Profound Theories and the Relevance to Modern Warfare and Strategy
October 31, 2010
Clausewitz has been referred to by many as a true visionary in regards to strategy and warfare. One of Clausewitz’s goals was to create some sort of sound theory that would not only be relevant to the current time period, but would also be a source of reference for years to come. Though Clausewitz’s succeeded in providing an overarching concept of warfare and strategy, many feel that his ideas are no longer as relevant in regards to current engagements as they have in the past.
Clausewitz had this idea of the “dual nature of war”. Clausewitz felt the two main elements of war were absolute war and limited war. These two concepts could also be likened to total and real war respectively. Absolute war was considered to be the limitless form of war in which there was no external influence. War was “an act of force, and there is no logical limit to the application of that force.”1 Clausewitz concluded that if there were no limitations between two battling adversaries, the adversaries would continue to attempt to overcome the conflict by adding more and more force. Eventually the two would reach a point where hatred for one another would grow to such an extent that they would lose the initial focus of why they were fighting in the first place. The outcome would be the complete annihilation of one of the opposing forces thus resulting in absolute or total war. Clausewitz felt that it was very difficult to actually reach that point. Clausewitz felt that there were constant “imponderables” that would serve as limiting factors that would keep wars from escalating to such an extent. These wars were considered to be limited wars. To further expound on these limitations, Clausewitz went in depth on how politics played a role in how the military was used. Clausewitz stated that “war is merely the continuation of policy by other means.”2...
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