February 11, 2018

NBC has to apologize after Olympics announcer Joshua Cooper Ramo says something stupid about Korea, Japan, and WWII.

The NYT reports on something said during the opening ceremony:
Noting that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan was in attendance, Mr. Ramo described Japan as “a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945, but every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.”
The apology comes after an on-line petition that read:
“Any reasonable person familiar with the history of Japanese imperialism, and the atrocities it committed before and during WWII, would find such statement deeply hurtful and outrageous,” the petition read. “And no, no South Korean would attribute the rapid growth and transformation of its economy, technology, and political/cultural development to the Japanese imperialism.”
I didn't listen to every word of the opening ceremony announcing, and I didn't hear that remark about Japan, but in my post yesterday about the ceremony, I had a problem with the announcers:
[I]nstead of telling us about how the various costumes, symbols, movements, and projections said something about Korea, they kept saying things like "and Asia," "and all over Asia," and "and Asian people in general." Why?! Asia's a big place, with culture and history that didn't take place in one united whole group....
I went looking for reviews of the show to see if anyone else was complaining about that and found Maureen Ryan (at Variety):
... I did get tired of the endless generalities from Ramo about what constituted “Asian” culture, which felt about as deep as a Wikipedia entry.
So it caught my eye when the NYT included this:
Critics also seized on other remarks made during the broadcast by Mr. Ramo... Maureen Ryan, Variety’s chief television critic, wrote in a review of NBC’s broadcast of the Olympic opening ceremony that “Ramo’s endless generalities about what constituted ‘Asian’ culture felt about as deep as a Wikipedia entry.”
Where did NBC get this character Ramo? The NYT identifies him by linking to a webpage that promotes his new book, so I'm going to check Wikipedia, which goes a lot deeper (and it's undeep of Maureen Ryan to offhandedly deploy Wikipedia as shorthand for shallowneess). Excerpts from Wikipedia's Joshua Cooper Ramo article:
Ramo began his career as a journalist at Newsweek in 1993. He joined Time magazine in 1996.... Prompted by an interest in business and global affairs, Ramo moved to Beijing in 2002. He worked with John L. Thornton, a former president of Goldman Sachs, in China from 2003-2005, when he joined Kissinger Associates as managing director. In 2011, he became vice chairman of Kissinger Associates. In 2015, he became co-chief executive officer....

In 2004 he published “The Beijing Consensus,” which contrasted the Chinese model of economics and politics with western, “Washington Consensus” models. In 2007 he published “Brand China,” an analysis of China’s international image. In 2011, Ramo proposed a new model of US-China relations based on complexity theory known as “co-evolution.”...

In 2016, Little, Brown & Co. released Ramo's third book, The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks, which purports to identify a "new instinct" for networks that characterized new groups in politics, economics and security... [and] claims that the emergence of constant, widespread connection represents a shift in power that will... lead[] to a widespread collapse of existing institutions and the emergence of new sources of power. In the book, Ramo proposed a new idea for American grand strategy known as “Hard Gatekeeping” in which the country would develop and use platforms for the control of network topology, but would carefully limit access to those platforms.
So Ramo, who said something so stupid and offensive when he was just chattering for the millions as we watched the Olympics, presents himself as some sort of grand sage of economics and foreign policy. Kissinger Associates? "Hard Gatekeeping"?

ADDED: On reflection, I suspect that NBC hired Ramo specifically because he would say things that leaned toward globalism and connectivity and launching into a future that has nothing to do with the old political conflicts. I think he was encouraged to do exactly what he did, which is why it sounded so awkward at the opening ceremony.

128 comments:

rhhardin said...

Korea is bashing Japan about comfort women at the moment. WWII is an endless source of political advantage.

glenn said...

It’s a global sporting event. Common sense would dictate keeping politics out of it. If this clown had any.

JML said...

glenn, he's a reporter. Common sense is not allowed.

sane_voter said...

I can't believe Ramo doesn't know the truth about the 20th century history of Asia. If not, he is pathetic. Maybe he just sold himself out and followed the NBC line on how they were going to present the material, just so he could have the opportunity to get exposure to such a large TV audience.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

I'm no expert on history, but I will tell you that the hacks in the MSM are complete idiots. All they care about is pushing a narrative. Anything inaccurate or false is all part of the big show.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Bashing Japan is South Korea's backhand slap at USA ... After all we imposed disarmament and pacifist anti-militarism on Japan Constitution.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I don't what he said was untrue just not politically correct at the moment. I'm sure Japan and Taiwan were models for other Asian (and non-asian) countries looking to grow their economies.

n.n said...

It's not about Japanese imperialism past, but about Japanese development present. However, the announcers were morons to combine sporting and economics, and the commenters are morons to conflate past and present. They were out of context in the first instance, and they engaged in diversity politics and progressive witch trials in the second.

“Ramo’s endless generalities about what constituted ‘Asian’ culture felt about as deep as a Wikipedia entry.”

Diversity politics that divides people or "persons" (i.e. individuals) by class, which in this case is limited to color or geography, is a doctrine of Western Pro-Choice philosophy.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Don't = doubt

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Wasn't MacArthur Republican?

Sebastian said...

Calling different people from Asia "Asians" is just another form of prog cultural imperialism.

Of course, as a deplorable, I yield to no one in my disdain for TV talking heads, but this level of ignorance, on a topic somewhat relevant to the task at hand, is still a bit surprising.

MadisonMan said...

I note that the online petition tweaked the words spoken by Ramo.

Is it really unlikely that S. Koreans looks to Japan as an example to follow on a path the Economic Strength? How is that related to past Japanese Imperialism, per the Petition?

I agree with Bill in other words.

Maybe people think Economic Growth is all about Imperialism these days? I don't.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

And Ramo is ex-Ceo of Kissinger's???!!!!

Hari said...

Was the statement stupid because it points out an uncomfortable truth or because it was wrong?

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

The announcer was just making happy talk for his audience, who don't give a rat's ass about Korea or Japan.

MayBee said...

Here's what's weird for me about NBC: There are a lot of Koreans. There are a lot of Koreans who speak fluent English. There are a lot of Koreans who speak fluent English who could do that on camera. Why not hire, you know, a Korean to do the color commentary on Korea during the opening ceremonies in Korea?

