Course Hero Logo

37 26 gaining surprise therefore becomes one of the

Course Hero uses AI to attempt to automatically extract content from documents to surface to you and others so you can study better, e.g., in search results, to enrich docs, and more. This preview shows page 34 - 36 out of 359 pages.

37
26Gaining surprise, therefore, becomes one of the key objectives of strategy. In fact, whole schoolsof strategy (Luttwak refers specifically to Liddell Hart’s indirect approach) have been founded onthe principle of surprise. The problem is that paradoxical choices—those necessary to achievesurprise—are never free or even necessarily safe because every “paradoxical choice made for thesake of surprise must have its cost, manifest in some loss of strength that would otherwise be avail-able.” The choice itself may make execution more difficult (it is harder to fight at night); secrecycan inhibit preparations and is almost never total; deception may contain relatively cost-free ele-ments (like false information leaked to the enemy) but as it becomes more sophisticated, complex,and convincing, it soaks up resources (units conducting feints are not available at the main pointof contact). At the theoretical extreme, one could expend so much force gaining surprise that insuf-ficient combat power remained for the real fight.38Obviously the paradoxical course of ‘least expectation’ must stop short of self-defeating extremes, butbeyond that the decision is a matter of calculations neither safe nor precise. Although the loss of strengthpotentially available is certain, success in achieving surprise can only be hoped for; and although the costcan usually be tightly calculated, the benefit must remain a matter of speculation until the deed is done.39All of this, of course, is complicated by friction, which Luttwak calls organizational risk. Also,acting paradoxically can become predictable. Thus, by 1982 in Lebanon, the Israelis had estab-lished such a reputation for paradoxical action that they were unable to achieve surprise untilthey broke their established paradigm and conducted the obvious frontal attack down the BekkaValley. Luttwak recognizes that some situations call for straightforward, logical solutions. “If theenemy is so weakened that his forces are best treated as a passive array of targets that might aswell be inanimate, the normal linear logic of industrial production, with all the derived criteria ofproductive efficiency, is fully valid, and the paradoxical logic of strategy is irrelevant.”40While he has some interesting and valid points, especially in the details, Luttwak’s insistenceon the paradoxical nature of war is too broad a generalization. There is much that is paradoxicalin warfare; however, if war were completely paradoxical, as Luttwak asserts (his exceptions aretoo trivial to be significant), war would not yield to study. In fact, much of warfare—including itsparadox—is very logical. In a sense, Luttwak’s argument proves that proposition and refutes itself.Van Creveld.Martin Van Creveld’sTheTransformation of Waris, according at least to the cover, “The mostradical reinterpretation of armed conflict since Clausewitz.” He represents a segment of modernscholars that believe Clausewitz no longer explains why, how, or by whom wars are fought. ToVan Creveld, war is no longer a rational political act conducted among states—if it ever was. Hepoints out that in 1991, warfare waged by non-state actors dominated conflict—rather than theorganized, political, inter-state warfare between great powers that the international communityseemed to expect (and Clausewitz seemed to predict). War is no longer fought by the entities we

Upload your study docs or become a

Course Hero member to access this document

Upload your study docs or become a

Course Hero member to access this document

End of preview. Want to read all 359 pages?

Upload your study docs or become a

Course Hero member to access this document

Term
Spring
Professor
professor_unknown
Tags

Newly uploaded documents

Show More

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture