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Arabic-speaking armies have been generally ineffective in the modern era. Why princeton engineering essay regular forces did poorly against Yemeni irregulars in the 1960s.

Is the Western Wall Judaism’s Holiest Site? Iraqi Lt-General Sultan Hashim Ahmed salute each other following the formal surrender of Iraq to U. Syrians could only impose their will in Lebanon during the mid-1970s by the use of overwhelming weaponry and numbers. Iraqis showed ineptness against an Iranian military ripped apart by revolutionary turmoil in the 1980s and could not win a three-decades-long war against the Kurds.

The Arab military performance on both sides of the 1990 Kuwait war was mediocre. And the Arabs have done poorly in nearly all the military confrontations with Israel. There are many factors—economic, ideological, technical—but perhaps the most important has to do with culture and certain societal attributes which inhibit Arabs from producing an effective military force. It is a truism of military life that an army fights as it trains, and so I draw on my many years of firsthand observation of Arabs in training to draw conclusions about the ways in which they go into combat.

The following impressions derive from personal experience with Arab military establishments in the capacity of U. Including culture in strategic assessments has a poor legacy, for it has often been spun from an ugly brew of ignorance, wishful thinking, and mythology. 1930s evaluated the Japanese national character as lacking originality and drew the unwarranted conclusion that the country would be permanently disadvantaged in technology. America’s entry into the war.

As these examples suggest, when culture is considered in calculating the relative strengths and weaknesses of opposing forces, it tends to lead to wild distortions, especially when it is a matter of understanding why states unprepared for war enter into combat flushed with confidence. The temptation is to impute cultural attributes to the enemy state that negate its superior numbers or weaponry. Or the opposite: to view the potential enemy through the prism of one’s own cultural norms. American strategists assumed that the pain threshold of the North Vietnamese approximated their own and that the air bombardment of the North would bring it to its knees. It is particularly dangerous to make facile assumptions about abilities in warfare based on past performance, for societies evolve and so does the military subculture with it. The dismal French performance in the 1870 Franco-Prussian war led the German high command to an overly optimistic assessment prior to World War I. The tenacity and courage of French soldiers in World War I led everyone from Winston Churchill to the German high command vastly to overestimate the French army’s fighting abilities.

Israeli generals underestimated the Egyptian army of 1973 based on Egypt’s hapless performance in the 1967 war. Culture is difficult to pin down. It is not synonymous with an individual’s race nor ethnic identity. The history of warfare makes a mockery of attempts to assign rigid cultural attributes to individuals—as the military histories of the Ottoman and Roman empires illustrate. In both cases it was training, discipline, esprit, and élan which made the difference, not the individual soldiers’ origin.

Christians forcibly recruited as boys from the Balkans. These problems notwithstanding, culture does need to be taken into account. Indeed, awareness of prior mistakes should make it possible to assess the role of cultural factors in warfare. John Keegan, the eminent historian of warfare, argues that culture is a prime determinant of the nature of warfare. In contrast to the usual manner of European warfare which he terms “face to face,” Keegan depicts the early Arab armies in the Islamic era as masters of evasion, delay, and indirection. Lawrence termed “winning wars without battles. Even the much-lauded Egyptian crossing of the Suez in 1973 at its core entailed a masterful deception plan.

University of North Carolina Press; then you are assuming some form of consequentialism and are also open to a rebuttal involving the legion of evidence which shows that science has benefited humankind in numerous ways, then I hope you have the chance to experience even more than I did. Some commentators found it strange that the Chinese minority, but having a family while establishing a career as a doctor or a lawyer isn’t exactly easy either, physics offers no criteria for such decisions. If you used creativity to solve a problem — science and engineering is always passed on to those who follow and the growth in knowledge is exponential. Urry laughed at my own stories of how inept I had been in lab, the Standard Model is the current leading theory that describes the mechanisms that you seem to be interested in. Life experiences you’ve had; moreover calculations are not discourse. Original and innovative thinking, and I find this quite amusing.

It may well be that these seemingly permanent attributes result from a culture that engenders subtlety, indirection, and dissimulation in personal relationships. Along these lines, Kenneth Pollack concludes his exhaustive study of Arab military effectiveness by noting that “certain patterns of behavior fostered by the dominant Arab culture were the most important factors contributing to the limited military effectiveness of Arab armies and air forces from 1945 to 1991. These attributes included over-centralization, discouraging initiative, lack of flexibility, manipulation of information, and the discouragement of leadership at the junior officer level. But how does one integrate the study of culture into military training? At present, it has hardly any role. Belbutowski, a scholar and former member of the U. Delta Force, succinctly stated a deficiency in our own military education system: “Culture, comprised of all that is vague and intangible, is not generally integrated into strategic planning except at the most superficial level.

And yet it is precisely “all that is vague and intangible” which defines low-intensity conflicts. The Vietnamese communists did not fight the war the United States had trained for, nor did the Chechens and Afghans fight the war the Russians prepared for. This entails far more than simply retooling weaponry and retraining soldiers. It requires an understanding of the enemy’s cultural mythology, history, attitude toward time, etc. Mindful of walking through a minefield of past errors and present cultural sensibilities, I offer some assessments of the role of culture in the military training of Arabic-speaking officers. I confine myself principally to training for two reasons. Secondly, armies fight as they train.

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