MayBee said...

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

the addition to your name has been cracking me up. Thank you for it.

Ken B said...

Bill Rot and I seem to be the only ones to notice what he actually said, which was about being an example in the post war. The complaint distorted that into a claim about the occupation. What he said was true.

MadisonMan said...

We understand the Korean people were insulted by these comments and we apologize

What a nonsense apology.

"We apologize and will happily go on as if nothing happened, having fulfilled our duty."

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Aren't Asians excluded from Ivy's admission pool?

Ann Althouse said...

Speaking of depth at Wikipedia, here's "List of war apology statements issued by Japan."

Apologies from each of 7 decades. The first apology to Korea, in June 22, 1965, was: "In our two countries' long history there have been unfortunate times, it is truly regrettable and we are deeply remorseful."

Ann Althouse said...

"Here's what's weird for me about NBC: There are a lot of Koreans. There are a lot of Koreans who speak fluent English. There are a lot of Koreans who speak fluent English who could do that on camera. Why not hire, you know, a Korean to do the color commentary on Korea during the opening ceremonies in Korea?"

I think the idea was to hire a globalist who would stress South Korea's connection to the rest of the world. That's what his book seems to be about. He may have been encouraged to say things like this, and it may have something to do with North Korea's isolationism.

whitney said...

You'll never catch a Korean driving a Japanese car that's for sure

Henry said...

The Seventh Sense was a New York Times best seller and won something called the getAbstract 17th International Book Award.

Mr. Ramo is now getting spite reviews:


voracious reader

With no ability to empathize with others' pains
Published 8 hours ago

james irwin

Waste of money and time. One of those books both pretentious and short of logic.
Published 8 hours ago

Michelle Oh

Terrible.
Published 8 hours ago

hyo jung, woo

Worthless.
Published 8 hours ago


Amazon Customer
Garbage
Published 8 hours ago


Mr. Ramo's last two books on Amazon -- which were minimally reviewed to start with -- have gotten a deluge of one-star reviews since yesterday.

I'm almost ready to take Mr. Ramo's side with this nonsense. It's hard to be glib without saying stupid shit.

Assrat said...

>I don't what he said was untrue just not politically correct at the moment. I'm sure Japan and Taiwan were models for other Asian (and non-asian) countries looking to grow their economies.

This is probably true. "We can learn from the way the Japanese grew their economy" is one thing, but "We need to be more like Japan" implies something completely different.

EDH said...

The original NBC apology: "Well, at least we didn't call them all 'orientals'."

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Worked for state-run TIME and Newsweek.

tcrosse said...

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

the addition to your name has been cracking me up. Thank you for it.


I eagerly await the Universally Reviled Commenter.

Comanche Voter said...

Based on empirical observation, a person has to swallow a whole handful of stupid pills before he or she can be an NBC on air commentator on almost any topic.

Here in my Los Angeles suburb there is a very interesting statue commemorating the 200,000 or so "comfort women" dragooned into Japanese military brothels. Many of those 200,000 were Korean. As a piece of political art, I find the statue fascinating. Every bit of it is loaded with symbolism--and for the uninitiated (including me) there's a plaque explaining the symbolism. It is a very effective political cartoon in stone. The statue is always surrounded with fresh flowers put there by members of the local Korean community or by visitors from Korea.

It was also surrounded by lawsuits and legal briefs--filed by the Japanese government, the Los Angeles Japanese consulate, and various Japanese American groups. The suits all sought to force removal and demolition of the statue. That process went on for half a dozen years, but eventually suits were settled or dismissed---and the statue remains. It's in a park down by the local library and I see it once in a while.

tola'at sfarim said...

Have any networks apologized for their durantyism yet? For the glamorization of the norks and falling for their thereisanstadt style cheerleading

Oso Negro said...

Good Lord. Airhead announcer is an airhead. Of course, the Koreans hate the Japanese. As do the Chinese. It doesn't take a genius to figure out why.

Fabi said...

They should have hired Asian reporter Tricia Takanawa.

MayBee said...

Althouse said: I think the idea was to hire a globalist who would stress South Korea's connection to the rest of the world. That's what his book seems to be about. He may have been encouraged to say things like this, and it may have something to do with North Korea's isolationism.

Hmmm.....I don't understand.
North Korea was not watching NBC's coverage of the Opening Ceremonies. Neither were China, Korea, or most likely Japan. They all have their own Olympic coverage....and I'm not at all sure what North Korea's would be.
So it really ends up making Americans, who are watching it, more ignorant. Each Asian country has its own history and culture - and we know that about N American countries (would NBC talk about "Americans" in a Canadian or Mexican opening ceremony). And we know that about Europeans. Why not respect Korea enough to cover Korea as Korea?

Henry said...

Now if Ramo was in Instanbul and mentioned the Armenian Genocide, he'd be in prison right now.

So at least the worst he's getting is bad book reviews and offended twitter comments.

* * *

I wonder if among the globalist, technocratic circles in which Mr. Ramo is comfortable, the opinion he expressed is commonplace.

Paco Wové said...

"Here in my Los Angeles suburb there is a very interesting statue commemorating the 200,000 or so "comfort women""

I always puzzle over why Country A, screwed by Country B, commemorates its screwing over in Country C.

mockturtle said...

The announcer was just making happy talk for his audience, who don't give a rat's ass about Korea or Japan.

Apparently they do, ARM.

mockturtle said...

British Imperialism provided a model for Indian government and finances.

Achilles said...

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...
“The announcer was just making happy talk for his audience, who don't give a rat's ass about Korea or Japan.“

The overwhelming majority of people who still watch NBC are older people and ignorant leftists who think all Asians are the same race.

Progressives treat all Asians as one race. Those forms would have too many boxes if they treated people like individuals.

Anonymous said...

"...every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.”

So America has played no parts in Korea's post-war transformation?

Btw, Japan became a technological and economic example after the Great Satan transformed it politically, technologically and economically.

Ann Althouse said...

