"the" Mrs. Astor

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I had a lunch time cocktail with an old friend who was briefly visiting and we talked about politics and current events with emphasis on fringe elements of the world like Kim Jong Il, a favorite stage actor who employs half of the world's elevator shoe makers. My friend worried aloud about North Korea having the world's third largest army, and I waved my hand saying that Iraq did too; now they can't get ten policemen together to save themselves. "Well, look at that North Korean army and all those generals", David said. "THAT is impressive." "No", I replied, "That's just the Sukhomlinov Effect", which drew the most lost gaze I've ever seen.
The Sukhomlinov Effect was termed after the Tsarist Minister of War in 1914, Vladimir Sukhomlinov, who guided the massive Russian army at the start of World War I into a stunning loss. The Effect dictates that the army that looks the prettiest is doomed to lose because it places style before performance.Examples of this would be the stunning Red Coats of the British Empire who marched into the snipers of America's ragtag army in 1776, the elegant French army which were slaughtered by the grey-clad Prussian army in 1871, and even the Nazi's, whose stylish officer corps crumbled before the khaki-clad officers of Eisenhower.

Vladimir Sukhomlinov was a perfumed, gold-braided dandy with enough medals to sink a ship; his supremely elegant cavalry rode directly into the German machine guns in the Battle of Tannenberg. Interestingly, while the American army was battling the pajama-clad Viet Cong during the Sixties, General Westmoreland was voted among the Tens Best Dressed Men in the United States. I'd like to add that goose-stepping on an empty stomach doesn't help either, but the Sukhomlinov Effect has a long, proven record. Kim will never be the problem because he doesn't want to rock the boat, but look out for the son.


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