The Evolution of Strategic Thought Since September 11, 2001: A Swiss Perspective on Clausewitz, Classical, and Contemporary Theories
Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States
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Since 1991, a long list of scholars has sought to write off Clausewitz as outdated and no longer worth study. In light of the past fifteen years and the absence of a strategic victory in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, however, Clausewitzs early retirement is misguided, to say the least. Are the classical theories of Clausewitz on the nature of war-particularly concerning small wars and insurgencies-relevant to contemporary conflicts since September 11, 2001 This study is chiefly based on secondary sources, including books and scholarly articles originating from the work of scholars, political researchers, and think tanks. The research method is qualitative, and it compares, contrasts, summarizes, and critically assesses the adaptations of, and effects on, counterinsurgency policy, strategy, and doctrine in English-speaking nations and Europe.The study shows that the content of Clausewitzs On War must be understood in the political and strategic context of the 21st century and not that of the 19th century. Now is the time to put aside visceral reactions against Clausewitz and start to study his work with closer attention, especially at the junction of the military and the political.