"Hmmm.....I don't understand. North Korea was not watching NBC's coverage of the Opening Ceremonies. Neither were China, Korea, or most likely Japan. They all have their own Olympic coverage....and I'm not at all sure what North Korea's would be.
So it really ends up making Americans, who are watching it, more ignorant. Each Asian country has its own history and culture - and we know that about N American countries (would NBC talk about "Americans" in a Canadian or Mexican opening ceremony). And we know that about Europeans. Why not respect Korea enough to cover Korea as Korea?"

Yes, it's directed at Americans and may have something to do with the current political tension about North Korea, the idea being something like: Globalization will sweep us all along, some before others, South Korea before North, but North Korea will come along too, pulled along by the inevitable. That's a nice "peace" vision to purvey, suitable for the Olympics.

tcrosse said...

The Japanese are not popular in East Asia. Their economic success does not make them more so.

rcocean said...

NBC destroyed the Olympics. ABC's coverage was SO MUCH better. At least we don't have to listen to that ass Bryant Gumball anymore.

As yes, Japan exploited Korea, they didn't "develop it". Millions of Koreans were used as more or less slave labor during WW 2.

MayBee said...

Yes, it's directed at Americans and may have something to do with the current political tension about North Korea, the idea being something like: Globalization will sweep us all along, some before others, South Korea before North, but North Korea will come along too, pulled along by the inevitable. That's a nice "peace" vision to purvey, suitable for the Olympics

The idea that each Asian country will lose its history and identity doesn't seem peaceful or appealing to me. But that's me.
I'm going to go with Occam's razor that NBC just chose the wrong guy and doesn't have enough of a presence in S Korea or Japan to know their guy was a bad hire.

rcocean said...

"I always puzzle over why Country A, screwed by Country B, commemorates its screwing over in Country C."

CF: Holocaust memorials in the USA.

Ann Althouse said...

"The idea that each Asian country will lose its history and identity doesn't seem peaceful or appealing to me. But that's me."

Yes, but you recognize it as standard liberal ideology, don't you?

buwaya said...

Korea has a weird relationship with Japan.

To a degree hatred of Japan is a sort of deflection of self-hatred. Korea fell to Japan without much of a struggle, and with plenty of collaboration of their upper classes. This was a huge psychological blow to what was an extremely insular "hermit kingdom".

Korean modernity was pretty much created by Japan, which trained the Korean technocratic elite. Park Chung Hee, the dictator who created modern prosperous South Korea, was a former Japanese officer, and a Japanophile. His model for Korean development was, of course, Japan.

His left-wing opposition and the modern Korean left (currently in power again) took on variations of the same mix of fanatical racial nationalism and socialism that rules North Korea. And they are intensely anti-Japanese.

South Korean politics has always had this strain of displaced self-hatred, resenting foreigners for making them rich. Every country is a unique case.

Chinese hatred of the Japanese is much less complicated, and for excellent reasons. Chinese love history and forget, and forgive, nothing.

Taiwanese of the non-Chinese refugee class are rather pro-Japanese. The Japanese treated them rather well.

Filipinos are extremely Christian, and forgiving. They rather like Japanese. Now, anyway, the Japanese are far more popular than the Chinese.

Etc. Its complicated.

Kevin said...

On reflection, I suspect that NBC hired Ramo specifically because he would say things that leaned toward globalism and connectivity and launching into a future that has nothing to do with the old political conflicts.

Globalist cheerleading from our corporate gatekeepers.

"Global Up."

buwaya said...

The idea that Asian countries will lose their identity is absurd. They are intensely unique and show no signs at all of merging into an "Asian" mass.

Kevin said...

"The idea that each Asian country will lose its history and identity doesn't seem peaceful or appealing to me. But that's me."

This is exactly what people are advocating when they attack "nationalism". This is exactly why they're so freaked out about Trump trying to MAGA.

Globalism requires the erasing of history for the greater good of erasing national borders and enacting a single, global government.

Yes, that's Progressive.

mockturtle said...

The idea that Asian countries will lose their identity is absurd. They are intensely unique and show no signs at all of merging into an "Asian" mass.

Depends on how many Muslim refugees they allow in. Japan will allow zero. We are seeing the decline of European cultural identities due to immigration policies.

Kevin said...

The idea that Asian countries will lose their identity is absurd. They are intensely unique and show no signs at all of merging into an "Asian" mass.

And in America we take people from every country in the world and meld them into Americans.

Can't you see this as the goal of the Globalists?

Can't you see why unfettered immigration is not only desired, but imperative, if our goal is to erase national borders?

Yancey Ward said...

Well, the comment didn't say it was Japanese Imperialism that lead to South Korea being a 1st world country today. Ramo was basically saying that post-WWII Japan served as a model for South Korea's development post Korean War. I suspect that Japan was less a model than that both societies had similar cultural strengths that led to the same outcomes- the common factor, though was the presence of the US.

I didn't recognize Ramo's name when Ms. Althouse used it yesterday, but on perusing his Wiki entry, I do now remember hearing of him before, I just don't remember the context.

buwaya said...

No East Asian country allows in any significant number of "Muslim Refugees". Not even East Asian Muslim countries. If there are Muslims anywhere it is because they are natives with a very long history there.

MayBee said...

Yes, but you recognize it as standard liberal ideology, don't you?.

Yes and no.
I think in the US, yes, they would like all Asian- Americans to be alike so they can be a liberal political group.

But no, overall I don't. I think the elite liberals want a kind of world-wide elitism where the elites get to rule the other people, but even then I see them focusing that kind of effort on Europeans and Americans. It's why they love Davos and hate Brexit.
Then there is the liberal ideology that loves Cuba as a time warp, loves the "authenticity" of the culture that is kept apart from America and prosperity. I think that's the part of liberalism that is falling in love with the "Charm" of the North Korean Cheerleaders.

buwaya said...

Japan was an explicit model for South Korea.
The Chaebol system was a direct descendant of the Japanese Zaibatsu. The South Korean upper class and its government personnel and structure were the same as those through which the Japanese had ruled, and most of them had been educated in Japanese founded schools, or even in Japan.

As I said, Park Chung Hee is not just the critical man, he was entirely representative of his type.

n.n said...

why unfettered immigration is not only desired, but imperative

As well as the Pro-Choice Church, Planned Parenthood, and other dysfunctional social and corporate structures. It explains why there is an undercurrent that sets men and women at each other's throats.

n.n said...

