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Clausewitz's PuzzleThe Political Theory of War$
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Andreas Herberg-Rothe

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199202690

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199202690.001.0001

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The Formula: Politics in War

The Formula: Politics in War

(p.139) 6 The Formula: Politics in War
Clausewitz's Puzzle

Andreas Herberg‐Rothe

Oxford University Press

The problem with Clausewitz's world-renowned formula depends on an internal tension within his concept of policy/politics. This tension invalidates neither his formula nor his theory, but it has to be unfolded in order that the formula could serve as an analytical tool. Otherwise, the formula would become a dogma. Clausewitz emphasized this fundamental tension only indirectly by saying that war is the continuation of policy, but with ‘other means’. Peter Paret has clearly revealed this tension by declaring: ‘The readiness to fight and the readiness to compromise lie at the core of politics’. By following up this tension in Clausewitz's work, this chapter introduces a ‘small’ change in the understanding of what Clausewitz endorses with a ‘state’: nothing else than any kind of community. By taking this ‘small’ change into account, it argues that Clausewitz's trinity enables a general theory of war.

Keywords:   politics, policy, formula, other means, fight, compromise, logic of war, grammar of war, concept of state, warring community

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