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JAMES HASIK www.jameshasik.com
 Version 1.0 • 13 November 2008
Resisting Coercion
The ClausewitzianTrinity and the Securit...
Just a few pages into his treatise Vom Krieg, Clausewitz introduces his concept of the trinity of war, the
three forces of...
of which are necessary for resistance.The belligerent can overthrow his enemy’s military forces to get at
the state they p...
synchronization of telecommunications networks.This is shown by the dashing and reddening of the lines
in the upper right ...
malfeasance, generally restricted his attacks to whatever single country he chose to make war upon at
any given time.
Limi...
emotionally, if not quite an exciting or compelling one.
Amongst firms specializing in aerospace per se, a concentration on...
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Wunderliche Dreifaltigkeit

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Just a few pages into his treatise Vom Krieg, Clausewitz thus introduces his concept of the trinity of war—ein Wunderliche Dreifaltigkeit—the three forces of enmity, chance, and will, that through their interplay govern, like valkyries-cum-muses, the outcome of armed conflict. The Clausewitzian trinity holds great explanatory power through today as a construct in analyzing warfare. Indeed, it is particularly useful in considering indirect methods employed by both state and non-state actors against what we call the global commons, the assets on which people across the world depend for their common but different livelihoods, and which are most cost-effectively defended in common.

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Wunderliche Dreifaltigkeit

  1. 1. JAMES HASIK www.jameshasik.com Version 1.0 • 13 November 2008 Resisting Coercion The ClausewitzianTrinity and the Security of the Commons BOOK ONE: ON THE NATURE OF WAR CHAPTER ONE: WHAT IS WAR? SECTION 28: THE CONSEQUENCES FOR THEORY War is more than a true chameleon that slightly adapts its characteristics to the given case.As a total phenomenon, its dominant tendencies always make war a paradoxical trinity [einWunderliche Dreifaltigkeit] — composed of primordial violence, hatred, and enmity, which are to be regarded as a blind natural force; of the play of chance and probability within which the creative spirit is free to roam; and of its element of subordination, as an instrument of policy, which makes it subject to reason alone. The first of these three aspects mainly concerns the people; the second the commander and his army; the third the government.The passions that are to be kindled in war must already be inherent in the people; the scope which the play of courage and talent will enjoy in the realm of probability and chance depends on the particular character of the commander and the army; but the political aims are the business of government alone. These three tendencies are like three different codes of law, deep-rooted in their subject and yet variable in their relationship to one another.A theory which ignores any one of them or seeks to fix an arbitrary relationship between them would conflict with reality to such an extent that for this reason alone it would be totally useless. Our task therefore is to develop a theory that maintains a balance between these three tendencies, like an object suspended between three magnets. — Carl von Clausewitz, OnWar, Michael Howard and Peter Paret, translators, (Princeton University Press, 1976), p. 891 1 Howard and Paret translate Wunderliche as paradoxical, but others have translated the word in this context as fascinating or simply wonderful.
  2. 2. Just a few pages into his treatise Vom Krieg, Clausewitz introduces his concept of the trinity of war, the three forces of enmity, chance, and will, that through their interplay govern, like valkyries-cum-muses, the outcome of armed conflict.The Clausewitzian trinity holds great explanatory power through today as a construct in analyzing warfare. Indeed, it is particularly useful in considering indirect methods employed by both state and non-state actors against what we call the global commons, the assets on which people across the world depend for their common but different livelihoods, and which are most cost-effectively defended in common. Recent criticism of Clausewitz as inapplicable to intrastate warfare or conflict with transnational groups is based first on a fundamental misreading of the nature of the trinity.2 The trinity consists not of the people, the army, and the state; but rather, enmity, chance, and will.The elements concerned with these aspects may change somewhat from belligerent to belligerent, whether state or non-state actors, but they remain present. The diagram below visually describes an international community of three or more countries by the elements of the people, the army (the entirety of the military forces, actually), and the state. People conduct commerce and share culture across borders, generally artificial constructs which chiefly serve to slow or restrict that process.The links are shown as heavy green bidirectional arrows; the frontiers as dashed grey ones. States interact internationally through diplomacy; these links are shown as thinner blue arrows (in an open society, the objectives of diplomacy must ultimately be subordinate to the commercial and cultural affairs of people). Military forces separately interact amongst themselves, though in a state with civilian government, the army’s international activities are generally subordinate to those of the state. The Trinity The Trinity The Trinity army country A army country B army country C people people people state state state enmity will chance enmity will chance enmity will chance Clausewitz characterized war as “merely the continuation of policy by other means.” Whether the policy to be put into force belongs to that of an internationally recognized state, or an aspirational so-far non- state actor, is irrelevant. He also characterized war as “an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will.” By forcing an opposing state to come to terms, a belligerent can leverage the will of the opposing government to effect its desired policy. By the model, this can be accomplished directly by attacking either the army, the people, or the state, all The ClausewitzianTrinity and the Security of the Commons Version 1.0 • 13 November 2008 JAMES HASIK • jhasik@jameshasik.com • www.jameshasik.com page 2 of 6 2 Martin van Creveld, TheTransformation ofWar (The Free Press, 1991)
