Winning wars and battles are two kettles of fish. Winning battles is easy, that isn’t the case with
wars. Victories in battles are often immediate, but quite different in wars.
Battles and wars dynamics aren’t restricted to strategic and tactical parlances, they are in all
facets of life. They are found in sporting arenas, business worlds, diplomatic circles,
entertainment atmospheres, spiritual realms, etc.
We’ve seen teams down before halftime or close to the end of the game, but emerged
victorious at the last whistle. We’ve witnessed fighters down (on points) up to the 10th round,
but knocked out opponents in the last round. These are instances of winning battles and losing
wars in sports.
A mesmerizing paragon of winning the war in sport happened in a World Cup qualifying tango
between Portugal and the Republic of Ireland on 1st September 2021. The Republic of Ireland won the
battle by leading with a lone goal up to the last minute of the regular time. Before the final
whistle, CR7 that missed a spot-on kick during the game equalized. In the dying seconds of the
five minutes of extra time, he scored the winning goal that gave his country three maximum
During the 2nd WW, Benito Mussolini of Italy won a battle against Emperor Haile Sellasie and
his forces in Abyssinia. His majesty had to go on exile for strategic and tactical reasons. But Ras
Tafari ( The last emperor of Ethiopia and the Conquering lion of tribes of Judah ) won the war
before the Fascists and Nazis officially surrendered to allied forces in 1945.
In feudal Russia, the Czar and Mensheviks won battles against believers of Karl Marx(Marxist
under V.I.Lenin, Iron Joseph Stalin, and Leon Stroisky). The Czar succeeded in exiling V.I.Lenin
and some of his socialist comrades. But Lenin and his cream of Bolsheviks won the war in
October 1917 and formed the biggest political geography in modern history. Decades later the
union they formed(Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) played a vital role in the defeat of Hitler
from Moscow to Eastern Berlin.
The Yankees stooge Fulgencio Batista won the battle by jailing Comrade Fidel Castro on
charges of plotting a coup against his regime. After his jail term, Commandante Castro ran to
exile in Mexico. Later the duo of Castro and the Argentine comrade Dr.Ernesto Che won the war
in 1959. And established a communists state that contributed enormously to decolonization
struggles in Africa and produced more medical personnel than any country in the world. The tiny
island land provided political leadership and direction to other Latin and South American
countries during the Cold War.
Ian Smith and his white minorities won the battle against Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo, etc. Gen.
Mugabe was jailed for a long by the whites. He ran to Ghana and taught in schools there. After
some years, Gen. Robert Gabriel Mugabe and his ZANU-PF fighter won the war by forming an
army that militarily defeated the whites government. Southern Rhodesia now Zimbabwe became
a free nation of majority rule in 1980. President Smith, who said there can’t be majority rule in
Zimbabwe handed power to Gen. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF.
The Boers won the battle by institutionalizing the segregative policy of Apartheid. And jailed
Madiba sent scores of black activists into exile. But Madiba and his comrades won the war in
1994. And dismantled the principle that placed whites superior to blacks and other people of
Colour in the rainbow nation.
During America’s civil war, Confederalists won battles after battles. The Federalists leader kept
hope alive and pushed on. In the end, Abraham Lincoln and the federalists won the war—set
slaves free—and preserved a one-of-its-kind Union. Today, the U.S.has the biggest GDP and
the most sophisticated armed forces on earth.
Imperialists won the battle by jailing Dr.Kwame Nkrumah because he was fighting for the
freedom of his people of the Gold Coast(the pride of Africa). Dr. Nkrumah won the war by winning
the election while in prison, his CCP got majority seats, and formed the government. From prison to
statehouse. He used Ghana’s resources to support nationalist movements in the black world
Pharaoh won multiple battles against prophet Moses and his people. Pharaoh and his people
made the Israelis a beast of burden to Egyptians. Moses eventually won the war by
invoking superior spiritual powers that descended plague on the entire land. His final victory was
the sinking of the entire Pharaoh’s armed forces in the Red Sea. And moved to the promised
In Chinua Achebe’s globally recognized and awards winning book “Things Fall Apart”, the lead
character Okonkwo won battles on multidimensional fronts( especially wrestling and yam
farming) but lost the war at the end of his life. Awesome and record-setting Okoronkwo killed
himself- a not-so-rightful way to die in pre-colonial Igbo society. Instead of being buried in an
elaborate ceremony(befitting burial in modern times), his decomposed body was dumped in the
proverbial evil forest.
Oh yes, it’s better to face defeat in battles than wars. Recovery from bad and twisted battles is
possible—but not wars. Instances enumerated hereinbefore and countless unhighlighted others
vindicate this unambiguous declaration.
Resist the temptation of waving a white handkerchief to temporary triumphs of negative
circumstances because wars are won at the end of a mission or tango. Winning wars is akin to
the last laugh, which is said to be the best.
Win wars, not battles.
By John Danfulani