Monday, July 27, 2015

Tun M-Najib's Peloponnesian War

The ancient greek Peloponnesian War of army versus navy

Ever since Dato Najib fought back Tun Dr Mahathir with his first salvo on his blog, there had been rapid development on 1MDB. It not only confuses the common observers but the keen ones too.

Nevertheless, there was something interesting emerging out of the many exposes on 1MDB, Thai arrest of Xavier Justo, WSJ revelation of alleged transfer of US$700 million into Dato Najib's account, RM2 million deposit into Datin Seri Rosmah's bank account and subsequent raids and developments on Task Force investigation.

Both sides of Tun M and Najib were avoiding from falling into the trap of playing in each other's "court". There are responses to each other's questions or allegations but not serious effort to pursue it through.   

It took a military man to gave a definition to the current happenings and in anticipating the outcome.

Over Hari Raya, we met up a Navy captain friend. As a keen observer of politics himself, he has his own opinion of the situation albeit a different stance from us. Not that we bother to influence him. We only wanted to share our concerns.

On 1MDB, there could be possible slackening on corporate governance, bad investment made, Jho Loh's strange hands, etc. but to accuse of stealing and embezzling RM42 billion or RM2.3 billion or any amount, it is not fun political games. It is a bloody serious allegation that has to be substantiated and not be made fodders for perception play. 

We shared with the Navy Captain the observation that Dato Najib is avoiding from giving a direct answer to Tun M and his other detractors' list of questions. Najib preferred to let the process of law to take it's due cause at the expense of politics and negative perception of himself. 

Some speculated and accused Najib of hiding something on the basis that he could have denied any wrongdoing or sue the accuser. Quite an easy, simplistic and expected conclusion.

If Najib had done so, it could have serious implication to the due process by the authorities as he could be seen as influencing the outcome. It is similar to those making public statement that could influence due process.

A Prime Minister statement would have strong influence so he had to shut up till it is over. Many would be sceptical but he basically left his fate and those linked to the issue to the due process of law.

The usual due process of law means authorities should not make any statement or share finding with the public. It only get revealed in court should there be any charges. So those asking to be shown which information are tampered by Sarawak Report and The Edge are making political comments without any understanding on due process of law.

Putting aside the technicality and just looking from a tactic and strategy of war, Najib is drawing Tun M into a long drawn out war. He refuses to confront Tun M and even to apply power to flank Tun M since there are legitimate issue that is available.

While, Tun M was racing against time as he up from gear one to gear four in a short time to call for Najib's resignation. In the midst of talk of conspiracy, he deny involvement as he openly said he wants Najib down.

June was the speculated target date for Najib to fall. Now it is August. And a roadshow is heard to begin after Raya.

Why the need to bring Najib down and fast is a mystery? The publicly said reason is that the faster Najib is removed, the earlier effort to reignite the party could begin. The tactic and strategy reason could be something need to be addressed fast.

So what could that be? Economy? Currency? 1MDB? IPP?

1MDB seemed to feature prominently in Tun M's coup on Najib. Not so much GST or BR1M  or Malay issue. YTL's IPP is heard to end in September. Could someone confirm?

As far as Najib's response, he is now on a counter attack mode since Xavier Justo's capture by Thai's military-run police and revelation by Singapore authorities. Assuming some of the effort to implicate Tun M's camp by certain "media" has links to Najib, one could observe the same reaction by Tun M.

Tun M is not playing ball and sticking to his side by demanding for Najib to answer the allegations. He is not even responding to the call for proofs to his long list of faulty accusations.

Najib is also sticking to the position to let the authorities and PAC investigate and the one to answer. Najib knows his denial may not be believeable now.

After describing the battle senario, our Navy Captain friend mentioned of one important case study in military school that is similar to the situation. It is an ancient greek war between the mighty city state of Sparta versus Athens called the Peloponnesian War.

It was a war in which the first stage was between 460 to 446 BC and the second stage was 431 to 404 BC. The interesting similarity is it is the first war that had no direct open field battle.

Sparta had a superior land based army. It is a military-led government and a society systematically tuned for war. Boys with deformity not suitable for battle are left to die in the hills.

As a port and civilisation centre, Athens strength lies in the Navy and its financial strength as trading post. Their line of defense was an impenetrable wall around the city.

The advantage and disadvantage of the military tactic and strategy used could be found here.  

The Peloponnesian War is significant as a case study for it is one of the early war fought on strategy rather than sheer military strength in which it is lop-sided on both sides. Innvovation was introduced as the Spartan tried it's infamous Phalanx formation, use of missionary soldiers and slaves, importance of logistics and tactical seiges.

Read of it and the history behind the war here.

The war rise out of resentment for the Athens grab for power and prestige, expanding naval empire, and Athens settlers moving into other city-state land. Athens had control on Delian League and their rival is Peloponesian League under Sparta.

Athens was keeping away the strong Spartan army from the sieges and counter with naval seiges into Spartan land. They still had supplies via the sea from the Delian Legues city-states but all begin to fail when disease caused the death of one third of the population.

Sparta had a new general that managed to cut off supply line and it led to Athen lost. However, in the end, it weakened all the Greek city-state. The lesson from the Peloponnesian Wars was that countries that wage war will lose power and prestige instead of losing it.

Read the summary in website here.

To use this example, who do one equate Sparta and Athens to? Tun M as Sparta and Najib as Athens?

Sparta was not a democratic state and was military run thus it could be resemble more closely to Tun M, the leader seldom labeled as dictator. If that is the case, the defensive Najib could end up losing the war.