  3. 3. of which are necessary for resistance.The belligerent can overthrow his enemy’s military forces to get at the state they protect. He can directly attack the state by striking or overthrowing the leadership; if the belligerent is an internal movement, it can depose the leadership through a coup. Or, if he is an external actor, he can directly target the people to destroy their economic power, or simply to kill them. The Trinity The Trinity The Trinity army country A army country B army country C people people people state state state enmity will chance enmity will chance enmity will chance attack on the commons insurgency, terrorism, aerial vandalism cross border invasion, counterpower bombing decapitation, coup d'état, coup de main barbarism, countervalue bombing DIRECT METHODS INDIRECT METHODS Victory can also be attained indirectly by compelling the people or the armed forces to alter the state’s behavior. Insurgencies aim to do this by winning over the people’s hearts and minds. External inducements to a coup can achieve the same effect.The United States government tried to do this in Iraq in 2002 by encouraging defections amongst Iraqi general officers by sending enticing text messages to their wireless phones. In 1999, NATO’s aerial vandalism of economic infrastructure in Serbia proper was not plausibly designed to damage theYugoslav 2nd and 3rd Armies in Kosovo; rather, it was aimed at inducing the people to make a sudden change in their nominally representative federal government, simply to arrest further damage. Opponents can also be indirectly coerced by targeting their people’s use of the commons.The practice is an old one: the guerre de course has been a valued naval stratagem for centuries.Today, increased intercontinental economic connectivity means that there are all the more targets in the commons subject to assault. For example, a damaging attack on the Global Positioning System (GPS) today would badly damage international commerce by interrupting essential navigation services and the The ClausewitzianTrinity and the Security of the Commons Version 1.0 • 13 November 2008 JAMES HASIK • jhasik@jameshasik.com • www.jameshasik.com page 3 of 6
  4. 4. synchronization of telecommunications networks.This is shown by the dashing and reddening of the lines in the upper right of the figure. It would also badly degrade military capabilities in every NATO country, as shown by the lightning bolt and the dashing of the line around Army C. Such as attack on the GPS or other vital service could plausibly induce a popular backlash against an incumbent government,or at least induce it to come to terms to stanch the damage. That said, Clausewitz observed that violent emotion is not easily controlled.Al Qaeda’s attacks on New York City and Washington DC in September 2001 did not induce the United States government to quit its bases in the Middle East, but instead, to overthrow the Taliban regime in Afghanistan that was providing the organization refuge. On the other hand, the presumably Islamist bombings in Madrid in March 2004 were seemingly not directly sponsored by any particular Salafist, Mahdist, or Ba’athist insurgent group, but the Partido Popular’s ham-handed reaction to them quickly led to a Socialist electoral victory and a Spanish withdrawal from Iraq.The Socialists lacked the will to continue the fight, but it was only through the element of chance that Spanish military plans were overwhelmed. So, what does this mean to the industrial organizations that would supply the tools to secure the commons? As I have illustrated with the third diagram (albeit gratuitously), there are at least four venues for governments to deal with the problem, and each of these suggests ways for contractors to earn returns: Attack. United States forces have been taking the fight to those who would threaten the commons since the assault on Tripoli in the First Barbary War.While the lineage is long, direct action has increased in popularity since the 1980s. Ronald Reagan sent the Navy to intercept the Arab hijackers of the Achille Lauro, and to destroy Iranian oil platforms that were being used as observation and command posts for raiding shipping in the Persian Gulf. George H.W. Bush invaded Panama to stop Manuel Noriega’s state-sponsored narco-trafficking, arguably an abuse of the right to international commerce. Bill Clinton hurled cruise missiles into the Sudan and Afghanistan, hoping to hit Osama bin Laden. George W. Bush just went ahead and invaded Afghanistan after bin Laden’s sponsors, the Taliban, let him get really out of control. However, the invasion of Iraq, whatever its merits, cannot be described as a response to a threat to the commons. Saddam Hussein, in all his The Trinity The Trinity army country B army country C people people state state enmity will chance enmity will chance attack on the commons RESISTING COERCION by DEFENDING the COMMONS attack defense resiliency responsiveness The ClausewitzianTrinity and the Security of the Commons Version 1.0 • 13 November 2008 JAMES HASIK • jhasik@jameshasik.com • www.jameshasik.com page 4 of 6
