This metaphysical twist received a ferocious

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Unformatted text preview: itz.com. 2 I am unable to quote page numbers here, as the Internet source I am using did not contain page numbers. The concept of ‘war’ in the humanities 77 Having discussed the role of emotions and chance in war, he returns to the interaction between war and policy. He actually finds the distinction between the two largely artificial, which brings us to his famous statement: “War is a mere continuation of policy by other means” (1873: Book I, Chapter 1, part 24), which he rephrases and refines many times, for example, “war is to be regarded not as an independent thing, but as a political instrument” (Book I, Chapter 1, part 27). His search for an indepth understanding of the nature of war leads him to slightly metaphysical reflections, as in: War is, therefore, not only a true chameleon, because it changes its nature in some degree in each particular case, but it is also, as a whole, in relation to the predominant tendencies which are in it, a wonderful trinity, composed of the original violence of its elements, hatred and animosity, which may be looked upon as blind instinct; of the play of probabilities and chance, which make it a free activity of the soul; and of the subordinate nature of a political instrument, by which it belongs purely to the reason. The first of these three phases concerns more the people; the second more the general and his army; the third more the Government (1873: Book I, Chapter 1, part 28). This metaphysical twist received a ferocious criticism from Jomini, who saw the role of a theoretician of warfare in educating future army commanders in the conduct of war and not in the pondering on the nature of war. It must be emphasized, however, that a major part of Clausewitz’s book is indeed devoted to the art of war, in the sense of strategy building, conducting tactical operations, and very detailed discussion of particular manoeuvres. Jomini’s initial picture of war was much more lucid. He saw war as a rather static phenomenon, which allowed only for superficial changes, such as the actual participants, war technology and political aims, but whose nature, on the whole, remained invariable. In his analyses he borrowed much of the vocabulary from geometry, describing the battlefield tactics in terms of front lines, interior lines, bases and key points. Bassford (1993) concludes his discussion on the interaction between the two 19th century theoreticians by stating that Jomini’s practical approach has been long incorporated into modern military doctrine construction, whereas Clausewitz’s penetrating and complex theory may never become “conventional wisdom”. He also stresses that a few of the Chapter III 78 present-day scholars tried to discredit Clausewitz’s theory as obsolete in the age of nuclear missiles and terrorist attacks. For example, van Creveld (1991) claims that the narrow strategic view of war as initiated and conducted by nation-states has been rendered invalid. He seems to be forgettin...
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This essay was uploaded on 02/24/2014 for the course LING 1100 taught by Professor Friedman during the Fall '09 term at Cornell.

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