In a world with a plethora of opinions, ideas, and philosophies, disagreement is bound to happen. When this occurs, wars, battles, and bloodshed ensue. It is a part of life most of us wish to ignore, but especially with the United State’s current condition, this wish to believe war is nonexistent is simply an impossible fantasy. Looking at military tactics and views of today one can’t describe the current state without glancing at history first. Past philosophers, theorists, idealists have all been responsible for having an immense affect on today’s military leaders. By learning from the earlier ideas of military philosophy, the decisions made in today’s chaotic warfare are strengthened. General Carl von Clausewitz is such a past military enthusiast that contributed to the ideals of the present.
Carl von Clausewitz was born in 1780 at Burg. He eventually entered the Prussian Army in 1792. While he had a successful military and writing career, Clausewitz’s fame rests most heavily upon the three volumes of On War, which was not published until after his death,(Graham). In this work, Clausewitz organizes military ideas, theories, and lays the foundation of warfare we see today. The points that I will elaborate on and relate to the current War on Terror from On War are Clausewitz’s “trinity”, “fog”, and “friction”.
War is an ever-changing phenomenon made up a balanced trinity. The components that make up this “remarkable trinity” Clausewitz refers to are “primordial violence, hatred, and enmity”, “the play of chance and probability”, and “the element of subordination” to reasoning,(Clausewitz). Basically it is the combination of irrational forces like hatred, non-rational forces that affect intent but are not the product, and rationality. With this trinity, Clausewitz connects each of these forces to one of three sets of roles: the people, the army, and the government,(Clausewitz). The people are paired with irrational forces. They can hate, hurt, and be violent. When a war occurs civilians and military leaders have to care about a war and it’s intent, because if they don’t then why should a nation’s powerful decision makers? The army and military forces in general are linked with the non-rational forces. Fighting with different leaders requires different ideas and talents. These qualities that military leaders hold can affect the outcome of a war. Finally the government is paired with the rational force of calculation and reasoning. This is only strengthened with the argument that “war is an instrument of policy,”(Clausewitz). It is with the government’s intentions that war is even fought at all. All three of these forces interact with each other and must find a balance for a success of a war.
Looking back into history, one can find the “trinity” working into collaboration with Serbia and the Bosnian War. The break-up of Yugoslavia was motivated by politicians to find a new basis of legitimacy for their continuance in power, the government and...