The past few decades saw the birth of a new entity in in the world. Its name has not yet been revealed, but rumor has it to be “New Sparta”.
The original Sparta was a smallish ancient Greek city state that was renowned for its military prowess, aggressiveness and viciousness. And, despite its relatively small population, it was able, with its military might, to conquer much larger neighbors, and either enslave them, or collect tribute from them.
Spartans did not produce their food, clothing and household items, etc., but outsourced them to slaves (helots) or non-Spartans. Instead, they concentrated on exercise, military training, and the development of sophisticated weapons and techniques – the most famous being, the “Spartan Phalanx”.
Sparta’s outlook was hegemonic, and its strategy was to expand by conquering others and usurping their wealth. It repeatedly tried to enforce its hegemony over the many Greek city states, and sometimes won and sometimes lost. It made alliances, and broke them once it achieved its goals, or no longer needed them.
Spartans’ general education was mediocre and very basic, and they paid little attention to quality arts and sciences. But their women enjoyed greater freedoms than other women in the ancient world, and had many more rights.
The system of government was oligarchical in nature, run by two equal kings with limited authority, plus a senate-like council of elders. They all came from the rich elite families.
At its peak, Sparta was the leader of the Greek alliance that vanquished the Persian attempt to conquer Greece and thence Europe. However, it soon turned on its allies, and many battles ensued, ending with the Battle of Leuctra in 371 B.C., which marked the first major battle defeat for Sparta in history. Thereafter, it was a long downhill path, ending with Roman conquest.
Does the tale of Sparta remind us of someone at present? Someone who is excessively wealthy and powerful, has hegemonic designs on the world, is highly militarized and owns powerful weapons, makes and breaks alliances at will, outsources its basic needs to weaker and poorer people, has a different way of life and set of rules, that it prides itself on, and derides all those who don’t adhere to them. No, it is not Israel, but a behemoth that is far bigger, heavier and scarier.
New Sparta has just got itself a new leader, who, as all great leaders in history, sees himself as a super-hero that leads his nation to prosperity and safety. However, as all great Greek heroes, he seems to be carrying the standard classical “hero baggage” of Avarice, Gluttony, Hubris, Wrath, etc., all of which are a great booster for a leader, and provide him the initial acceleration to wherever he wants to go. However, as all Greek heroes, the weight of this baggage may eventually increase, leading to sad and tragic failings.
Nevertheless, New Sparta’s new leader is now gung-ho, and is excitedly drawing out his vision for the future. His first step was to maintain New Sparta’s supremacy and power, as clearly indicated by his appointment of old seasoned warriors to his privy council. No doubt, military generals make the best privy counselors. They are loyal, dedicated, organized and natural leaders. However, they are also, aggressive by nature, belligerent by training, and are never cost conscious. The first sentence of the writing-on-the-wall seems to be crystal clear, more will definitely follow – So, World beware!