Category Archives: Clausewitz

Wanted: Western Strategic Acumen

Ian Bremmer, writing in the A-List Blog of the Financial Times, takes a well-aimed shot at Western leaders who embarked on the ill-advised NATO campaign against Gaddafi’s Libya. Bremmer notes that NATO faces a quandary: either put NATO troops on the ground in order to turn the tide of the conflict; or, cut an ignominious (for NATO, at least) deal with Gaddafi. Bremmer, however, signs off his piece with the following admonition:

And so the stalemate will continue. Nato must now hope it gets lucky. In the mean time, its participants should reflect on the moral of this story for those western powers anxious to write its final chapter: a lack of international resistance can lead governments to start wars they don’t know how to win.
Bremmer is absolutely right, of course, and is channeling the Prussian master – Carl von Clausewitz – who warned the statesman and commander that:
… and:
Leaders in Britain, France, the United States, and, indeed, NATO, have singularly failed on both of these Clausewitzian criteria, leaving NATO credibility and solidarity dangerously exposed.
With the disgraceful political shenanigans of both sides over the U.S. debt ceiling threatening to drive already battered U.S. credibility off a cliff due to ideological intransigence (the more dogmatic the politician, the less seriously one should treat them); coupled with European wishful thinking and sclerotic politics throughout the West, one hopes that we shall hit bottom soon and that a renaissance in strategic thought is just around the corner.
I’ll keep on dreaming …

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Filed under Clausewitz, Ian Bremmer, Libya, Muamar Gaddafi, NATO, Strategy

Toward a Theory of Spacepower

Toward a Theory of Spacepower (NDU Press, 2011)

After several years of editorial limbo, the National Defense University (NDU) Press has finally published the volume of essays titled Toward a Theory of Spacepower: Selected Essays, edited by Charles D. Lutes and Peter L. Hays.

There are many fine essays in this volume, particularly by my esteemed SAASS colleague and friend Harold R. Winton, and others by Jon T. Sumida, Scott Pace, and John M. Collins. And, there is also an essay authored by Colin S. Gray and I titled “Theory Ascendant? Spacepower and the Challenge of Strategic Theory.”


Filed under Clausewitz, Publications, School of Advanced Air & Space Studies, Shameless Self-Promotion, Spacepower, Strategic Theory, Strategy

Sheldon in RUSI Journal: Britain and Spacepower

Shout it from the rooftops

The journal of the Royal United Services Institution for Defence Studies RUSI Journal – is publishing in its forthcoming December 2010 issue an article by me titled "The Strategic Rationale for Britain in Space: Issues, Opportunities and Challenges." Anyone interested can read it here: Download The Strategic Rationale for Britain in Space – RUSI Journal December 2010

I am told that the online publication of the December 2010 issue is imminent, and the hardcopy should hit the streets just before Christmas.

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Filed under Arms Control, British Foreign Policy, Clausewitz, Diplomacy, Economics, Publications, Shameless Self-Promotion, Spacepower, Strategy, U.K. Defense Policy