Military history


Clausewitz was a regimental officer. That requires some explanation. A regiment is a unit of military force, typically a body of soldiers about a thousand strong. In eighteenth-century Europe, the regiment was an established feature of the military landscape and it survives intact into our own time; indeed, some existing regiments, notably in the British and Swedish armies, have continuous histories of some three centuries. Yet at its birth in the seventeenth century the regiment was not merely a new but a revolutionary constituent of European life. Its influence became as significant as that of autonomous bureaucracies and equitable fiscal authorities, and interwoven with them.

The regiment — semantically the word connects with the concept of government — was a device for securing the control of armed force to the state. The complex reasons for its emergence derived from a crisis which had developed two hundred years earlier in the relationship between European rulers and their providers of military service. Traditionally kings had depended for the raising of armies, when needed, upon landholders in the countryside, to whom local rights of subsistence and authority were devolved in return for their promise to bring armed men, in numbers proportionate to the grants of land held, and for a stated period, on demand. The system was in the last resort determined by the subsistence question: in primitive economies, where harvesting and distributing are constrained by difficulties of transport, armed men must be planted on the land, with rights over the harvest, if they are not to relapse into labouring status.

This feudal system was never neat, however — its varieties in place and over time defy categorisation — and rarely efficient. By the fifteenth century it had become very inefficient indeed. A condition approaching permanent warfare afflicted much of Europe, the result of both external threat and internal fractiousness, which the feudal armies could not suppress. Attempts to make armed forces more effective, by conceding greater independence to landholders in the worst-troubled areas or paying knights to serve under arms, only heightened the problem; the landholders declined to muster when called, built stronger castles, raised private armies, waged war in their own right — sometimes against the sovereigns. Kings had long supplemented feudal with mercenary force — when they could raise the money. In mid-fifteenth-century Europe, kings and the great landholders alike found their territory ravaged by mercenaries who had been called into service by offers of cash which had then dried up. Unpaid mercenaries became a scourge, sometimes as greatly feared as the intruders — Magyars, Saracens, Vikings — who had inaugurated the militarisation and castellation of Europe in the first place.

The problem was circular: to raise more soldiers as a means of restoring order was to risk adding to the number of marauders (écorcheurs as the French called them, scorchers of the earth); to shrink from restoring order was to condemn the tillers of the soil to rape and pillage. Ultimately a king of France, the country worst afflicted, took the plunge. Recognising that the écorcheurs had ‘become, despite themselves, military outcasts, yet hoping sooner or later to be recognised by the king or the great lords’, Charles VII ‘proceeded in 1445–6 not, as is sometimes said, to create a permanent army but to choose from the mass of available soldiers’ the best on offer.14 Mercenary companies with a uniform composition were formed and officially recognised as military servants of the monarchy, whose function would be to extirpate the rest.

The compagnies d’ordonnance, as Charles VII’s creations were called, were made up of infantrymen, whose social inferiority to the feudal cavalry put them at a military disadvantage, enhanced in turn by prevailing doubts about their physical ability to stand against cavalry on the battlefield. Some infantry, notably the populist Swiss, had already shown a capacity to do down mounted men with edged weapons alone; when effective handguns came into general use at the beginning of the sixteenth century, themoralpoint, as the military historian Sir Michael Howard has characterised it, was settled by technology for good.15 Thenceforward infantry consistently beat cavalry, which found itself marginalised on the battlefield, while continuing to insist on recognition of its ancient social standing. That social standing was, however, further and simultaneously undermined by the impact of gunpowder on the feudal cavalry chiefs’ strongholds. Battery by mobile artillery, a new weapon first effectively deployed by Charles VII’s successor, Charles VIII, spelt an end to the defiance of royal authority by lords with strong castles. The process began in the 1490s; by the early 1600s their descendants were pleased to accept colonelcies of infantry by royal favour.

Such colonelcies were attached to the ‘regiment’ — or command — of a collection of companies, the company itself having been proved by experience to be too small either to count on the battlefield or to attract, unless it were to a company of royal guards, a man of standing as commander. Thus regimental colonels in most European armies were also proprietors, as were the chiefs of the mercenary units that continued to exist side by side with the new royal regiments well into the eighteenth century. Proprietors were paid a lump sum from the royal treasury, spent it as they chose on pay and uniforms, and usually sold the subordinate offices, captaincies and lieutenancies, to supplement their incomes; ‘purchase’ of commissions persisted in the British army until 1871.

