Monday, 19 March 2012 08:18

Carl Von Clausewitz: Men of Ideas

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Carl Von Clausewitz (1780-1831) was a Prussian military general who wrote the famous treatise on the military, On War (Vom Kriege). That book is considered unsurpassable in its understanding of military affairs: military strategy, military tactics and the politics of war.

Von Clausewitz was a professional soldier and served in many capacities while in the army. Indeed, for a while he served in foreign armies, the Russian army; he served as the military attaché in his country’s embassies abroad.

In addition to understanding military matters, planning and winning wars he also understood that militaries exist to serve non-military purposes.

Human beings are political creatures and are always struggling for power and control over other human begins and over their shared territory. Dominant men rule weaker men. War is an instrument of politics, not the other way around.

War is the continuation of politics by other means. War is a means politicians employ in implementing their designs on power, on ruling other people and or other nations.

War serves politics; politics does not serve war. War is a means to an end but is not the end itself.

Generals must understand the fact that war serves political ends and understand that they are the servants of politicians or whoever is employing the military as a means to attaining a political end.

Because of its clarity in understanding the nature of the military and war, Von Clausewitz’s book on war has remained a classic; it is read by most Western military officers; in fact, it is required reading for the officer class of the military. The idea is that military officers must understand why they are employed and what they are there to do. They are there to serve those with political objectives that only military action can achieve.

The book discussed most aspects of military life and war and leading men at war. There are several types of wars: guerrilla wars, commando raids and so on and these were discussed. The book is a veritable manual on most things about war and fighting wars and seems a necessary read for those interested in the art and science of war.


Von Clausewitz: On War. (There are many editions)

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: (907) 310-8176