History for those willing to take a look offers some real hope for our ultimate victory over the Islamist terrorists and even the current recession and intrusion of the government into our freedoms to choose our path in life. Hannibal was the famous Carthaginian leader who led his army from Spain over the Alps and into the heart of the Roman Empire. We had to deal with our tremendous loss on 9/11 and the Romans had to deal with a similarly devastating circumstance when Hannibal entered their territory. He not only entered he delivered a blow that makes our loss on 9/11 pale in comparison.
As Hannibal ventured throughout the Roman lands in Italy he avoided the Roman armies for the most part and had one very good victory in the north of Italy but that was merely the warm up for worse to come. Like the first attack on the Twin Towers in ’93 was a harbinger of 9/11. The Romans massed a huge army for that day with 80,000 troops and cornered Hannibal in southeastern Italy at a little place called Cannae. There the Romans were not only defeated but slaughtered. The entire army for all intents and purposes was killed. R0me was temporarily defenseless and felt incredibly vulnerable. But after the usual finger pointing and blame game they regrouped and continued the battle. Hannibal roamed about the Roman countryside for nigh on 20 years before the Romans finally were able to extract him. They attacked his allies more than they attacked him and his army directly. At length it became obvious to Hannibal that he could not prevail and he returned to Carthage. But as Paul Harvey used to say we need to know the rest of the story. Rome was not done with Hannibal.
Great peoples and great nations or empires have tenacity and realize the importance of perceptions. The impetus for removing Hannibal was an attack against Carthage itself. That caused Hannibal to return there. A great Roman general called Scipio Africanus defeated Hannibal outside Carthage but Hannibal was allowed to live and was even appointed the leader of Carthage and paid tribute to Rome for several years. Hannibal followed his true light and the pressure mounted against him by those in Rome who thought it wrong to allow him to remain in power. He conspired with the Syrian King against Rome and was declared an outlaw by Rome. He went to Syria as a mercenary general to “advise” the Syrian King. Rome defeated the Syrians even with Hannibal aid and he fled to Crete. His alliance with the Cretans didn’t last long as they tired of him and the constant pressure from Rome as they knew the Romans would continue to pursue him and they did.
He fled next to the northern border of modern day Turkey across from Istanbul. The local king there employed him to lead his armies against Rome. Again the Romans came and defeated the Bithynian King. Hannibal fled again into the remote regions of Turkey but was finally tracked down. Surrounded by the Romans he took his own life. Roman tenacity ultimately paid off. They realized also that a great power most not only be strong but give the appearance of being strong. They were willing to chase Hannibal to the ends of the earth to prove their point. You can be assured that the rest of the civilized world around the Mediterranean Sea also took notice. It was the same motivation that caused the British two thousand years later to pursue the mutineers from the Bounty more than half way around the world. It was a huge undertaking for the British but it was important for the world to know that they did not suffer fools lightly and would demand justice regardless of the inconvenience or costs. Some of those mutineers eventually hung from the yardarms of the British fleet back home.
The US faces several difficulties at the moment but if we can buckle up and saddle up we can get through this dark valley. The best days of the Roman Empire were still in the future when Rome had to deal with Hannibal. There were dissenters at home saying the costs were too high. The Empire had its bad moments and even evil over its history and it endured some truly bad leaders. But at the core they preserved the basics of a democracy. Even the most despotic of their Emperors had to acknowledge and respect the mood and voice of the people. The Empire for all its shortcomings did allow and afford the hope for everyone that they could move up. Even the lowliest slaves could hope for freedom as many did obtain that and some became citizens of Rome.
Our future is still to be written. It is still within our control what our destiny will be. If the people insist that government be their servant and not become their master then we will prevail. If too many of us view government as our keeper then we will begin the slide to deterioration. We will get what we demand from our government and our leaders. It is they who should wear the yoke of public service to do the people’s will rather than the people who should be yoked to the dictates and whims of government.
Interesting and concerning that China is using substantial portions of its profits from foreign trade to expand and upgrade its military might. This has been occurring for some time. Recently a Chinese general even wrote a book about the Chinese goal of becoming a world force. He didn’t write that without approval from the Politburo of the Communist party. Who will be the target of that increased military might? Even those on the back row of class can figure that one out. www.olcranky.wordpress.com