These new regiments rapidly acquired a character different from that of the mercenary bands of late feudalism and the Wars of Religion, which had usually disbanded when funds dried up (unless, as happened to numbers of Italian city states, the hirelings took control of government). They became permanent royal — eventually national — institutions, often acquiring a fixed headquarters in a provincial city, recruiting in the surrounding area and drawing their officers from a coterie of associated aristocratic families. The Prussian 34th Infantry Regiment, which Clausewitz joined in 1792, at the age of eleven, was just such a regiment. Founded in 1720 and garrisoned at the Brandenburg town of Neuruppin, forty miles from Berlin, it had a royal prince as colonel; its officers were drawn from Prussia’s minor nobility, while the soldiers — conscripted for an indefinite term from the poorest in society — formed, with their wives, children and invalid comrades, more than half the town’s population.

A hundred years later, the whole of Europe would be dotted with such garrison towns, some giving a home to several regiments. At their worst such regiments resembled that of Anna Karenina’s lover, Vronsky, which Tolstoy depicts as a dandies’ club, officered by idlers and swells who cared more for their horses than their men.16 At their best, however, such regiments became ‘schools of the nation’, which encouraged temperance, physical fitness and proficiency in the three Rs. Clausewitz’s regiment was a forerunner of the latter sort. Its commander set up regimental schools to educate the young officers, to teach the soldiers to read and write and to train their wives in spinning and lace-making.

Such ‘improving’ regiments were a source of deep pride to their colonels, not least because they seemed models of social perfection, an idea deeply attractive to men of the Enlightenment. Though the soldiers were virtually enslaved, and effectively imprisoned in the garrison towns lest they desert, they made en masse a splendid spectacle, seemingly drawn from a species different from the brutish villagers who populated the countryside; and long service did eventually inure them to their lot. There are pathetic descriptions of Prussian veterans, too old and infirm to take the field, hobbling after their regiments as they departed on campaign, since they knew no other life but that of the ranks. Colonels who had formed such soldiers, even if by the drill book and the lash, may well have convinced themselves that they were instruments of social virtue. If they did so, however, they deluded themselves, for the paradoxical reason that the regiments succeeded all too well on their own terms. They had been founded to isolate society’s disruptive elements for society’s good, though that had been forgotten. They ended by isolating themselves from society altogether, differentiated by their own rules, rituals and disciplines.

The social failure of the Prussian army was unlikely to have troubled the young Clausewitz had it not also condemned the Prussian state to military catastrophe. Within a year of joining the army Clausewitz was pitched into battle against French soldiers animated by motives entirely different from those of the ex-serfs he was commanding. The armies of the French Revolution were bombarded by propaganda about the equality of Frenchmen as citizens of the Republic and about the duty of all citizens to bear arms. Their wars with Europe’s surviving monarchical armies were characterised as struggles to overthrow the aristocratic order wherever it was found, not only so that the Revolution might be defended at home but so that its liberating principles might be implanted wherever men were still unfree. For whatever reason — the subject is extremely complex — the Revolutionary armies proved almost impossible to beat, and their military dynamism persisted even after the good republican General Bonaparte had made himself the Emperor Napoleon.

In 1806 Napoleon turned his attention to Prussia and overthrew its army in a few whirlwind weeks. Clausewitz found himself a prisoner on French soil and, when allowed to return home, an officer of a skeleton army that existed only by French tolerance. For a few years he conspired with his seniors, Generals Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, in a plot to flesh out the army under Napoleon’s nose, but in 1812 he rebelled against gradualism and took the path of the ‘double patriot’. ‘Double patriotism’ impelled him to disobey his king’s orders to serve under Napoleon in the invasion of Russia and instead to join the tsar’s army in the cause of Prussian freedom. As a tsarist officer he fought at Borodino and, still in Russian uniform, returned to Prussia to fight in its War of Liberation in 1813. ‘Double patriotism’, incidentally, was to be the code of the ultra-nationalist Japanese officers who disobeyed the moderate policies of the Emperor’s government before the Second World War in order, as they saw it, to obey the Emperor’s true interests.