  5. 5. malfeasance, generally restricted his attacks to whatever single country he chose to make war upon at any given time. Limited action of this nature can bring surer returns because it respects the elements of the trinity. Manageably small wars may arouse domestic passions briefly, providing political support, but they are not likely to arouse passionate opposition when they are over quickly.Applying overwhelming force to small objectives can also cover the consequences of poor planning, neutralizing much of the element of change. Launching such attacks does require some will, but these ‘cabinet wars’ require less of it than full mobilizations. All things being equal, that willingness to take the fight to violators of the commons implies spending on navies, which are most often selected to carry out reprisals. It also implies good prospects for spending on attack drones, surveillance aircraft, airlifters, special operations forces, and reconnaissance satellites. Amphibious troops and manned combat aircraft would also be part of this mix, but in lesser numbers than for forces configured for sustained expeditionary operations. Defense.When the threat of attack does not deter, and actual attacks do not destroy, there is defense. US forces have similarly been defending American rights to the use of the commons since the start of the Quasi War with France in 1799, chasing down privateers in the Caribbean who preyed on friendly shipping. In the 1980s, the US Navy was defending Kuwaiti oil tankers from Iranian gunboats; only a few years ago, the Littoral Combat Ship’s operational concept documentation featured repeated unmarked maps of a waterway physically identical to the Straits of Hormuz. In the last eight years though, common defense, to spin the phrase, has also come to mean huge attention to border and transportation security, and this has attracted attention and activity from large-and-established defense contractors. One of the problems with defensive preparations, and for the markets they create, is that the will to maintain them over time can wane, simply because successful or unchallenged defense can breed complacency. Defense systems arouse little passion, except over the impermissibility of transporting shampoo in one’s carry-on luggage. Claims of success in forestalling spectacular attacks through good intelligence work can be impossible to verify independently. So, while chance might seem to play little role in preparations, the outcomes are so unpredictable that planning is accomplished almost blindly. A concentration on defense would similarly improve prospects for naval suppliers. Compared to an emphasis on taking the fight to the enemy, an emphasis on defense would differentially improve prospects for suppliers of coastal patrol ships, maritime surveillance aircraft, minehunters (whether manned or unmanned), and cybernetic defense systems and staff. Resiliency.When defense fails, there are hopefully backups. For that matter, some threats are simply more cost-effectively mitigated by hardening, dispersing, or multiplying the targets. The earlier example of GPS is apt. NATO forces today rely profoundly on this single electronic source for most of their positioning, navigation, and timation needs.Whether this creates a vulnerability has been debated in technical, operational, and strategic circles since the 1970s.While US forces are proscribed by Pentagon policy from using the limited foreign satellite services that exist today, they are certainly free to fix their positions on foreign lighthouses and terrestrial electronic sources.The full fielding of a supplement like the European Galileo system, and its eventual acceptance for operational use by European and North American military forces, would complicate attackers’ plans. Resiliency complicates attacker’s plans by raising the element of chance: that which is hit may still survive, so any attack may only instigate a response.This is shown in the third diagram as a doubling of the common links within and between countries. Resiliency can be an appealing sell rationally and The ClausewitzianTrinity and the Security of the Commons Version 1.0 • 13 November 2008 JAMES HASIK • jhasik@jameshasik.com • www.jameshasik.com page 5 of 6
  6. 6. emotionally, if not quite an exciting or compelling one. Amongst firms specializing in aerospace per se, a concentration on resiliency would particularly improve prospects for those who build satellite communications based C4ISR systems. Much of the value of additional spending in this area, however, would flow into a diverse group of industries from construction to software to telecommunications. Responsiveness. If all else fails, there is the clean-up process. Someone needs to shovel up the rubble, decontaminate the impact area, and pass out the coffee and blankets.This is unglamorous work, generally not accomplished by stealthy jets. Preparation for responsiveness, like defensive measures, can be a difficult sell. Responsiveness (shown in no particular way, for I lack a visual metaphor at the moment) evokes only mild emotion until it is actually needed.The requirements are difficult to calculate because the primary and secondary effects of a disaster are so difficult to estimate.The predominance of chance in planning thus directly affects the will needed to make the preparations. A concentration on responsiveness implies enthusiasm for spending money on engineering, medical, and logistics units; airlifters; transport rotorcraft; and hospital ships. It also implies greater reliance on reserve echelons, as these are more cost-effective means of responding to disasters, whether natural or induced. Finally, it is important to observe what sorts of spending would not fare well should military planning shift towards an overall emphasis on the securing the commons. Heavy armored forces would not be first in line for new kit, and could be considerably reduced in size. Inventories of manned combat aircraft could one more time appear excessive. Cruise missiles would be needed in smaller quantities, given their lackluster strategic performance in reprisal and decapitation attacks in the 1990s. In short, these negative choices largely reflect the current priorities of most NATO member states, except the United States, and to a some extent, the United Kingdom and France. Convergence of American priorities towards those of continental Europe and Canada would have profoundly negative financial implications for defense contractors with large and dedicated assets focused on these segments.As service lags production, and production lags development, the impact could first be observed on those companies heavily involved in developing new ground forces equipment.The downward trend would particularly apply to any new ground forces kit that could not be justified by the demands of limited counterinsurgency, stability and support operations, or the global bug hunt. The ClausewitzianTrinity and the Security of the Commons Version 1.0 • 13 November 2008 JAMES HASIK • jhasik@jameshasik.com • www.jameshasik.com page 6 of 6

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