Well, here I come with a post about Avatar: The last Airbender, the US-made cartoon show on Nickeledeon, which for me not only a mere kids-amusement TV show, but more as a full of historical, cultural, philosophical, and educating TV show. Here, I won’t discuss about what is Avatar, his must-accomplished tasks, or his journey to acquire those tasks. And I won’t tell the full story here, but I want to underscore that there are something we can learn from it. One of the lessons is the war philosophy about changing strategy to win the battle. We can see that by comparing the war strategy which used by the Fire Nations to capture the Earth Kingdom’s capital city, Ba Sing She, and conquered the North Pole in book one and war strategy which used by them to capture Ba Sing She in book two. Well, one of the factors that influenced the strategy is a leadership.
In book one, there are Admiral Iroh, Zuko’s uncle, who attempted to capture the Ba Sing Se with full power of men and machineries, and Admiral Zhao who attempted to capture the North Pole with huge mass of fire nation’s warships. But, none of them are success to capture the cities. On the other side, the failures are caused by the death of Iroh’s only son—and after that incident Iroh’s warlike had declined and he decided to stop the invasion—and because of Avatar’s hand-helps by reached his Avatar State. But in the other side, the invasion had failed because they had a wrong strategies, wrong assessments, and in the wrong time. For the next discussion about the war strategies, I will only compare the strategy by which Iroh and Princess Azula used to throw over the Earth King and take over the rule of Earth Kingdom.
Iroh’s leadership on invasion to the Ba Sing Se had failed because they were not succeed to conquer the city. Need to know, Ba Sing Se has a meaning of “impenetrable city”. This meaning is not just mere words, it is really impenetrable because it has two super-huge walls—the outer that keep from the other nations strike and the inner that maintain the order. Though, General Iroh can penetrate the outer wall but he had lost in the attempts to penetrate the inner wall because his too much grief of his son’s death. In the reverse, Princess Azula has succeed to conquer the Earth Kingdom without brake the walls. They were in disguise as Kyoshi warriors—Group of warriors which came from Kyoshi island and they are respected because their friendship with Aang and also because they are descendants of Avatar Kyoshi. After they came into the palace, they ought to find the way to overthrow the Earth King. And they, at least, had found the Earth King’s weakness. Princess Azula get the information that the Dai Li—the cultural enforces of Ba Sing Se, who under direct command of Long Feng, the cultural minister, and function as a sort of secret police who arresting and re-educating anyone who breaks regulations concerning mention of the war, though they serve the Earth King, they are loyal only to Long Feng. After Princess Azula convinced the whole Dai Li forces to help him because Long Feng told to do so, they make a conspiracy to conduct the internal coup d’etat led by Azula. In the end of book two, Princess Azula with helps of Prince Zuko, and Dai Li forces get the Earth King and Avatar team out from city of Ba Sing Se.
In the real realms, the military factor plays a greater role in international configuration and national security. Worldwide Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) is gaining momentum. The forms of war are changes from mechanization to informationalization. Informationalization has become the key factor in enhancing the war-fighting capability of the armed forces. The key success of their victory to capture the city of Ba Sing Se is informationalization strategy through espionage, of what Iroh’s forces can’t acquired through the power of men and machineries. It is some military strategies that recently used by major countries to win the battles. United States, Russia, Western Europe, and China are good examples in how the power of information has replaced the absolute power of mechanization. Thus, the future war-winning factors will depend on another form of armament such as satellite, computerization, and intelligence, instead deployment of mass military personnel.