Clausewitz Round-Up


Clausewitzean Approach


-         wars are fought for political purposes

o      political aim should direct the military strategy

o      war is not an autonomous realm from politics

o      ends should direct means

§       “The political object is the goal, war is the means of reaching it, and means can never be considered in isolation from their purpose” (I:1:24, p.87)

-         war is unpredictable

o      fog, friction

o      morale of military & people

o      coup d’oeil & determination of commanders

-         violence is inherent in war

o      bloodshed cannot be minimized

o      passionate hatreds

o      escalation to extreme use of force a risk



Criticism of Clausewitzean Approach


-         Is the theory prescriptive or explanatory?

o      is war really the continuation of policy?

o      should we think of it that way?

-         ‘WWCD?’ is not a helpful guide to strategy

-         On War is opaque & contradictory



Strategy, Grand Strategy, & Security

-         strategy as the use of “the engagement” (combat, battle) for the purpose of the war

-         grand strategy: a state’s ‘theory’ of how to create security for itself (B. Posen)

o      military strategy should be directed by grand strategy