Ukraine and Beyond: Why Super-Powers Stumble Against Small-Powers

When asymmetry aligns fuses with collective will, defeat stays out of reach

Shankar Narayan


How did David win against Goliath? It might be folklore, but it does have a lesson the world simply refuses to learn

So, after World War II, everyone was all about this whole idea that having a massive military equals automatic victory. It’s like, the bigger, the better, right? But hold up, that’s totally not the full story.

I mean, just check out the numbers — China, India, the US, North Korea, and Russia combined have like seven million people in their armed forces. And that’s just the folks in uniforms! It’s wild to think how much weight people put on the size of military forces as this major deterrent. They assumed, “If we’re bigger, we’ve got better odds at winning.”

The real deal back then wasn’t just about who had the most troops or the fanciest tanks. It was this whole survival mode that kicked in for the Western Allies when they were up against the Axis powers. They weren’t ready for Hitler at all; they never thought they’d face such a massive threat. But when reality hit them like a ton of bricks, they banded together and found the guts to fight back.

It was all about that collective will to survive.

But here’s where things went a bit wonky. After the threat faded away, countries went back to their own business and slowly started beefing up their military forces just to play it safe. And, here’s the twist — at some point, they started thinking that having this huge military strength would let them steamroll over smaller countries. Big mistake!

The real MVP of the Allied victory in World War II was that inner strength and unity to survive, not the sheer size of their military. They kind of missed that point and thought ‘bigger is always better’. It’s like a rerun of history’s mistakes, just without the dictator vibes.

The French struggled in Indo-China, and then America had its own messy time in Vietnam. Having a huge conventional military power didn’t guarantee anyone an easy win against smaller, localized opponents.

“For some idea of the degree to which the outcome of these wars presents a radical break with the past, it is instructive to examine the case of Indochina. The French successfully subjugated the peoples of…



Shankar Narayan

Lov stats and hate status-quo. Forecasted all the states Biden won in 2020. Correctly forecasted the twin Georgia elections in 2021, House and Senate in 2022.