Japan was an explicit model for South Korea

As was France etc. for Russia, but Russians, and Koreans, have no intention of becoming "Romans". The concerns of past and present, of positives and negatives, of individuals and classes (e.g. principled alignment), are separable in rational and reasonable minds.

MikeR said...

'described Nazi Germany as “a country which occupied Europe from 1940 to 1945, but every European will tell you that Germany is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.”'
Even if it would be true, you have to be insane to put both in the same sentence, as if the second somehow helps make up for the first.

gilbar said...

it took a while, but I'm pretty sure MikeR just won it

David said...

Or perhaps what he said is largely accurate? Not asserting but asking. Truth can be as offensive as untruth.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

“Was the statement stupid because it points out an uncomfortable truth or because it was wrong?”

Just landed? You come in peace, right?

"I always puzzle over why Country A, screwed by Country B, commemorates its screwing over in Country C."

At least in the case of Koreans, there’s a heap of ‘em on the West Coast, they’re affluent and not a bit shy about advancing their hobby horses. I hesitate to assume there’s a Korean “community” but I do know that within the groups defined by their churches, they can be as monolithic as Hasids in pursuing their interests. So I’m not surprised by the comfort women statue. I do love Koreans, though. They’ve struck an intelligent balance between melting-pot assimilation and retaining cultural identity.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

I've never really bought the progressive idea that Kissinger is or was evil, but somehow this episode provides evidence that Kissinger is way, way over-rated.

n.n said...

Liberalism is divergent and, with good reason, generational. Progressivism is monotonic and unqualified. Conservatism is a law of nature. So is liberalism (e.g. entropy). Principles matter.

Big Mike said...

Well, first of all, to racist pigs like Ramo, Kouric, and Tirico all them there Asians look alike. I can picture the three of them talking about their “Chinese doctor” Park (Park is a Korean name). They’d never consider referring to a group of Germans as “you Europeans,” but they think nothing of referring to a group of ethnic Chinese as “you Asians.”

buwaya said...

The US is no longer melding people into "Americans" - the educational system is devoted to creating a mass of enemies of "Americans".

Literally this. Every chance they get, they whip up hatred for America the country and white people. They rehash and reinterpret history in order to create a feeling of grievance and antagonism. They teach resentment and victimhood, and ways to use the system to obtain privilege in competition with the "majority", not success.

They have not succeeded, entirely, because of fundamental inefficiency and incompetence, and because they are working with a variety of peoples who are fundamentally different and often antagonistic to each other.

This does not happen in Asia. If this is a globalist goal or a globalist tactic it has not manifested there.

David said...

According to Global Edge, South Korea has $24 Billion of trade exports to Japan and $47 billion of imports from Japan. Exports are over 42% of Korean GDP, and Korea has a large positive ratio of exports to imports. It would be even larger if Korea were not so dependent on imports for petroleum products.

China is South Korea's largest trading partner, and the United States is second. The volume of trade with China is about double of that with the US. Japan has a $38 billion trade SURPLUS with China. Most of South Korea's trade is with Asian countries. Only the United States and Germany are on the radar for North Atlantic countries. South Korea does count Mexico in the top 10 for exports but I suspect that this is actually connected with USA trade and that most of these exports eventually end up in the USA.

We are in fact moving into the Asian century for the world. Any dive into the economic statistics and demographic projections makes that unmistakable. The US will remain hugely influential because of our capacity to innovate. Lose that and we are Asian toast.

https://globaledge.msu.edu/countries/south-korea/tradestats

William Chadwick said...

Golly! A member of the "liberal" Hive's Media Division said something stupid?! What are the odds???

Howard said...

Thus proving that the lame stream media is not libural, rather it's the chief proselytizer of turd-world sweatshopification, global banking and military hardware sales. The lefty spin is lipstick on a lamprey.

David said...

MayBee said...
Here's what's weird for me about NBC: There are a lot of Koreans. There are a lot of Koreans who speak fluent English. There are a lot of Koreans who speak fluent English who could do that on camera. Why not hire, you know, a Korean to do the color commentary on Korea during the opening ceremonies in Korea?


Indeed.

Martin said...

Ramo may know something about China, but clearly not much about Korea or Japan.

That's like a US expert talking about Mexico and Colombia.

I did notice on AP that NBC botched the apology by saying that Ramo had offended Korea. There are tens of millions of Koreans, North and South. He certainly offended some Koreans, but to lump them all together is so... NBC in 2018. This is really the way our so-called elites think about people in general (not just Koreans), and it causes and will continue to cause no end of trouble.

Christy said...

How is his comment different from noting that middle class blacks model their behavior on successful whites?

Roughcoat said...

An age-old phenomenon, and a real mystery: Why are so many smart people really quite dumb?

Lyle said...

He was also there because he is Hispanic.

Hagar said...

Korean-Japanese hostility goes back many centuries, and the effective occupation of Korea by Japan began in the the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95.
This was a deceptive statement by Cooper Ramo and very offensive to the Koreans - North and South.

Hagar said...

Disingenuous might be a better word.

Char Char Binks said...

Unless all 74,461,933 Koreans say that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation, Ramo lied.

YoungHegelian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hagar said...

Japanese behavior in Korea can be exemplified by the "Ears Monument" in Kyoto and the rape and murder of Korea's Queen Min in 1895, organized and carried out by the Japanese ambassador to Korea.

Roughcoat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
YoungHegelian said...

He was also there because he is Hispanic.

And here you have, in a nutshell, the problem with the modern MSM. Why is the fact that Ramo is Hispanic here or there for someone who's commenting on Korean culture? It has no bearing on the subject matter, but it does have a lot of bearing on what sort of virtue signals NBC's staff wishes to send. Also, as pointed out above, what sort of moron brings in a China expert to blather on about Korea? Completely different cultures, completely different languages (not even the same linguistic family, as Korean is the world's largest language isolate).

The media business is all about who knows who & connections. So, who does Ramo know?

Roughcoat said...

