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I read Booman’s story on Bush’s new secret plan to fight Iraqis from Turkey. Turkey is all bent out of shape over the 4000 members of Kurdistan Workers Party militia that are staging attacks against Turks. Bush prefers this instead of using the regular Kurdistan army that numbers about a quarter of a million troops.
After finishing Booman’s post on this, it sounded a whole lot like the Mongols and the Silk Road. From Wikipedia…
The Mongol expansion throughout the Asian continent from around 1215 to 1360 helped bring political stability and re-establish the Silk Road vis-à-vis Karakorum. With rare exceptions such as Marco Polo or Christian missionaries such as William of Rubruck, few Europeans traveled the entire length of the Silk Road. Instead traders moved products much like a bucket brigade, with luxury goods being traded from one middleman to another, from China to the West, and resulting in extravagant prices for the trade goods.
The disintegration of the Mongol Empire led to the collapse of the Silk Road’s political unity. Also falling victim were the cultural and economic aspects of its unity. Turkic tribes seized the western end of the Silk Road from the decaying Byzantine Empire, and sowed the seeds of a Turkic culture that would later crystallize into the Ottoman Empire under the Sunni faith. Turkic-Mongol military bands in Iran, after some years of chaos were united under the Saffavid tribe, under whom the modern Iranian nation took shape under the Shiite faith. Meanwhile Mongol princes in Central Asia were content with Sunni orthodoxy with decentralized princedoms of the Chagatay, Timurid and Uzbek houses. In the Kypchak-Tatar zone, Mongol khanates all but crumbled under the assaults of the Black Death and the rising power of Muscovy. In the east end, the Chinese Ming Dynasty overthrew the Mongol yoke and pursued a policy of economic isolationism. Yet another force, the Kalmyk-Oyrats pushed out of the Baikal area in central Siberia, but failed to deliver much impact beyond Turkestan. Some Kalmyk tribes did manage to migrate into the Volga-North Caucasus region, but their impact was limited.
The parallels are spectacular. Just swap the silk with oil and you have Operation Enduring Freedom minus another Chinese revolution. But it could happen, it is only Monday and Bush is still in office.