They had a really weak military.

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    Senior Member deathblade's Avatar
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    Did you intentionally write the expression incorrectly in the title of your post....
    Current Translation: I Shall Seal the Heavens
    Recommended Translation: Heroes Shed No Tears

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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    The Song dynasty was not a high point of Chinese cultural history, that would be the Tang dynasty. But anyway, they didn't exactly give up their land willingly.

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    It wasn't just the Sung Dynasty; "using barbarians to fight barbarians" has been in the Chinese (and probably other civilizations') playbook since time immemorial. It often backfires, especially in the long run, but it has also been used successfully at times. It's always kind dicey, however, because there's no telling how it will play out.

    U.S. President Ronald Reagan played this game with Iran and Iraq during the 1980s. To some extent, Hitler and Stalin also played this card during World War II in terms with how the Nazi and Soviet regimes related to each other and the Western Allies.

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    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    It wasn't just the Sung Dynasty; "using barbarians to fight barbarians" has been in the Chinese (and probably other civilizations') playbook since time immemorial. It often backfires, especially in the long run, but it has also been used successfully at times. It's always kind dicey, however, because there's no telling how it will play out.

    U.S. President Ronald Reagan played this game with Iran and Iraq during the 1980s. To some extent, Hitler and Stalin also played this card during World War II in terms with how the Nazi and Soviet regimes related to each other and the Western Allies.

    The tactic itself is sound as seen by the early Hans and early Tangs, but it requires a strong a government to use the time brought by getting 'barbarians' to fight each other productively. The Songs seemed incapable of this.

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    Senior Member deathblade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whiteskwirl View Post
    The Song dynasty was not a high point of Chinese cultural history, that would be the Tang dynasty. But anyway, they didn't exactly give up their land willingly.
    It's not like Chinese culture only has one high point. Actually, the Song had a lot of pretty good stuff going for it especially in art and science.
    Current Translation: I Shall Seal the Heavens
    Recommended Translation: Heroes Shed No Tears

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    Senior Member Avidfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Liew View Post
    They didn't really have a choice because the Song tradiationally relied upon diplomacy and playing their neighbours against one another to survive. They had a really weak military.
    Not really true. Just don't emphasis on that on purpose.

    The Song Dynasty is the most technology advance nation in the whole world with mechanic gears and automated machines. They have paper armor that is harder than iron, firearms etc and hold off the Mongols for nearly a hundred years.

    The thing is the Song Dynasty is non expansionist and its Emperors do not trust the military at all. It is also the first Dynasty that the common people can have gold and silver in their homes so the people is quite well off. Previously during the Tang Dynasty, it is a crime punishable by death.

    But when the Mongols started to bring in new advance catapults that were made by the Muslims, then they changed the entire concept of siege warfare. If i remember correctly, the siege lasts for 6-7 years and the Mongols were desperate so they really think hard to win but the Song Emperor didn't want a decisive win and refuses to give support (for god knows reasons). It political and they pay dearly for it because the new siege machines made no cities safe from the Mongols.

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    Given how powerful the Tang Dynasty were during Li Sai Man time, I wonder why the Song Dynasty didn't follow their foot steps by having powerful military.

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    Given how powerful the Tang Dynasty were during Li Sai Man time, I wonder why the Song Dynasty didn't follow their foot steps by having powerful military.
    Because of the chaos in the intervening period. The Sung leaders recognized that the chaos between the Tang and Sung regimes was largely the result of entrusting TOO MUCH power into the hands of the military. Hence, the Sung insisted upon civilian oversight of the military, which is surprisingly similar to the U.S. doctrine of today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    Because of the chaos in the intervening period. The Sung leaders recognized that the chaos between the Tang and Sung regimes was largely the result of entrusting TOO MUCH power into the hands of the military. Hence, the Sung insisted upon civilian oversight of the military, which is surprisingly similar to the U.S. doctrine of today.
    There is a huge difference between the Sung Dynasty and the current USA. Even though the US system is not perfect, but it's the best ever created in human history. It's by far the most powerful and working efficiently. On the other hand, the Sung Dynasty was pretty weak and even lost to the Mongolians which is a shame.
    Last edited by Trien Chieu; 04-21-15 at 03:40 PM.

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Ah, Trien...it's always sledgehammers, and never surgical scalpels, is it?

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    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    TC & KC. Gentlemen must we have this argument again?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    Ah, Trien...it's always sledgehammers, and never surgical scalpels, is it?
    In order to have surgical scalpels, you need sledgehammers to protect you first. If the US doesn't have the military power, other countries would invade and take over. You would not have the opportunity to live in peace with a wonderful career in a college. Freedom and peace are not free, they have a huge price tag. In the US, the price tag is $600+ Billion.

    The Sung Dynasty system wasn't bad. If the Sung Dynasty had powerful military, it would prosper. Too bad the Sung Dynasty didn't have the power to defend themselves.

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    Senior Member Ian Liew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    On the other hand, the Sung Dynasty was pretty weak and even lost to the Mongolians which is a shame.
    You make it sound like it was something to be ashamed of. They weren't the only ones, and lasted longer than most of the others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Liew View Post
    You make it sound like it was something to be ashamed of. They weren't the only ones, and lasted longer than most of the others.
    Well, the Song Dynasty was so much larger, richer and higher population. By logic, it should be more powerful.

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    Senior Member Avidfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    The Sung Dynasty system wasn't bad. If the Sung Dynasty had powerful military, it would prosper. Too bad the Sung Dynasty didn't have the power to defend themselves.
    A powerful military doesn't prevent defeat. Even the powerful US army carried a copy of Sun Zi art of war.

    Wars are fought with determination and tactics, not just equipment.

    It is like saying the inferior armored Mongol is unable to win or wage any wars.

    The Song Dynasty pushed back the Mongols for a good 50 years. They didn't press with their advantage against a determined foe that wants to conquer.

    Spending lots of money on the military don't make you the best. The US creates the ISIS because they supported the Sunni in Syria 2 years ago. The CIA creates so many terrorist states that the logic of spending money to have freedom don't really apply to deter invasion.

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