Curiously (IMO), the term "Asia" is derived from "Assuwa," the name given to a Bronze Age confederation of c. 22 Indo-European states in western Anatolia. The people of Assuwa were probably, mostly, Luwians, early Indo-European migrants to the region. The Assuwan confederation was, in its day, a great power until it was destroyed c. 1400 B.C. by their Indo-European cousins, the Hittites, during the reign of Tudhaliya I. The destruction of the Assuwan confederation gave rise to the Kingdom of Arzawa, also an Indo-European federated polity comprising a mixed population of Luwians and Mycenaeans (and which included Troy, then known as Wilusa, i.e. Ilium). For a time Arzawa was a great power and its kings were reckoned as "Great Kings," one of five Bronze monarchs accorded that title. It too was destroyed by the Hittites under Mursili II.

"Assuwa" may be cognate to the IE/Indic term "assusani," introduced to the region by the Aryan Mitanni, which means "master of the horse," as in "chief-and-expert horse trainer."

So, in a sense: "Asians" are properly (in the historical sense) Indo-Europeans.

Full disclosure: I'm currently writing two books and a conference paper on the subject of Bronze Age military history and warfare in Anatolia. Recently gave a paper on Hittite chariotry at the Battle of Kadesh at the 2017 Hittitology conference. The subject fascinates me.

YoungHegelian said...

@Roughcoat,

Recently gave a paper on Hittite chariotry at the Battle of Kadesh at the 2017 Hittitology conference. The subject fascinates me.

It's just a hillbilly thing, isn't it?

Have you read any of Robert Drew's stuff? He works it more from the Greek/Indo-European side rather than from the Anatolian, but, needless to say there is much overlap.

Roughcoat said...

Yes, I've read all of Prof. Drews's works and have corresponded with him about his views. I respect him and his scholarship, but he's wrong, significantly so, about several aspect of the subjects he addresses -- in particular the subject of chariot warfare. My books / papers and other published works address those errors.

Roughcoat said...

Btw, YH, I don't know what you mean by "It's just a hillbilly thing." But, okay.

Unknown said...

It's pretty safe to hate on Japan now.

Unfortunately (in my view despite the fraught history), that nation has elected to take itself off the world stage, and ultimately off the world by declining to have children.

YoungHegelian said...

@Roughcoat,

Btw, YH, I don't know what you mean by "It's just a hillbilly thing." But, okay.

I meant to poke fun at the lefty commenters (and one from the past in particular) who come to this site & deride us as simpletons while somehow never, ever, managing to evince even a fraction of the knowledge of various strange & esoteric disciplines that the commenters, such as you with your profound scholarly interest in ancient Near Eastern military history, display on a daily basis here.

Hillbillies, indeed!

By the way, if any of your works are available on-line or purchasable, I'd like some links. I can message you off-line if you don't want to break anonymity.

Roughcoat said...

Thanks, YH, much apprecaited. And right back atcha, mate. I knew you didn't mean it in a bad way, I was simply and honestly not sure what you meant.

I do have pubs available for purchase but I'm reluctant to provide name-connected info about them because of the consequences to my anonymity ... and privacy. I'm afraid of what might happen. Let me think about this. I hope you understand my reluctance. And I'm sincerely grateful for your interest.

Roughcoat said...

How can we do it off-line?

Roughcoat said...

I like the idea that I'm a hillbilly of sorts. And a deplorable. Oh, yes. I am indeed a deplorable.

Big Mike said...

By the way, if any of your works are available on-line or purchasable, I'd like some links. I can message you off-line if you don't want to break anonymity.

How many people can there be delivering papers in 2017 on the Battle of Kadesh?

@Roughcoat, those lightweight Egyptian chariots look pretty nimble. How did the Hittite chariots differ from the Egyptian version? I read something that implied the British chariots of Boa

Big Mike said...

Sorry — Boadicca, and her army’s chariots were supposed to be four-wheeled.

YoungHegelian said...

@Roughcoat,

Just send me the links at raybobcruddup at yahoo.com if you decide to do it.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Thanks Buwaya, fascinating history. Korea then is more like France (vichyssoix) and how so very touchy vis a vis USA.

YoungHegelian said...

@Big Mike,

How many people can there be delivering papers in 2017 on the Battle of Kadesh?

Didn't you get the memo? The Battle of Kadesh was the theme for 2017 at spring break in Fort Lauderdale.

bolivar di griz said...

Its an indelicate point. Korea does owe a lot to Japan's tut3lage

David53 said...

@Roughcoat

Yeah, if you did what you said you did it wasn't hard to find out who you are.

Unknown said...

This is an example of why I ceased watching the Olympics many years ago. The Olympics are no longer simply about athletic competition, which I love. They are now explorations of nationalism, heart string pulling stories of plucky (professional) athletes, nauseating political tangents, and frequent episodes of virtue signaling.

Nope, like Facebook, ain't spendin' no more time with the Olympics.

-sw

Roughcoat said...

Re "Roughcoat, those lightweight Egyptian chariots look pretty nimble. How did the Hittite chariots differ from the Egyptian version?"

Well, that's what my paper is all about! Namely: the differences between the two and how their respective technologies affected the development of tactics/doctrine ... and vice-versa, how tactics/doctrine affected the development of design and technology. My underlying interest is the very complex relationship between tactics and technology.

My paper is due at the publisher in early summer. I can refer you to it then, if you're still interested. I'm thinking of posting my Hittitology conference presentation, in PPT, online, and I can also tell when I do so. The books are an ongoing project and will take about 2 years to write.

But I can, for now, offer this brief summary: At Kadesh the Hittites used a three-man chariot that was bigger and heavier and sturdier than the Egyptian model. It's my contention that the Hittite 3-man chariot had a shoulder yoke-and-breast traction system, as opposed to the Egyptian neck yoke and neck traction system. This is, admittedly, a controversial assertion, as is my assertion that the Hittites got the idea for the design and construction of their 3-man chariot from the Ahhiayan (a.k.a. Mycenaeans), who maintained a strong and often hostile presence in Western Anatolia (hence, the Trojan war). The Hittite traction system required an axle placed in the center of the vehicle; the Egyptian chariot, the axle at the rear. Accordingly each had radically different capabilities which necessitated and resulted in the development of quite different tactical systems/doctrines (i.e., modes of employment) formulated, each in their own way, to maximize their capabilities.

