Sunday, October 16, 2022

Clausewitz, the UN Charter, and the Libertarian View on War

The ongoing war in Ukraine has given many Western analysts a reality check. Indeed, the realism of Carl von Clausewitz’s classic “On War” has come back in force. The Prussian military theorist famously wrote that : “War is nothing but a continuation of politics with the admixture of other means”. Though this observation may seem strange or even shocking to modern Western ears, it is the role war has mostly had throughout history.

Clausewitz served in the Russian army during the Napoleonic war of 1812 and his influence in Russia is felt to this day. Indeed, Russia’s approach to the war in Ukraine has the imprint of Clausewitz in the sense that it sees military action as a political instrument, along with other such instruments, such as diplomatic and economic ones.