On the other hand, the leverage of power and resources of a political fighting machinery lies with Najib. It is Tun M that is without any big name general in his army but left to himself to take undertake the attack and defense in collaboration with other alleged "Delian League city-states".

If that is the case, Najib is Sparta with its relentless attack using TV3, MyKMU and gang, BN leaders, Mps and ministers. Tun M will equate to the losing Athens and one must say that Tun M's premiership  is now seen as Athenian golden era of Malaysia. 

Whichever side is Sparta and Athens, a long drawn war only weakened the pillar of Malaysia's strength which is the stable politics that enabled the country to proper over the years.


Anonymous said...

Inevitably this war will only benefit the opposition. Even if any of the camp can claim the victory, they will be heavily damaged with scars and bruises difficult to be healed.

SN said...

What are you talking about?!? Drawing parallels from history when there is none.

Najib did not do anything. At least Gaddafi till the last hours still gave tv speeches. Clueless on reality on the ground but still make an effort.

Najib? Nothing. What kind of PM is this? More like Galicula attacking non-existing army because he is just mad.

Anon said...

Exhausted is king

Anonymous said...

Better be neutral and not side with tainted najib and rosmah. Rocky bru is also facing health problems for defending najib and rosmah.

Poor Zeti was heard to have a heart attack. Small fries were arrested when will the jaws be jailed.

SHAME on all Malaysian to have to depend on a retired STATESMAN to rescue the nation.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. I thought only Big Dog right all the lengthy historical story like this. However instead of going too far back to Athens and Sparta (you can actually catch the movie somewhere), I am more inclined towards looking at the similarity between Najib's holding on to power with Nixon's Watergate. The deepthroat, journalists and the using of all the government resources for the benefit of the incumbent PM. But najib's scandal and 1MDB fiasco are more international standard with Switzerland, the USA, the UAE, Singapore, Thailand, Cayman Island and off course KL and Putrajaya as the backdrop.

Najib deserve to go to jail, for all the theory. He already abuse his power, RM42billion or not. Look carefully and yu will know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

without sparta and athen , umno still going down the sea unless you have somebody like Saladin to lead the force and change all the corrupted ketua bahagian and their cronies.... pull stop

Anonymous said...

No, the Athenians and the Spartans fought on different fronts.

This 1MDB is a totally different animal.

It has been dragging on for far too long with no direct answer from the board of advisors and the board of directors themselves.

All the allegations was not tackled hands on. The cabinet was not privy to the details of the dealings.

Chances are, only the PM knows what was going on. Or worse, he is clueless like everyone else is saying.

When shit hits the fan, literally, the kepala expect everyone help him. So, how to help if the rest don't know head or tail.

Muhyiddin himself said he gets more of the story from The Edge (keyword : Get). That shows how bad it is the management of 1MDB in explaining themselves to cabinet members.

Anonymous said...

Either he was conned or he was also in on the conning. I go for the latter. Its all about him and how going againt him is going against the government of the day. This is stupid. He is dragging everything down. Cut him loose and let him fly like a butterfly into some net and withers away

Anonymous said...

I also see a striking similarity in the current tussle between the two and the war between Sparta and Athens. My take:

One is a straight talking, no-nonsense strong arm type who sees the other with disdain for its wealth, luxury and penchant for "finer things in life". He does not have the resources and the ability to sustain its campaign, yet he has no qualm to pick a fight and chooses a full frontal attack using brute force. Decided to declare war and make the first offensive move. Success depends a lot on short, powerful but decisive attacks. Strength depended solely on the most powerful army in the whole of Greece along with the support of poor but loyal, determined allies. Basically coalition with common principles and enemy but with nothing to loose feeling. Out of anger, Spartan made alliance with Greece sworn enemy - the Persians (foreign media?) who in return supported them with intelligent, ships and soldiers. Have no interest in negotiation or talks, just want to get on with it. "Death" in battle is a glory to be proud of.

The other is a philosophical, thinking type who wanted to conduct negotiation and political manouvers. Will do anything to stay on and defend the "fruits of his labour". Understand that he has the resources and impregnable fortress but cannot win in a straight fight in the open, so he chooses to rely on strong defenses and carefully calculated counter attack on important but poorly defended targets as well as on the other side's logistical train - basically a war of attrition where the battle will be prolonged. Operate a powerful navy but almost no armies worth deploying against the Spartan. Allegiance's are mostly forged based on interest and ambitions. Make strong effort to expand his alliances while punishing those who resisted, hence requiring more resources to invest. It collapsed when Athenians ran out of resources to sustain the alliances.

Both side believe they are doing the right thing for their country and duty bound to continue with the fight at all cost until the other side yield.

The unfortunate things is the above situation led the two forces into war but fighting a different type of battles (playing a different game?) altogether. Athenian mighty fleet looking for a fight at sea while Spartan powerful armies clamoring for fight on land! Apart from skirmishes every now and then, the two forces did not met decisively. The war went on a stalemate for more than 27 years. That's until one made a crucial and costly mistakes.

The war brought widespread suffering and resulted in the decline of Greek city states as a whole for the next half a century. The aftermath of Peloponnesian war also led to the rise of Macedonia under King Philip the Second who eventually invades and rule all of Greece.

Studies of Peloponnesian war gave rise to the adage "countries that wage war to gain power and prestige may lose it instead'.

P/S Who made the mistake? OK, first the Athenian executed several of its most able admirals due to "political considerations", soon after their fleet was decimated while camping ashore, so they surrendered to Sparta in 404 BC.


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