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Saturday
06Dec

Response to Kenneth Anderson - Lessons from Clausewitz

I am continuously amazed by the richness of Clausewitz’s writings and my own book is indebted to some of his key insights. While some aspects of On War may not be as relevant to us today as they were when he wrote it (notably the importance attached to the decisive battle), we can still learn much from Clausewitz’s emphasis on the historically and socially determined character of war as well as the fog and friction that appear inherent to all its manifestations. As you so eloquently put it, I think it is a mistake to read Clausewitz as arguing that war is just another adjunct of policy which can be switched on and off at will. In reality there is an inherent tension between the energies and passions liberated by war and the rational goals of policy that Clausewitz fully recognised. It is probably above all this profoundly dynamic character to his thought that makes this nineteenth century Prussian officer such an enduring resource to draw upon in our reflections on war.


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