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August 06, 2010



Thank you for this Adam.

I agree with what you have posted, but would like to make a few comments to clarify. I've corrected the typo on my original post btw.

First, Clausewitz's "concept of war" is what a growing body of Clausewitzians describe as "the general theory of war". Both Andreas Herberg Rothe and myself (to a far lesser degree) have been talking about this type of Clausewitzian theory for some time (I think it probably goes back to what Rosinski was writing/talking about in the 1920-40s). The general theory would encompass all wars whereas each specific period of time would have its own "art of war" covering that particular period of political/social development. "On War" is a mixture of both (and other types of theory). I link this with the Clausewitzian concept of "cohesion".

Following Thomas Schelling, whom I´m of course sure you are aware and whose approach is distinctly Clausewitzian imo, there is a distinction between the direct use of force and coercion, coercion being the far more nuanced use of the military instrument.

I just received Andrew Bacevich's new book in the mail and will be very interested to see if the assumptions I made in my post hold up . . .


Like you I also am dubious about the idea of the "End of Military History," and I also don't really think there such a thing as a "Western" or "Islamic" way of war.

I'm aware of the General Theory as well, but it would have made this post a bit too big for the time in which I wrote it (like my hero Fuller, it was literally at a bar with a band playing in the background).

Schelling is a very underrated theorist today. Maybe that'd be grist for a new post.


JFC Fuller?

I look forward to reading your post on Schelling . . .


Fuller said he wrote "The Reformation of War" in a dozen hotel bars, with a dozen jazz bands playing in the background. I try to do the same with my blog posts and essays. Tends to liberate your creativity.

There was a lot Fuller was wrong about, but he's undoubtedly one of the most interesting strategic theorists of his time. That's why I strive to emulate his eclectic nature of inquiry when I read and write about defense issues. If he were alive today, he'd probably be a fan of giant robot anime too...

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