Only patriotic desperation could have driven Clausewitz to such a subversive course; having chosen that path he was thereby energised to embark on a career of intellectual subversion that had a worldwide effect. The disaster of 1806 had profoundly shaken his belief in the Prussian state; it had not, however, undermined his belief in the values of the regimental culture in which he had been raised. He had, indeed, no way of thinking of war except as a calling in which the soldier, by his conduct, and particularly the officer, defied nature. Nature argued for flight, for cowardice, for self-interest; nature made for Cossacking, whereby a man fought if he chose and not otherwise, and might turn to commerce on the battlefield if that suited his ends — this was ‘real war’ at its worst. The best-observed ideals of regimental culture, however — total obedience, single-minded courage, self-sacrifice, honour — most nearly approached that ‘true war’ which Clausewitz convinced himself a professional soldier should make his end.

As Michael Howard has pointed out, the distinction between ‘real war’ and ‘true war’ was not original to Clausewitz.17 It was ‘in the air’ in the early nineteenth-century Prussian army, not least because it accorded with the idealist philosophy that pervaded Prussia’s universities and cultural life. Clausewitz had no formal philosophical training; ‘rather, he was a typical representative of his generation, who attended lectures on logic and ethics designed for the general public, read relevant nonprofessional books and articles, and drew scraps of ideas at second and third hand from the cultural environment.’18 The cultural environment was conducive to a military theory founded on a dialectic between true and real war; it further afforded Clausewitz the language, the arguments and the mode of presentation best calculated to commend his theory to his contemporaries.

Clausewitz was in a dilemma after he returned to Prussia in Russian uniform in 1813. His career was blighted, yet he remained a fervent Prussian nationalist. He wished to design for his country’s army a theory of war that would ensure it victory in the future, yet his country showed no inclination to undergo the sort of internal change that had made France invincible during the Revolution. Clausewitz did not himself desire that it should; he despised the French, thought them inferior in national qualities to his own people — sly and glib where Prussians were truthful and noble — and remained too rooted in his monarchical and regimental upbringing to want revolutionary ideals transplanted to his kingdom. His rational powers told him, none the less, that it was the revolutionary fervour of the French armies that had brought them victory. In France during the Revolution, politics had been everything; in Prussia politics had been and very largely remained even after Napoleon’s defeat nothing but the whim of the king. The dilemma was therefore: how might one have the forms of warfare practised by the armies of the French Republic and Napoleon without the politics of revolution? How might one have popular warfare without a popular state? Could he but find the language to persuade the Prussian army that warfare was indeed a form of political activity, that the more nearly it could approximate to ‘true war’ the better it served a state’s political ends, and that any gap remaining between ‘true war’ and the imperfect form of ‘real war’ should be recognised simply as the deference that strategy paid to political necessity, then the Prussian soldier could be safely left in a state of political innocence, with the difference that he would thenceforward fight as if the fire of politics flowed in his veins.

Clausewitz’s solution to his military dilemma approximates closely, in a sense, to the solution that Marx found to his political dilemma only a few years afterward. Both were raised in the same cultural environment of German idealism, though Marx had had the formal philosophical training that Clausewitz had not, and it is extremely significant that Clausewitz has always stood high in the favour of Marxist intellectuals, Lenin foremost among them. The reason is easy to see. Reductivism is the essence of Marxist methodology, and Clausewitz argued by reduction that in war the worse the better, because the worse is nearer to ‘true’ rather than ‘real’ war. Marx also was to argue that the worse the better, the worse in politics being the culmination of the class struggle, revolution, which overthrows the hollow world of ‘real’ politics and ushers in the ‘true’ society of proletarian victory.

The motives that impelled Marx to argue as he did were not the same as those that animated Clausewitz. He was the bolder spirit; while Clausewitz clung to the role of insider, hoped — vainly — to be appointed ambassador to London or chief of the general staff, and gladly accepted promotions and decorations, Marx revelled in the role of outsider.19 Exile, poverty, execration by the Prussian state were grist to his mill. Life on the outside strengthened his hand, while Clausewitz believed that only by remaining inside the system could he change it. Yet, intellectually, more united than divided the two men, for both had to overcome a similar philosophical difficulty, that of persuading a chosen audience to a point of view to which it was highly resistant. Marx was an apostle of revolution to a society whose progressive elements were profoundly disillusioned by revolution, who remembered that the French Revolution and the 1830 revolution had failed, who were to see the 1848 revolution fail, and who were oppressed on all sides by the power of the monarchical or bourgeois state. Clausewitz was the apostle of a revolutionary philosophy of warmaking, which sought to depict war as a political activity to a caste that held politics to be anathema. Both eventually found a means to overcome the intellectual resistance of the audience each sought to convert. Marx conceived a set of what he considered scientific historical laws which laid down for progressives not merely the hope but the certainty, the inevitability, of the proletariat’s victory. Clausewitz conceived a theory which elevated the regimental officer’s values — total dedication to duty, even to dying in the cannon’s mouth — to the status of a political creed, thereby absolving him from deeper political reflection.

