Commentary Magazine


Contentions

We Are Not Doomed to Repeat Ancient History Either

Yesterday I pointed out the dissimilarities between our current campaign in Afghanistan and the one waged by the Soviets in the 1980s. Along comes Barry Strauss, one of our leading ancient historians (meaning that he studies the ancient world, not that he himself is ancient!), to dispel any analogies that might be mooted with the frustrating (if ultimately successful) campaign waged by Alexander the Great in the same region. Strauss notes some similarities — namely that “Afghanistan still represents tough terrain for soldiers. It still is a paradise for brigands and bandits.” But he also notes the fundamental difference — “the kind of war that the surge in Afghanistan represents could not be more different than the war that Alexander fought in the region. The surge aims to protect civilians, not kill them. Allied plans aim at defeating warlords through policing, reconstruction, and diplomacy, not by wiping out cities.”

For those interested in reading more on the subject, I recommend Frank L. Holt’s excellent study Into the Land of bones: Alexander the Great in Afghanistan. We should by all means study the past; heck, that’s what I do for a living. But we shouldn’t expect a replay.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.