"Anyone who clings to the historically untrue -- and thoroughly immoral -- doctrine that violence never settles anything I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler would referee. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forgot this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms."
- Robert Heinlein
This quote has always stuck with me, and I posted it here a couple years ago. The reaction was almost universally negative. But after wising up a bit, I think offensive ideas need to be faced squarely if we're to evolve as a society.
I don't like it either. But I'd like it even less if it were a truth we conceal, rather than a falsehood we suppress.
It's hard to tell. But one thing is certain: If you read 100 Decisive Battles, you'll see the supremacy of intelligence in warfare. It matters more than any other factor. And the NSA would be our key way to get it.
Someone should write a book, "100 Decisive Tech Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present," a tongue in cheek reference to https://www.amazon.com/100-Decisive-Battles-Ancient-Present/...
The book is excellent, and analyzes battles with a clinical detachment not really found in most history texts.
But each battle is decisive: it shaped the world. There are many skirmishes that would be interesting to analyze but out of scope for the book. That's what makes it a fascinating collection.
If we had to think of 100 technology "battles" that reshaped the world, I wonder what they would be? There is so much freedom in the criteria that it's hard to know where to constrain it: Electricity, plumbing, grocery stores, etc have all shaped the world. Many had a "decisive" effect in that it was technology vs technology, and one tech came out the winner.
I think computing alone could fill a book of 100 tech battles, and it would be interesting to try. Which stories were decisive? It would take months to decide, but it would be enjoyable work.