On War and Kapital, different as they are in subject matter, may therefore be seen ultimately as two books of a kind. Clausewitz no doubt hoped that On War would achieve the same status as Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, that supreme work of the Enlightenment mind; he may indeed have thought that, like Smith, he had done no more than to observe, describe and categorise the phenomena before his eyes. Marx, too, did much describing, much of it accurate. Drawing on Adam Smith’s brilliant identification of industry’s division of labour, he went on to characterise the emotion such division engenders as ‘alienation’; so that where Smith saw in the processes of pre-mechanical pinmaking — when one man drew the wire, another cut it to length, a third pointed the shaft, a fourth forged the head — only the miraculous working of the ‘unseen hand’ that directed a market economy, Marx had the inspiration to diagnose that the desperation such work implants in a thinking and feeling man’s breast would lead to what he called ‘class war’. Marx drew the conclusion that the processes of mass production in an economic system where the worker did not own the means of production made revolution inevitable; and he was right enough in his observation for industrialists in our own times to persist in the search for means to make the process worker’s lot tolerable, even meaningful. Clausewitz, too, began with description. He took military uniforms, songs and drill for granted, and went on from that starting-point to argue that the soldier’s alienation (though he did not use the term) from his lot — hardship, wounds, death — was destined to lead armies to defeat and collapse, the military equivalent of revolution, if they could not be convinced that the terrible experience of ‘true war’ better served their state than the easier obligation of ‘real war’, with which all men-at-arms were familiar.

Just as common sense tells us that protracted class war is intolerable to any society in which it persists, and that revolution causes ills beside which those of class war appear trivial, common sense also warns that ‘true war’ may prove worse than flesh and blood can bear. Of course, Clausewitz, as a thinker, never expected that the gap between ‘real war’ and ‘true war’ could be closed altogether. Indeed, the strength of his appeal to intellectuals, particularly Marxist intellectuals, has always lain in the delicacy of his emphasis on the intangible factors — chance, misunderstanding, incapacity, incompetence, political change of mind, failure of will or collapse of consensus — that make ‘real war’ rather than ‘true war’ the more likely form any actual war will take. ‘True war’ is indeed unbearable.

And yet, despite the room for escape from the harshness of ‘true war’ that Clausewitz allowed, the paradox was that On War succeeded beyond what may have been his wildest expectations. He died a disappointed man in 1831, a victim of the last great European cholera pandemic, unpromoted and largely unhonoured in his own country; the text of On War saw the light of day only through the editorship of his devoted widow. Marx also died a disappointed man, twelve years after the defeat of the Paris commune of 1871, which appeared to spell finis to his confident prediction that revolution was the inevitable outcome of the oppression of Europe’s proletariat by Europe’s bourgeoisie. Yet, only thirty-four years later, in a country so backward that Marx dismissed its suitability as a revolutionary seedbed, revolution not merely took root but flowered into the first dictatorship of the proletariat. That was at the height of a great war among the bourgeois states, a war without which the circumstances of the Russian Revolution would not have been created. The terrible nature of that war, not the terrible nature of industrial capitalism, exerted the push to revolution in Russia, and the war’s terrible nature was, as much as anything else, the belated outcome of Clausewitz’s literary insistence that armies must strive to make ‘real war’ and ‘true war’ the same thing.

On War had proved a book of long-delayed effect. Not until forty years after its publication in 1832–5 did it become widely known, and then in a roundabout way. Helmuth von Moltke, chief of the Prussian general staff, had apparently magical gifts of generalship which had toppled the power of the Austrian and then the French empires in campaigns of a few weeks in 1871. The world wanted to know his secret, of course, and when Moltke revealed that, beside the Bible and Homer, the book that had most influenced him was On War, Clausewitz’s posthumous fame was assured.20 That Moltke had been a student at Prussia’s war college when Clausewitz was its director was overlooked and in any case irrelevant; the world seized on the book itself, read it, translated it, often misunderstood it, but thereafter believed that it contained the essence of successful warmaking.

