>The title of the book refers to the three immediate reasons why, for
>example, Eurasians and not Native Americans now dominate North America:
>military might, contagious diseases, and better technology. [snip]
>Factors like geography, the availability of plants and animals amenable
>to domestication, and even the east-to-west orientation of the
>European-Asian continent account for why Europeans and Asians got a head
>start on agriculture and why their descendants now dominate the world
Interesting in so far as it goes. I think this theory applies fairly well to the "why not" side of the question (e.g., why didn't the Australian Aborigines conquer anyone). However, I am left wondering why the Egyptians did not "choose" to conquer. This was a society that remained almost completely impervious to outside influence for close to 6000 years. Theirs was a wealthy society. Their technology advanced - to the point that some of their accomplishments can not be replicated by "modern" society (e.g., linen so fine it was transparent). They had enough free time on their hands to allow them to chart astral positions for a period of more than 4000 years. They were able to, and did, travel extensively for the purpose of trade. In spite of all this, they did not choose to go out and conquer other societies.
I propose an alternate reason for conquering: dissatisfaction. Europe was crowded, dirty, and culturally and artistically rather "poor". At least, this is true in comparison to the societies they chose to conquer. Conquering nations are, for the most part, grabbing wealth, power, or both (this is still true today).
If you've already got it all at home, why go prowling around, stealing it from everyone else? If you are truly wealthy, you can trade for what you do not have. Let's apply that to Europe. Trade for gold? What did the Europeans have that anyone else wanted? Forget white supremacy. I think they just weren't very happy with their own world(s). They wanted more and they chose the easiest way to get it.
Now for my part, the climate would have been adequate incentive. I ask you, if you live in England, would you or would you not, jump at the chance to take a little excursion to Mexico in the dead of winter?!?