Each design and system had virtues and drawbacks. The Egyptian chariot was more nimble than the Hittite vehicle but only marginally so. I lean toward the Hittite chariot as the superior design, in particular because it was less stressful to the horses (which is one reason why that chariot could be heavier and carry a 3-man crew).

However, both were excellent weapon systems when properly used. And both were very properly used at the Battle of Kadesh, which was a even-up battle between two superb and entirely admirable military establishments, fought to the extreme best of their respective and considerable capabilities. The battle was (barely) a tactical victory for the Egyptians, but a strategic victory for the Hittites -- the Egyptian army was badly mauled, forcing Ramesses to retire to Egypt, ceding the Kingdom of Amurru and the Amuq region to the Hittites -- which was the Hittite objective in fighting the war.

The two sides had great respect for each other, and it is no coincidence that they concluded a comprehensive and genuine treaty of friendship soon after the battle. The treaty remained in effect until the Hittite kingdom was destroyed by the combined forces of the Sea Peoples and the tribal Kaska barbarians from the north. In Hatti's final days, Ramesses III was overseeing the emergency shipment of grain to the Hittites to help them in their struggle with the invaders/raiders. The only thing the Hittites objected to, in a letter to Ramesses II from Hattusili III, the field general at Kadesh, was Ramesses' claim that he had won the battle. Hattusili asked, very politely, as befitting his now friendly relationship with the pharaoh, that he cease and desist with his claims of victory.

Okay, I've blabbed on too long about this. Sorry!

Roughcoat said...

YH: thanks for the email address. Will do. Expect to receive something sometime next week.

Roughcoat said...

"Yeah, if you did what you said you did it wasn't hard to find out who you are."

I did what I said I did, and more, and if you have found out my name, please don't publish it here.

Thanks! :)

mockturtle said...

Very interesting stuff, roughcoat!

Howard said...

Roughcoat: Having recently taken up archery and trying out the options for loosing, do you have any opinions about this guy's rapid-fire theory? He demonstrates right-hand shooting from a right side rest and holding multiple arrows in the right hand. He developed his theory from ancient texts and art.

Lars Andersen Reinventing the fastest forgotten archery

I can imagine that your research is fascinating detective work pulling info from many sources. Your description of the different chariot designs is just a tease... do you have any links where we might be able to see examples of what you are talking about?

Thanks!

langford peel said...

This was amazing and facinating Roughcoat. Thank you for sharing your expertise.

I am sure many of us would love to hear you speak more about this in the future. Military history has long been a passion and your explanation was very illuminating. I look foward to reading your book.

Thank you.

Larry Davis said...

The network said his assignment at the Olympics is now over.

langford peel said...

I love to watch movies and tv and see the historical inns uracil stat jump out at you. Ftftor example the Trojans using stirrups or Romans using broadswords instead of the gladius. It drives my wife crazy when I yell at the screen.

You must spor so many inaccuracies that I miss. How can you watch a movie and not flip out?

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

CNN goes full Kim

JMS said...

It wasn’t Japan that helped make South Korea into a modern economic powerhouse. It was American management consultant W. Edwards Deming, who introduced statistical quality control to Japan and turned “Made in Japan” into a label that stood for high quality. He later advised several companies in South Korea, including the family-owned Samsung. Today Samsung is responsible for 20% of South Korea’s GDP. The New York Times said in a 2015 article, “In the 1950s, South Korea was one of the poorest countries in Asia. Today it is one of the wealthiest in the world. This turnaround was brought about by the rise of a handful of families who created conglomerates like Samsung, LG and Hyundai,”

According to CNN Tech, “South Koreans can be born in a Samsung-owned medical center, grow up learning to read and write with the help of Samsung tablets and go on to attend the Samsung-affiliated Sungkyunkwan University. It doesn't end there. They may then live in a Samsung-built apartment complex, fitted out with the company's appliances and electronics. South Koreans can even end up at a Samsung funeral parlor when they die.” Due to the scandal surrounding the Samsung CEO last year, we’re not going to hear anything about Samsung during the Olympics, but you can bet that Samsung technology and products are everywhere you look around the games. Deming and Samsung, not Japan, are responsible for South Korea’s rise.




Roughcoat said...

mockturtle & langford peel: many thanks for your kind words!

Howard: Lars Andersen is doing great research, I love his stuff. I will be addressing the subject of chariotry in my forthcoming publications. It's a big subject and I'll have to beg off dealing with it here. Except to say: shooting arrows from a moving chariot, even a slow-moving chariot slowly, was no easy task. The level of difficulty was in large measure a determinate of terrain. But it human determined even more by physiology. In optimal conditions an archer was supposed to be able to shoot about 12 arrows per minute, i.e. about one arrow every 6 seconds. That was the ideal. But the ideal was rarely if ever achieved in the circumstances of a violent chariotry melee. Also, sustaining that rate of fire for a prolonged period, using a powerful compound bow, was and is simply impossible. After firing, say, 12 arrows one after another your arm is exhausted. In the event accuracy is variable, depending movement, target distance, and, critically, the arrows being fired at you and the enemies dismounted men-at-arms swarming toward your chariot. All chariot warriors and drivers were, had to be, superbly conditioned athletes (with powerful thigh muscles as well as strong arms) but even the strongest-armed archer experienced muscle burn and exhaustion after shooting 12 or more arrows at speed, the more so if he was shooting at medium/maximum pull.

Arrow fire at distance was mainly executed as barrage fire. It was not terribly effective in terms of inflicting fatal casualties. Foot soldiers equipped with light stiffened linen or leather armor and wicker shields were well protected from clouds of plunging arrow fire at distance. Think of the scene in 300 when the Persians barrage the Spartans, ineffectively, with arrow fire. My pal Richard Gabriel is the expert on this. He has calculated, convincingly, that only one in a certain number of arrows fired (I forget the figure) were kill shots. But they could and did inflict wounds, which could and did cause enemy formations to experience radical discohesion, weakening them for the infantry assault that inevitably followed. Massed arrow fire must therefore be regarded as a tactic of attrition.

To be continued ...

Roughcoat said...