On War’s onward march derived much of its force from its apparent validation by much that had happened in warfare since its composition. The most important of these developments was the spread of that regimentalism in which Clausewitz had been raised. ‘The business of war’, he laid down, in one of those characteristic modifications of his central idea of war as a political act, ‘will always be individual and distinct. Consequently, for as long as they practise this activity, soldiers will think of themselves as members of a kind of guild, in whose regulations, laws and customs the spirit of war is given pride of place.’ That ‘kind of guild’ was, of course, the regiment, whose spirit and values he then proceeded to categorise:

An army that maintains its cohesion under the most murderous fire; that cannot be shaken by imaginary fears and resists well-found ones with all its might; that, proud of its victories, will not lose the strength to obey orders and its respect and trust for its officers even in defeat; whose physical power, like the muscles of an athlete, has been steeled by training in privation and effort … that is mindful of all these duties and qualities by virtue of the single powerful idea of the honour of its arms — such an army is imbued with the true military spirit.21

For ‘army’ read ‘regiments’, its constituent parts. Prussia in the nineteenth century was positively swamped by regiments; in 1831 there had been only forty of them, but by 1871 there were more than a hundred, not counting rifle battalions or cavalry. Every fit Prussian was a member of a regiment, or had been in his hot youth, and all understood the ‘single powerful idea of the honour of its arms’.

That ‘single powerful idea’ brought Prussian arms victory in wars against Austria and France, and immediately sent officers in other nations scurrying to raise regiments on the Prussian model, recruited from the best of a nation’s young men and supported by droves of older reservists who looked back on their conscript days as the rite de passage which ushered them from boyhood to manhood. This rite de passage became an important cultural form in European life, an experience common to almost all young European males and, through its universality, its ready acceptance by electorates as a social norm and its inescapable militarisation of society, a further validation of Clausewitz’s dictum that war was a continuation of political activity. If peoples voted for conscription or acquiesced in conscription laws, how could it be denied that war and politics indeed belonged together on the same continuum?

And yet, the God of War is not mocked. When in 1914 the conscript regiments of Europe marched off to war, dragging their tails of reservists behind them, the war that embroiled them was worse by far than anything for which the citizens had bargained. In the First World War ‘real war’ and ‘true war’ rapidly became indistinguishable; the moderating influences which Clausewitz, as a dispassionate observer of military phenomena, had declared always operated to bring a war’s potential nature and actual purpose into adjustment dwindled into invisibility; Germans, French, British and Russians found themselves apparently fighting war for war’s sake. The war’s political objects — difficult enough to define in the first place — were forgotten, political restraints were overwhelmed, politicians who appealed to reason were execrated, politics even in the liberal democracies was rapidly reduced to a mere justification of bigger battles, longer casualty lists, costlier budgets, overflowing human misery.

Politics played no part in the conduct of the First World War worth mentioning. The First World War was, on the contrary, an extraordinary, a monstrous cultural aberration, the outcome of an unwitting decision by Europeans in the century of Clausewitz — which began with his return from Russia in 1813 and ended in 1913, the last year of the long European peace — to turn Europe into a warrior society. Clausewitz was not the architect of that cultural decision, any more than Marx was the architect of the revolutionary impulse which perverted liberalism during the same period, but each bears weighty responsibility. Their great books, purporting to be works of science, were in fact heady works of ideology, laying down a vision of the world not as it actually was but as it might be.

