The Relation of Diplomacy to War – Antoine-Henri Jomini

Synopsis:

The American military has long been bewitched operationally and strategically by Antoine-Henri Jomini’s formulaic approach to warfare. The universality of the Jominian consciousness is so well established other strategic schools usually operate beside it – or as a passing veneer above its perpetual architecture. Likewise, Jomini’s geopolitical and diplomatic wisdom is usually less pronounced – but does offer some strategic bull’s-eyes.

Excerpts:

“War is always to be conducted according to the great principles of the art; but great discretion must be exercised in the nature of the operations to be undertaken, which should depend upon the circumstances of the case.

“In an offensive movement, scrupulous care must be exercised not to arouse the jealousy of any other state which might come to the aid of the enemy. It is a part of the duty of a statesman to foresee this chance, and to obviate it by making proper explanations and giving proper guarantees to other states.

“…if the principles of strategy are always the same, it is different with the political part of war, which is modified by the tone of communities, by localities, and by the characters of men at the head of states and armies.

“All history teaches that no enemy is so insignificant as to be despised and neglected by any power, however formidable.

“The love of conquest, however, was not the only motive with Napoleon: his personal position, and his context with England, urged him to enterprises the aim of which was to make him supreme.

*All excerpts have been taken from The Art of War, BiblioBazaar.

Strategies of Deterrence and of Action: The Strategy Intellectuals – Russell F. Weigley

Synopsis:

The immediate post World War Two strategic landscape in the United States was dominated by the development of nuclear weapons, and their application. In his book on American strategic thought Russell Weigley includes a chapter on the ascendancy of the civilian national security establishment amid the primacy of the early nuclear age. As the Cold War progressed these civilian ‘strategy intellectuals’ would become influential on American strategic doctrine.

Excerpts:

“Choosing among weapons systems, however, necessarily required judgments among various possible strategies. Making choices among future weapons systems and strategies would necessarily also involve choices among forms of military organization. And choices involving strategy and organization would carry the analysis far into the realms of policy. The expanded form of operations analysis which began with the effort to analyze the uses of future as well as existing weapons came to be called ‘systems analysis.’

“As Kissinger saw it, the strategy of deterrence when expressed as the doctrine of massive retaliation was the strategy that really forswore the diplomatic and strategic initiative. It amounted to a renunciation of the use of force except to counter the most unambiguous forms of aggression, because the weapons to be employed were too horrendous to be fired in any less circumstances.

“The search for a new strategic doctrine must not be confused with the search for a better weapons technology and with technical answers to technical questions. To seek refuge in technology from hard problems of strategy and policy was already another dangerous American tendency, fostered by the pragmatic qualities of the American character and by the complexity of nuclear-age technology.

“More than Ridgway, Taylor renewed the argument that without adequate capacities for limited war, America not only would face defensive disadvantages but would be unable to seize initiatives, unable to secure positive advantages that must be won in the battle for a better world. Massive retaliation, General Taylor reiterated, ‘could offer our leaders only two choices, the initiation of general nuclear war or compromise and retreat.’ A strategy of flexible response, in contrast, ‘would recognize that it is just as necessary to deter or win quickly a limited war as to deter general war.

“Therefore Morgenstern recommended a new application of sea power: to use sea power to ensure an invulnerable capacity for nuclear retaliation against the enemy’s homeland. He recommended the acceleration and enlargement of the Polaris program, so that nuclear submarines in constant movement could serve to launch the American missile force…The endurance capacity of nuclear engines would minimize the dependence of both submarines and seaplanes on fixed bases; except for occasional refueling, their supplies could be replenished from ships themselves moving in random patterns.

*All excerpts have been taken from The American Way of War: A History of United States Military Strategy and Policy, Russell Weigley, Indiana University Press.