[Previous Section] [Table of Contents] [Next Section]
Clausewitz Condensed

Political Leaders are Paramount

Because "policy is the guiding intelligence and war only the instrument," Clausewitz argues that no "other possibility exists, then than to subordinate the military point of view to the political." (607)

" ...[T]he assertion that a major military development, or the plan for one, should be a matter for purely military opinion is unacceptable and can be damaging. Nor indeed is it sensible to summon soldiers, as many governments do when they are planning a war, and ask them for purely military advice." (607)

In fact, Clausewitz writes, "No major proposal required for war can be worked out in ignorance of political factors...." (608) Moreover, the political purpose, and hence the political leadership, must determine the intensity and length of any conflict:

" Since war is not an act of senseless passion but is controlled by its political object, the value of this purpose must determine the sacrifices to be made for it in magnitude and also in duration. Once the expenditure of effort exceeds the value of the political object, the object must be renounced and peace must follow." (92)