The purpose of war, Clausewitz said, was to serve a political end; the nature of war, he succeeded in arguing, was to serve only itself. By conclusion, his logic therefore ran, those who make war an end in itself are likely to be more successful than those who seek to moderate its character for political purposes. The peace of the most peaceful century in European history was held ransom to this subversive idea, which bubbled and seethed like the flux of an active volcano beneath the surface of progress and prosperity. The wealth generated by the century paid, on a scale never before witnessed, for the works of real peace — schools, universities, hospitals, roads, bridges, new cities, new workplaces, the infrastructure of a vast and benevolent continental economy. It also generated, through taxes, improved public health, higher birth rates, and a new and ingenious military technology, the wherewithal to fight true war, through the creation of the strongest warrior society the world had ever known. When in 1818 Clausewitz began the manuscript of On War, Europe was a continent disarmed. The Grand Army of Napoleon had melted away after his exile to St Helena, and those of his enemies had dwindled proportionately. Large-scale conscription had effectively been abolished everywhere, the arms industry had collapsed, generals were pensioners, veterans begged in the streets. Ninety-six years later, on the eve of the First World War, almost every fit European male of military age had a soldier’s identity card among his personal papers, telling him where to report for duty in the event of general mobilisation. The regimental depots bulged with spare weapons and uniforms to kit the reservists out; even the horses in the farmers’ fields were docketed for requisition should war come.

At the beginning of July 1914 there were some four million Europeans actually in uniform; at the end of August there were twenty million, and many tens of thousands had already been killed. The submerged warrior society had sprung armed through the surface of the peaceful landscape and the warriors were to wage war until, four years later, they could wage it no more. And although this catastrophic outcome must not be laid at the door of Clausewitz’s study, we are nevertheless right to see Clausewitz as the ideological father of the First World War, just as we are right to perceive Marx as the ideological father of the Russian Revolution. The ideology of ‘true war’ was the ideology of the First World War’s armies; and the appalling fate that those armies brought upon themselves by their dedication to it may be Clausewitz’s enduring legacy.

Yet Clausewitz was not merely an ideologist but also a historian, to whose hand there lay available much else besides his own experience as a regimental officer in a monarchical army and its peremptory treatment by the soldier-citizens of revolutionary France. Reflecting at the end of the 1820s on the whirlwind events of his youth, he ascribed them to

the people’s new share in the great affairs of state; their participation, in turn, resulted partly from the impact that the Revolution had on the internal conditions of every state and partly on the danger that France posed to everyone. Will this always be the case in the future? From now on will every war in Europe be waged with the full resources of the state, and therefore have to be fought only over major issues that affect the people? Or shall we again see a gradual separation taking place between government and people? Such questions are difficult to answer …22

Good historian though he was, Clausewitz allowed the two institutions — state and regiment — that circumscribed his own perception of the world to dominate his thinking so narrowly that he denied himself the room to observe how different war might be in societies where both state and regiment were alien concepts. That was not a mistake Moltke would make. He espoused the ideology of Clausewitz for purely utilitarian ends, knowing that war in the further corners of the earth — in Egypt and Turkey, for example, where he had soldiered in the service of the Sultan — could take forms utterly strange to his ideological master, and yet appropriate enough to, indeed indivisible from, the nature of the societies that practised them.

In the first form, theocratic inhibitions on the waging of war were eventually overwhelmed by material necessity. This becomes apparent in the mysterious history of Easter Island. In the second, where warriordom assumed an extreme form in the Zulu kingdom, it was ambient social chaos that transformed the comparative benevolence of a primitive pastoral society. In the third, that of Mameluke Egypt, religious prohibitions on members of the same creed waging war on each other gave rise to the strange institution of military slavery. In the fourth, samurai Japan, an available improvement in the technical means of waging war was outlawed in the interests of preserving the existing social structure. Much of this history was, of course, closed to Clausewitz. Even if it was theoretically possible for him to have read something of the institutions of the Polynesian Easter Islanders and of samurai Japan from the literature of voyagers to the Pacific which aroused widespread interest in eighteenth-century Europe, he could have known nothing of the Zulus, whose rise to dominance in southern Africa was only beginning at the time of his death. Of the Mamelukes, nevertheless, he should have known a good deal, if only because they were among the most celebrated subjects of the Ottoman Turks whose empire, even in Clausewitz’s lifetime, remained a major military factor in the international politics of Europe. He would certainly have known of the Ottomans’ personal military slaves, the Janissaries, whose existence testified to the paramountcy of religion, rather than politics, in Turkish public life. His decision to ignore Ottoman military institutions flawed the integrity of his theory at its roots. To look beyond military slavery into the even stranger military cultures of the Polynesians, the Zulus and the samurai, whose forms of warfare defied altogether the rationality of politics as it is understood by Westerners, is to perceive how incomplete, parochial and ultimately misleading is the idea that war is the continuation of politics.

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