The Romans had a huge affection for Greece. Wealthy aristocratic households had Greeks as tutors. The best way to succeed in Rome was to become a jurist, and studying abroad in Greece was considered essential to become a competent lawyer with great eloquence and logic to capture people’s attention. Julius Caesar also studied in Greece to become a jurist before he entered political circles.
People find it hard to believe that such a land of civilization and refinement is full of historic battle sites. B.C. 168, Aemilius Paulus defeated the Macedonian phalanx near Mount Olympus. The Roman military’s new tactical formation proved its power in the battle and gained the confidence to conquer the world. His son, Scipio Africanus, completely destroyed Carthage in the Third Punic War. The two critical battles that took place in the process of Rome becoming an empire – the Battle of Pharsalus between Caesar and Pompey and the Battle of Philippi between Caesar’s successors Mark Antony and Octavian and the leaders of Julius Caesar's assassination – took place not in Italy but in Greece.
In the era of the Byzantine Empire and World War I, Greece was the place where international forces collided with each other. Geopolitical factors were involved in why Greece became the land of war. It has topography advantageous for building fortresses and is an intersection connecting Europe, the Middle East, and the Ottoman Empire. What about South Korea in the 21st century? It is at the crossroads between the U.S., Japan, Russia, and China. It seemed like the meaning of such a position had weakened after the end of the Cold War, but the geopolitical threat index rose significantly as China strengthened the threat against Taiwan. Chinese attacks on Taiwan are not a domestic issue of China becoming ‘one China.’ The threats of China, which outspokenly became an imperialist country, extended to Southeast Asia, and maritime trade routes, which are the lifelines of South Korea and Japan, are under the jurisdiction of China. It is beyond a situation that can be dealt with by light aircraft carriers. The Quad alliance connecting the U.S. and India was formed to address the threats, putting South Korea in an uncomfortable diplomatic situation.
A geopolitical position is not fixed. It constantly changes and requires wisdom for survival. Those who realize this first and prepare against it survive. This is the eternal truth of the history of war.