A new age has dawned for our glorious nation of Lettucia. Our great scientist Baron von Leefi has developed the Smart Active Laser Automated Defense (SALAD). These small systems are a result of our tireless research into miniturization and computation. Each turret has the ability to detect and destroy incoming projectiles before they cause harm. SALAD has revolutionized our already modern military, allowing our vehicles to detect and neutralize projectile threats before they can cause harm. The SALAD system has been tested and achieved a near-perfect success rate against conventional weaponry. A personal sized model is currently being tested, and would allow our infantry the same level of defense. A larger, stationary system is used for missle defense, and is able to neutralize any missle threats against our nation. Each system is powered by a micro-reactor fueled by unobtanium, a resource which Lettucia has almost exclusive access to. This limitation ensures that in the event of a system's capture by enemy forces, they will be unable to deploy the same technology throughout their own military.

An overview of the "Big Five" nations including ourselves and our adversaries in the coming conflict:

Lettucia - Our own glorious nation. Vastly superior in almost every way to the other nations, particularly in scientific research. Our military is the largest and most advanced. Most of our vehicles and some of our elite infantry are already equipped with the new SALAD system, while some are still using dated equipment. Our military strength lies in vehicles, mostly gunships. The high mobility and armor afforded by these vehicles has seen us many victories in the past. Other nations do not accept our political ideology, but our Grand Caesar will show them the True Way in time. Our citizens are highly nationlistic and support the effort of spreading our ideology.

Appeland - Island empire. Hast a vast navy and airforce, but few ground soldiers. Has been a historical center of trade due to its location and wealth of natural resources. Usually neutral in world conflicts, both political and military. Prefers instead to solidify itself as a world power economically.

Burgeria - A world power now on the decline. Vast industrial base, but using aging technology. Their military is also somewhat dated, still using technology from the last world conflict 50 years prior. Their military also relies on a vast amount of infantry, which a few supporting vehicles. They are vehemently opposed to our own glorious ideology.

Chizhi - Smallest of the Big Five. Relatively advanced military technology (not matching our own glorious accomplishments of course), but have a smaller military than the powers above. Particularly adept at using their limited amount of resources for industrial and military means. Very independent bordering on isolationist, trading only with the neighboring Appeland.

Donnuto - Collective of smaller nations and a staunch ally of Burgeria. Largest population, though limited technology similar to Burgeria. Next to no military, instead depending on its ally. We signed an mutual agreement at the end of the last conflict to limit both of our military development. They have appeared to honor this agreement, the fools.

Are we able to secure world domination with our present advantage? The Counsul is divided on this matter. Same say we should attack now while we have the advantage, but others claim this will bring ruin to us all. Will our new technology be enough to conquer, or should we focus on other efforts for now? Our ultimate goal is conquer the other nations and forcibly enact our ideology upon their people. The other nations are not yet aware of the extent of our technological advantage, so for now we hold the element of surprise. We may not get another opportunity such as this, but we do not wish to act without your assurance of our success.

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    $\begingroup$ I was about to say that "Lettucia" is a terrible name for a country because it sounds too much like "Lettuce", and then I read "SALAD", and understanding dawned. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Jul 11 '16 at 18:13
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    $\begingroup$ That being said, your question is pretty broad. You should limit the number of question you ask in a post to one. Also, we can't tell you what the complete political implications are going to be. It's your made up universe, you tell us! Read up on Risk Factors for a better understanding of WB's scope. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Jul 11 '16 at 18:15
  • $\begingroup$ Well, 2 and 3 are really just explanations of why 1 is yes or no. Do you think I need to limit the scope of each individually? I'm not looking for a complete "attack here, then there" sort of answer, just a general "is world domination possible and why or why not?" $\endgroup$ – Kys Jul 11 '16 at 18:17
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    $\begingroup$ Wining the war is one thing. Wining the peace afterwards is another. If you want to dominate the world, you have to consider you'll have to live with those people you want to conquer. Military conquest is pretty pointless if there are billions of people that just hate your face. $\endgroup$ – AmiralPatate Jul 11 '16 at 18:18
  • $\begingroup$ "is world domination possible and why or why not?" <- that is an answerable question (although somewhat opinion based). "Is world domination possible when you posses this unobtainium tech?" is probably perfect, IMO. You could leave those 3 bullet points as suggestions of things to address in the answer or something. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Jul 11 '16 at 18:21

Military technology by itself is not a war winner. Ancient military writers and historians like Tacticus, Sun Tzu, Xenophon and Thucydides recognized that questions like strategy, logistics and morale have far more to do with the outcome of wars than technology.

