Having promised Lauren that I would find some way to work this glorious YouTube video into a post, I will now do so.
Observe this helpless and terrified cat, trapped on a Roomba vacuum careening around a kitchen. This cat definitely is not going to get a cheezburger, no matter how many times it asks. Matter of fact, I'm not quite sure how it will get off the Roomba that it has been precariously perched on.
This is the vision of strategy that sometimes is offered as a criticism of Clausewitzian views of strategy--e.g. in practice strategy is as confused and irrational as a cute cat trapped on a Roomba moving around a kitchen while gangsta rap plays in the background. Eliot Cohen dubs this view "strategic nihilism." Such a view, Cohen observes, denies the purposefulness of war and substitutes rampaging warriors for professional soldiers.
Cohen critiques this view, advanced mainly by Russell F. Weigley and John Keegan, as short-sighted. Beyond A Clockwork Orange-style gang violence, large-scale conflict is rarely simply waged for war's sake. As Clausewitz observed, wars have political (in the full sense of the word) origins and are organized and limited by political, moral, and material factors. While debate continues about the form and process of strategy, it is certainly possible for strategies to be created.
Now will somebody please get that poor cat off the Roomba and hand it a cheezburger?