Charles Phipps wrote:
I think there are several issues in play here:
Is naked survival the only goal? The ones who surrendered were not treated nicely by any measure of the imagination.
Depends on the conqueror. Khan, despite his reputation, was aware of the maxim. "Dead men pay no tribute."
More like 'One needs to leave a few (and that means FEW) men alive to pay taxes'.
Genocide to the last man/of a very large percentage of the population was a standard, institutionalized part of his regime.
As for the ones who surrendered and never once disobeyed him - one habitual way to test their fidelity was to send a mongol trooper into the town/village/etc; said trooper would start killing people indiscriminately. The town was not to react in any way. This was as mild as it got by mongol standards.
Christopher, above, put Genghis Khan and Alexander Macedon on the same level.
Macedon used genocide as well, but it was the exception, not the rule; with Khan, it was the rule.
Macedon spread greek culture, which benefited many; and Khan?
The overall effect was positive - on a historical scale - for Macedon. Not so for Kahn - just ask any russian; any person whose nation Khan conquered. Look how the conquered regions looked before and after Khan was done with them.
History, as a whole, would be much different if the serfs and so on resisted to the last man against conquerors since most of history has 99% of humanity paying tribute lest they be killed or enslaved.
It's also a form of the Prisoner's Dilemma. Genghis Khan (like many rulers across history) gambled that not enough people would resist versus submission to make a difference. 14 City-States, all of them resist, it's a victory. 1 resists, it's destroyed. So who is going to resist without guarantee of the others?
If you surrender, the Khan might be overthrown the next year or die or you might join up with the Horde (which is how he and Saladin ran things--the latter conquering all of the Middle East by having one conquest pay for the next). The next Khan might be better too.
Death for you and your family...is very eternal.
Charles Phipps, the options would be:
-non-violent resistance (the option you advocated)
If you fight, you may win or lose. As I said, humans can't predict the future with any reliability.
Unless the chances of events happening/not happening are very high - for example, humans could predict reliably that Khan almost certainly won't die by next year, or, if he did, it's almost certain an equally nasty successor will inherit the throne.
If you surrender, you and your family will have a life that many consider worse than death - until release by death by means of malnutrition/overwork/disease/some mongol trooper having his version of fun.
If you're a woman/girl you can look forward to being constantly raped by the ones you surrendered to.
And now, for the third option - non-violent resistance:
You have no chance of victory. Khan will just kill all such resistors - and then laugh at their imbecility. Finally, he'll treat the rest of the population as if they resisted.
By far, the worst of the three options.
Which is a point why weighing your options works well.
The ones who resisted assumed they had a chance of victory. It was a gamble they lost; but, if won, it would mean freedom and relative quality of life over de facto slavery.
"The Corbomite Manuever" is one of my favorite "Space Battles" in Star Trek (baby at the end aside) because it shows everyone being a rationale actor. They don't know the other, they are both posturing because they don't want to show weakness, and neither side is a bad person. They could go in phasers firing but that would just get everyone (possibly) killed. It's pro-peace but it's peace by making sure that the other side is aware the other isn't a target either.
No side really wants war or is a bad person.
Guess what? Khan, Macedon, many others in the past and present DO WANT WAR.
And this is why "The corbomite maneuver"/associated game theory is irrelevant in such situations.