A long time ago, on a continent some drive from here, there lived a guy with a bad mustache and a great mind for international relations. He also had some fairly forward thinking ideas on resource management. One of his better ones, to his mind, was the idea that since he needed more space to walk his horses, and the world had more land than it knew what to do with, so why not go out and make it part of his kingdom? Now, the Americans wouldn’t go on to coin the term Manifest Destiny for hundreds of years, so you can see how ahead of his time this Temujin was. Downright brilliant, he’d say.
Now, as you can imagine, there were some other guys around, several of them with equally bad mustaches, who didn’t think too much of his genius and decided that resistance to annexation was a good idea. After all, these guys had horses and dogs to walk, too.
You can see what a challenge this was to Temujin. He was, after all, just a guy trying to live the dream, one small country at a time and all that. The times being what they were, though, he decided for an enlightened approach. So he sent out a messenger to tell the other men with bad mustaches that it would be best if they surrender. For the good of the children, you see. Naturally, they didn’t quite see it his way and politely refused. The messenger, having delivered his message of peace, kindly returned to his lord, in pieces. One could even say he was beside himself. I guess he was no relation of Kissenger’s.
Naturally, Temujin viewed this act as a bit of downer. Turns out the messenger was his 3rd wife’s nephew on her brother’s side, or so I’m told. Very sad. The challenge, as his Khanliness surmised, wasn’t the issue of how to respond to this action, but how to prevent this response in the future. As I said, the world was full of land that it didn’t need and Temujin foresaw this becoming a regular issue as time, and his forces, marched on. As I said before, a great mind.
So he leveled the city and killed everything related to it– Every man, woman, child and animal. He then told all other men with mustaches that he would do the same to them and their cities should they refuse his generous offer of subjugation. It seems the Khan did not believe in collective bargaining…and thus he became the first union buster, as well. Very forward thinking.
Fast forward a little while and you can see how the Khan’s philosophy has shaped foreign relations today. Every act demands a greater act of retaliation. An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind, but an eye for a whole man’s family and maybe he’ll think twice before going after the other eye. It just makes sense, doesn’t it? I’m sure you can see how this has worked out, especially given several examples from American history of the past 30 years or so. Reagan and Libya, Bush and Iraq, Bush 2 w/ Afghanistan and Iraq, and now… Obama and Syria.
Tomorrow I want to expand on an alternative method. I’m sure you’ll see that it isn’t an officially recognized method of diplomacy as taught by the Genghis Khan School for Diplomacy and So Can You!, but I think it might have a bit of merit.