Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, and the Importance of Knowing Yourself and the Enemy
NATIONAL WAR COLL WASHINGTON DC
Pagination or Media Count:
Sun Tzu said Know the enemy and know yourself in a hundred battles you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril. This deceptively simple instruction, properly applied, is at the essence both of making a sound decision to go to war and of strategic and tactical planning once that decision has been made. Clausewitz further developed this instruction. The purpose of this essay is to apply Sun Tzus instruction, drawing on similar principles as articulated by Clausewitz, to determine what, in the modern era, knowing oneself and ones enemy requires at the national strategy, national military, and operational levels. The author will then demonstrate that in Vietnam and Somalia, the United States let itself get into situations where it knew neither itself nor the enemy, while in Desert Storm, the United States succeeded because it knew both. Finally, the essay will assess at which level knowledge of oneself and ones enemy is most important.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics