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Clausewitz in the Twenty-First Century$
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Hew Strachan and Andreas Herberg-Rothe

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199232024

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199232024.001.0001

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Clausewitz and the Two Temptations of Modern Strategic Thinking

Clausewitz and the Two Temptations of Modern Strategic Thinking

(p.251) 14 Clausewitz and the Two Temptations of Modern Strategic Thinking
Clausewitz in the Twenty-First Century

Benoît Durieux

Oxford University Press

Clausewitz provides the framework required to analyze the strategic debate because he developed a theory about the theory of war. From this perspective, the different strategic doctrines and theories prevalent today illustrate two temptations which reflect two possible readings of Clausewitz regarding the most effective way to use military force. First, the temptation of ideal war consists of using extreme, instantaneous violence in relative isolation from the political context. Secondly, the temptation of non-violent war considers using limited violence for a longer time in complete continuity with the political environment. But these two temptations may be misleading. Clausewitzian theory provides interesting insights into how to understand their limits and to avoid their pitfalls.

Keywords:   strategic debate, war and politics, violence, non-violent war, military force

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