On the modern stage, warfare has evolved (using may of the principles outlined by the ancients) to what is now sometimes referred to as "4GW", which is defined as:

Fourth-generation warfare (4GW) uses all available networks — political, economic, social, and military — to convince the enemy’s political decision makers that their strategic goals are either unachievable or too costly for the perceived benefit.

"The Sling and the Stone", Thomas Xavier Hammes (USMC ret.)

The most amazing example of this style of warfare is how the First Intifada, in 1988, managed to stymie the extremely powerful IDF, despite the overwhelming military power and technology available to the Israeli soldiers and commanders. Furthermore, the First Intifada deliberately chose not to engage the IDF militarily at all, being a creation of "home grown" Palestinians who acted independently of the PLO and had essentially created "Parallel Structures" of governance independent of both the Israelis and the PLO in the West Bank and Gaza.

Using nothing more sophisticated than printing presses, couriers and word of mouth, they devised strategies and tactics that nullified the armed might of the Israelis, turned the international press against Israel and even nullified the PLO and other outside groups claiming to represent "Palestine".

Much more recently, Russia has utilized a combination of PSYOPS, media and economic tools to "prepare the ground" for their adventures in places like Georgia (2007), Crimea and Donbass (2014) and their intervention in Syria (2016) as well as a current war of nerves in the Baltic Republics and Finland. While armed power is ultimately used as part of their "Hybrid Warfare" doctrine , it is neither modern and up to date (Russian tankers are still driving around in T-72's), nor even the traditional masses of military hardware that was their hallmark from the 1930's to the end of the USSR. Chinese "Unrestricted Warfare" doctrine is similarly designed to avoid confronting high tech opponents in a symmetric fashion.

So sure, your troops may have highly sophisticated C-RAM (counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar) technology with their laser weapons, but the troops might discover they are being confronted with challenges which simply do not match their ability to respond.

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The answer is basically "No". Not unless you're willing to go to extreme ends to achieve this goal.

You see, winning a war, and maintaining control of conquered territory are very different things. Look at the US's exploits in Afghanistan and Iraq as a prime example of what happens when you "win" the war, but fail to maintain control over a nation.

First of all, your have to look at the military strength and training of your enemy, the availability of firearms and other weapons, and society's willingness to fight.

If a country were to invade the US they would have a very bad time of it in the months to come. Guerilla attacks and ambushes would cripple any enemy fighting force because everyone is bloody well armed to the teeth. In England, however, the few people who even own guns own hunting shotguns and the like. They wouldn't be able to effectively resist an enemy force.

Another factor is population size. When you invade a country you can't place too much trust in the locals to police themselves and remain subservient - as the US found out in Afghanistan and Iraq (how many betrayals took place? How much equipment was stolen and simply handed over to the "enemy"? etc.)

Much like Germany in WW2, you will have to station your own troops throughout the conquered territory. However, you only have so many soldiers to go around, and worse, they'll be dying in ambushes, or you'll simply start facing political pressure to bring your troops home as more and more lose their lives (read up on why the US "lost" the Vietnam war).

Apologies if the below is a little ... graphic, but it's - generally speaking - the truth about what it takes to "rule the world".

The reason we fail to maintain control of conquered territories and simply install "puppet" regimes and leave, is because we have to pretend to be civilized now-a-days. Slaughtering half the population and leaving a garrison to scare the rest of them into complying with your demands isn't fashionable any more.

Unfortunately, however, it's the only real way to maintain control of a territory.

Some of your soldiers dies in an ambush? Execute 10 civilians for each man you lose. If it happens again a month later increase the number to 100. Make it public, and visceral. Leave the bodies in the streets.