Continued from above:

Amenhotep II, son and successor of the great Thutmose III, gave a demonstration of chariotry archery when he was a teenager years old. It is recorded in an Egyptian chroncle of Thutmose's reign. The following is from an article I wrote and published on the subject way back in 1999:

"He [Amenhotep II] displayed his aptitude for chariot warfare in unequivocal fashion when he was 18 years old. In the northern garden of the palace, four copper targets, each 'one palm in thickness,' were set up on poles at distances of 34 feet. Driving his chariot into the garden, Amenhotep grasped his bow and gripped four arrows at the same time. Quoting from the chronicle: 'So he rode northward, shooting at them like Montu [the Egyptian god of war] in his regalia. His arrows had come out on the back thereof while he was attacking another post. It was,' the chronicler marveled, 'really a deed which had never been done nor heard of by report: shooting at a target of copper an arrow which came out of it and dropped to the ground!'

The young prince didn't use a driver, he steered the chariot by tying the reins around his hip, using body movement to communicate with his obviously highly trained horses. It was a show-off stunt and could never be used in battle, but it still impressive. Note that he was shooting at very close range, certainly at maximum pull, probably driving at the speed of a slow trot or fast walk (which was normal battle speed in the approach phase of chariotry melee, over ground that had most assuredly been groomed and cleared of any obstacles. And he shot only 4 arrows.

Sidelight: "Amenhotep was in his time the beau idée of Egyptian youth. According to the royal chronicler, "when he was still a puppy, he loved horses and rejoiced in them. It was a strengthening of the heart to work them, to learn their natures, to be skilled in training them, and to enter into their ways." His famous father loved him and was pleased in him, but he worried that the boy was too concerned with sports and that he had a lot of growing up to do. "In his heart he told himself that the boy was not yet sagacious; he is not yet at the time of doing the work of Montu. He is still unconcerned with carnal desire, but he loves strength."

I do love ancient history. Why bother with Star Wars and Marvel Comics fantasies when you've got the Bronze Age?

Roughcoat said...

How can you watch a movie and not flip out?

I can't. I flip out, LOL! I almost stormed out of the movie theater while watching "Exodus: Gods and Kings."

However I thought "The Eagle," with Channing Tatum as a Roman tribune in Britain, did a fairly good job.

JMS said...

Ramos said another eye-opening thing during the opening ceremonies. I paraphrase: It was especially poignant to see the North and South Korean athletes march in together, considering the imminent nuclear holocaust that hangs over all of Asia.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

JMS - @ 4:09 interesting. Thanks.

I'm not much of a traveler. I do remember back before my father retired, he traveled all over for business and South Korea was one of his favorite places. He noted the people of SoKo were very warm and kind and they LOVE America.



Big Mike said...

For those wondering what Roughcoat, YoungHegelian, and I are talking about, this is probably the best, yet most succinct, description of the battle and the resulting peace treaty. The peace treaty signed by the both the Ramses II and the Hittite empire was once considered to be the world's oldest known peace treaty. There's another claimant for the title, and the author of this piece on the Battle of Kadesh acknowledges the other treaty, but clearly Kadesh resulted in the oldest known peace treaty between Bronze Age superpowers. Copies were found not only in Egypt, but in the archives of the capital of the Hittite empire. Even more amazing, they appear to have kept to the treaty until the Hittite empire fell many decades later.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Kim Jong Un is nurturing Stockholm syndrome using his sister in this performance art and US Media are helping him out on this.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Did Pence have to be there? He has been completely wrong footed, without any persuasion skills at all.
If he is still around post Trump will be huge let down possibly disaster.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Pence is too nice. That never works.

Roughcoat said...

Correction: for those keeping score, I misstated a key difference between Hittite and Egyptian chariots.

The Hittite chariot used a dorsal yoke, that is the yoke was yet behind the withers; and a breast harness. In other words: it used a dorsal yoke/breast traction system with a center-placed axle. It was also solid-sided, which afforded good protection for the crew, the more if the sides were armored with bronze discs or even thick leather trappers.

The Egyptian chariot used a shoulder yoke, that is the was set in front of the withers on the shoulder bones. The harness was position on the lower neck just above the breast bone but not on the throat. The Egyptian chariot was also fenestrated, which meant: no protection for the crew.

My mistake earlier, I was writing too fast. I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear my trousers rolled ....

mockturtle said...

JMS writes: Ramos said another eye-opening thing during the opening ceremonies. I paraphrase: It was especially poignant to see the North and South Korean athletes march in together, considering the imminent nuclear holocaust that hangs over all of Asia.

Although it was true, it was highly inappropriate to time and place.

It would be preferable for the Olympic games to be entirely free from political discussion or even innuendo. It should be a time for all nations to set aside our differences and enjoy the competition for the display of excellence it features. Carter infuriated most of us for boycotting the Games when it was held in Moscow in 1980. Athletes who had worked for years to hone their skills were let down and so were we.

mockturtle said...

Roughcoat, my interest in ancient weapons is yuuge but so is my level of ignorance. Reading about sappers during the Crusades was fascinating and I'd like to read more such accounts Can you recommend some books that are not too technical or scholarly but still devoted to accuracy? Thank you.

Howard said...

Thanks Roughcoat and Big Mike for the interesting info.

Mary Beth said...

Here's what's weird for me about NBC: There are a lot of Koreans. There are a lot of Koreans who speak fluent English

If Lee Byung Hyun or someone like that were doing the commentary, I would actually watch the Olympics.

Big Mike said...

@Roughcoat, I got on YouTube and watched a battle scene. The Roman’s swords looked awfully long for a gladius.

Big Mike said...

Sorry, let me clarify. I watched a battle scene from “The Eagle.”

Roughcoat said...

Big Mike:

"The Eagle" takes place in AD 140. By then the spatha was in the process of replacing the gladius, in fact it might by then have largely if not entire replaced the shorter sword. The spatha was longer than the gladius, beteen 30 and 39 inches to the gladius's 24 to 33 inch total length (18 to 27 inch blade length).

That said, the swords look about right to me -- they could be gladius or spatha, I can't tell which. Definitely they are not long Celtic swords.

