Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"War and politics"


There are half educated people, the kind who read book review like they were books, who once saw a two page excerpt or summary of Clausewitz and who therefore think that saying that "war is an extension of politics by other means" proves that they are great scholars. They often get the point backwards and think that more politics can substitute for military methods when the "objective conditions" as those of the Left used to say would dictate otherwise. Partly the problem cam from the British who really were good enough to rule India with a few thousand soldiers and fewer civil servants. They made a virtue of having to "punch above their weight" and continued to attempt the practice even when it became inappropriate. If the Americans were occasionally to quick to reduce a problem to force the Europeans became to quick to reduce the option of force. This confusion of means and ends reached its logical conclusion with Obama putting military operations under international legal scrutiny and moving unlawful enemy combatants to civilian courts. The Pakistanis were just playing the game the British taught them.

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