If a part of the country is resisting your control (aka America's South) cut their food supplies. Poison their crops and water supplies. Carpet bomb cannions, and burn down the forests. Kill the women and children that the guerilla fighters leave behind.

Sooner or later they will realize that opposing you is simply too costly to carry on. That, or you will have killed all the opposition.

Another tactic which was put to extensive use by the Soviet Union was to kill any authority figure, or the really intelligent individuals. School teachers, university professors, priests, surviving army officers (current or retired), government officials, etc. were all executed en masse (their families too, in many cases). Why? Because educated people might identify and speak up against the shortcomings of your regime. Their well framed arguments might become a rallying cry for the people. By executing them you both scare the others into complying, as well as remove all the natural leaders from the population - win, win as it were.

You should also encourage people to join your side, and richly reward those who cross over to your side. Most people will only want the horror to end, and give in. At that point your people become the much hated and feared overlords, and everyone is much too frightened to put up any real fight.

Of course some idealists will still resist, but you can put your propaganda machine to good use and brainwash the children into believing that you did them all a favor by taking over, etc.

If you really want to know more about how to take control of a nation read up on how the Soviets did it, first in Russia, and then to many other countries.

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There are two fundamental problems with any military technology or strategy.

The first is that if it is successful enough to give you a significant advantage, then your adversaries will acquire or emulate it. This is why empires built on the strength of a military tend to have a short lifespan. Napoleon is the textbook example of this. He revolutionized warfare and conquered Europe, and while he was unstoppable at the start, it didn't take his adversaries long to learn and implement the very strategies that made him unstoppable, dramatically narrowing the gap between the effectiveness of his armies and the effectiveness of his adversaries' armies.

The second is that no strategy or technology exists in a vacuum. Your adversaries will constantly adapt and change to counter whatever strategy or technology you roll out. Machine guns came about to counter masses of infantry, then tanks came about to counter machine guns, airpower and RPGs came about to counter tanks, and that's just in the last 100 years or so. In the case of your perfect anti-ballistic technology, the counter-move is obvious - don't rely on ballistic weapons that can be shot down. Use kinetic weapons, use mines and IEDs and use directed energy weapons (flamethrowers).

These two unavoidable realities combine to mean that an advantage built on military power is very temporary. More lasting advantages arise from having a stronger economy, demographic base and means of production.

Which brings up the other problem of military power, which is that military power just covers the issue of winning the war. Military technologies and strategies are not of much use in winning the peace, generally speaking, and if you don't win the peace, can't hold what you've conquered, then you've spent a lot of blood and treasure for nothing. This is the bigger problem most empires face, particularly those that expand principally by military force. It's been many hundreds of years in human history since we've seen one comparable nation conquer and hold another for any significant period of time (the USSR collapsed and gave up all its WWII gains inside 50 years, and against much smaller and weaker nations, the Imperial Japanese didn't even make it that long, nor did Napoleon, the European colonial powers collapsed under the weight of maintaining control over their colonies, etc.).

Military power is simply not a good way to spread ideology. Fundamentally, people do not like being conquered. Spreading ideology is about winning hearts and minds, about making people want what you have and what you are, which is why it is primarily done through cultural and economic means. The only way that ideology is successfully spread by military means is when the military decimates the other population and paves the way for settlers. (Just ask the Native Americans, right?) If your Lettucians are comfortable with that, then that's the way to go. Use their current military advantage to win the war, genocide the other populations, and have their civilians claim the ruins.

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    $\begingroup$ For the first point, I tried to stall this using the exclusive resource unobtanium, but their enemies will no doubt find an alternative. For the second, mines and flamethrowers definitely came to mind when I was writing this. $\endgroup$ – Kys Jul 11 '16 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Kys I figured the unobtanium as explaining the efficacy and/or miniaturization of the anti-ballistic systems, rather than their existence, given that anti-ballistic systems exist today in at least a couple forms (strategic and vehicle-mounted as a defense against RPGs) without unobtanium. $\endgroup$ – HopelessN00b Jul 11 '16 at 21:17

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