Mockturtle:

That is indeed a fascinating subject but I'm no expert on it. Can't think of any titles offhand but I'm sure lots has been written about sappers. Give it "Goog," I'll bet you turn up articles and dissertations and such, given the right search terms.

AZ Bob said...

Ann's addition at the end of the piece is spot on. The media loves happy talk.

Michael McNeil said...

Fascinating discussion about ancient chariot warfare. While I’m certainly no expert myself, I’ll bring into the conversation the subject of spokes together with Celtic chariots. It hasn’t been mentioned thus far (though undoubtedly known to Roughcoat and others here) that Middle Eastern chariots were equipped with extremely lightweight wheels utilizing thin (but differing numbers of) spokes. If I recall correctly, some (Egyptian?) chariots utilized three spokes per wheel (so few spokes, one would think, it would be difficult to make them work — the wheels ought to collapse, one would think) versus almost-as-lightweight four-spoked wheels on the chariots of their geopolitical adversaries.

Such thin, ultra-lightweight wheels were obviously most suitable for chariots employed in unobstructed flat desert terrain, and would no doubt quickly bog down when attempting to traverse the kind of loamy, vegetated earth as is found in the well-watered Celtic lands of northwestern Europe — such as the island of Britain, where chariots (obsolete almost everywhere else by that time) were effectively employed (in 55-54 BC) by the defending Britons against the invading legions of Julius Caesar!

These British chariots were not spoked but consisted of single-piece wheels. As historian Sheppard Frere writes (quoting…):

The Romans had not encountered chariot warfare in Gaul, and at first found it hard to adapt themselves to it. Chariots had a complement of one warrior and one driver. They were drawn by two ponies, but although certain classical authors, confusing them with Persian chariots, credit them with axle-scythes, such things are neither mentioned by Caesar nor attested by archaeology. Their tactics were to drive swiftly over the battlefield, hurling javelins and creating confusion and panic with their dashing horses and the noise of the wheels. If they could get among the cavalry the warrior dismounted to fight, and the charioteer retired to be at hand to aid a speedy retreat.

The chariot gave the fighter the mobility and speed of cavalry, without preventing him exhibiting the virtues of infantry as well. Daily practice gave great skill in manoeuvring at speed over rough ground. The warrior would even dash out along the pole and stand on the yoke while travelling at full gallop.

The secret of the chariot was its resilient wheel made of a one-piece felloe — an invention, it seems, of the Celts. The Roman legionaries, weighted down with heavy armour, could not pursue when the enemy gave ground, nor did they dare to leave the close formation in which they had been taught to fight. The Roman cavalry could master the chariots, but when enticed too far from the supporting legions by simulated flight, they in turn failed before the dismounted warriors. Ancient cavalry was poorly mounted, and they had no stirrups. The correct tactics to employ against the chariots, as Caesar soon learned, was to keep cavalry and infantry in touch and acting in concert. After that they caused no further trouble.

(/unQuote)

(Sheppard Frere, Britannia: A History of Roman Britain, Third Edition, 1987, Pimlico, London, pp. 23-24.)

Roughcoat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roughcoat said...

Near Eastern chariots started out, in the early phase of chariot design/development, with four spokes. The chariots of Thutmose III, e.g., had four spokes. Soon thereafter Egyptian chariots, and all Near Eastern chariots for that matter, used six spokes. In Egyptians reliefs of the Battle of Kadesh, Hittite and Egyptian chariots alike have six spokes.

Three-spoke chariot wheels were not employed anywhere at any time, as far as I know.

Near Eastern chariot warfare rarely took place on desert terrain. This is one of the most persistent misperceptions about chariot warfare in the Bronze Age. In general chariot warfare was fought on field cultivated in wheat and barely. This was especially the case in the Levant, which was heavily forested and extensively cultivated in the Bronze Age, much more so than now. Desert terrain was not conducive to chariot warfare nor was it conducive to the movement of armies, especially from a logistical standpoint. Also, then and now, wheeled vehicles do not perform well in desert terrain – neither in soft-sand terrain nor the rocky hard-scrabble terrain of, e.g., regions like the Western Desert in Egypt/Libya. But, more’s to the point, Bronze Age chariotry engagements were mostly fought in cultivated areas because that’s where the objectives – walled cities – were located.

My friend Rich Beal at the Oriental Institute in Chicago (where I also work), the world’s foremost authority on the Hittite military, was once approached by a movie producer for advice on staging a depiction of the Battle of Kadesh in desert terrain. Rich told him that for the sake of historical accuracy the battle should be filmed in the wheat fields of Kansas, just before harvest when the wheat was tallest. The campaigning season in the ancient Near East was the late spring/summer growing season, just prior to the harvest. In the Bible this is famously and poetically described as the time when “kings go forth unto battle.” I am addressing this subject at length in my projects on Bronze Age chariotry warfare and the Battle of Kadesh.

Chariots both in the Near and Britain were rarely driven at speed (i.e., at the gallop) into battle. Another persistent misconception. I also address this subject at length. There are several reasons for this, which I won’t go into here.

Re: “The chariot gave the fighter the mobility and speed of cavalry, without preventing him exhibiting the virtues of infantry as well.” This is quite wrong, and in many ways. I haven’t read Shepherd Frere’s book, but based on the passages provided here I have to conclude that he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about – that’s he pretty much recycling historical misperceptions and incorrect notions about Celtic chariotry.

In general Celtic chariotry was largely ineffective against Roman infantry formations. The Romans handled them same way that Alexander handled Persian chariotry and the way the Romans themselves handled Carthaginian elephants: by channeling the vehicles (or animals, as the case may be) into lanes and “pockets” created for that purpose. Horses will not NOT charge a solid infantry mass presenting a hedge of spears. They will, despite the best efforts of their drivers, head into the lanes and pockets which served as killing zones for the chariots. Plus, chariotry formations were always vastly outnumbered by infantry formations. At the Battle of the Hydaspes, e.g., Porus’s chariotry corps, after creating initial difficulties for the Macedonian infantry, was slaughtered when the Macedonians reformed their phalanx and counterattacked the chariots with their sarisas. The cohesion of the phalanx, plus the fact that the number of men amassed therein significantly outnumbered the chariot fighters, made the outcome of the engagement inevitable.