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Unformatted text preview: g the point that Clausewitz made about a close interdependence
between wars and the societies that wage them, so that a change in the
society and its policy will necessarily cause a change in the nature of
war. Moreover, in the part devoted to tactical operations in the mountains, he clearly showed that an infinitely smaller force can confront and
even halt a larger force in guerrilla-like warfare. The soldiers’ motivation
and their superior knowledge of the terrain were clear advantages, as
predicted by Clausewitz, both in Vietnam and Afghanistan. Bassford
(1993) gives yet another counterargument to van Creveld, when he notices that although the conduct of the Persian Gulf War may have been
very Jominian in nature, i.e. a superior military force secured victory, the
post war period of reconstruction or indeed its failure, is very reminiscent
of the Clausewitzian insistence on developing a post-war strategy before
embarking on a war.
3. Philosophy and the concept of ‘war’
Pierre Hassner3 has devoted four essays to the nature of war (Hassner
1996, 1998, 2000, 2002a, translated and published in Poland as Hassner
2002b). In his papers he thoroughly reviews the positions of various philosophers on the issue and formulates his own contemporary view referred to as the bourgeois and barbarian dialectics.
Hassner (1996 [2002b]) notes that in philosophical investigations
the concept of ‘war’ is often closely related to the dichotomy between
harmony and conflict. He mentions Heraclites and his idea of Polemos
(Gr. ‘conflict’) as the father of all beings, Hegelian dialectics, the Weberian war of gods, the Darwinian struggle for survival, Marxist class war
and Nietzschean will to power all as philosophies advocating the primacy 3 Pierre Hassner is a philosopher and journalist interested in the history of political
science in post-Cold War Europe, the ethics of politics and war, the problem of war
refugees and the character of nation-states. The concept of ‘war’ in the humanities 79 of conflict over harmony. Hassner, however, refuses to analyse war in
such hierarchical axiological terms.
He starts his discussion of war by a reference to Rousseau, who
noted that war should not be regarded as an interaction between two human beings, but between states. In addition, a distinction should be made
between war and social conflict or conceptual contradiction and violence.
Then he proceeds to an analysis of the views of Waltz (1959) who distinguished three possible sources of wars: (1) the human psyche, (2) the
organization of states, and (3) international anarchy. The first two potential militant drives can allegedly be remedied. The human inclination to
violence can be curbed by means of education, religion, psychological or
psychiatric treatment. The internal state organization can evolve towards
non-violent forms, which traditionally are related to freedom of trade,
democracy or, in Marxist philosophy, to som. The international relations, however, are a cause which cannot be overcome, because of the
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