One of the key insights from van Creveld is that Morals and purpose wins the day...while simple force tends not to. Now, my formalist friends will point me at China...but there is a bit of a problem.
There is no space between MLK winning his battle and Tiananmen Square. If you leave Tiananment square, MLK wins. If MLK loses, it's because of Tiananmen square. Which is it to be? Do you shoot MLK, or lock him in soviet-style gulag...or do you lose the moral battle? Pick exactly one.
Power is nowhere near as simple as "who has the biggest guns", especially when the people with the guns are part of society. Does anyone know how hard it is to get folks to shoot on their own people? Even China had to replace its troops in Tiananmen square with troops from the provinces, and provide excessive lies to get the troops NOT to side with the students. People side with their neighbors over the central government in any case short of the central government using torture. North Korea is and Iraq was well past that spot.