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February 22, 2011


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We can believe we are being self-reliant and independent, and yet there is still clearly an overarching destiny, a Great Maker.


Realist/Idealist (or is it Romantic versus Enlightened?) is the obvious comparison, but it is only one (or two) that comes out in regards to Napoleon and Clausewitz. For me what is more important is the distinction between the "subjective" and the "objective" or more clearly, between the art of war of a certain epoch and the general theory of war. Napoleon casts light on both. He was able to take the military instrument in his hands and perform early 19th Century operational magic, but also defined by his actions the role of the military genius for the general theory. The military genius being able to expand the realm of theory retrospectively . . .

Nice tie-in with Svechin. He is the Clausewitzian theorist of the first part of the 20th Century, pointing out that a strategy of annihilation required very specific political/military conditions to succeed . . .


That is what is so special about Napoleon, and why he continues to fascinate people two centuries later.

I like Svechin a lot, he needs to get more love outside of the Soviet studies community...


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