AN ESSAY ON THE RELEVENCE OF CLAUSEWITZ’ THEORY ON UNDERSTANDING CONTEMPORARY WARS
The widespread recognition of Clausewitz’s relevance in understanding contemporary warfare can largely be credited with the modern, post cold-war translation by Howard and Paret. In understanding the text in its true context rather than with a cold-war fascination has allowed the contemporary student of war greater insight to understanding the ‘art of war’. Though the writings of Clausewitz remain more often quoted in isolation rather than read in complete, the astute student will understand Clausewitz’s fundamental intent for his script being to guide the military commander through his/her complete immersion in the study and comprehension of war to facilitate greater decision-making in action, rather than a tactical aid memoir for the conduct of a tactical battle.
This essay will demonstrate through understanding ‘On War’ theory, that the writings of Clausewitz remain relevant in understanding contemporary wars. The author will highlight by first exploring the importance of the political objective and secondly through understanding the applicability of the ‘trinity’ in today’s climate that relevance remains.
In understanding the importance of the political objective, one must first reconcile with the fact that war is not an isolated act, but rather an extension, or a means of achieving a policy. On War was written as a foundation document in describing the deliberate and essential linkages between state policy and the projection of such policy utilising warfare as an absolute method. Clausewitz writes that as an instrument of policy, a successful war will reflect the nature of policy and will be judged by its conduct both on and off the battlefield. His apt description that the sword in the hand of the soldier equates to the pen in the hand of the statesman highlights the importance that the actual conduct of war is as important as the political endstate itself....