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US: Projecting US military power

Tim Brown says: "Power projection can be merely a term of military art not a statement of political objectives used by strategic planners and analysts. At last that's how I was using it in those days. It's a way of trying to determine the force that can be brought to bear on a battlefield in the Clausewitzean sense. The winner in battle is rarely the army with the most soldiers in its ranks regardless of where they are, because battles are decided by the forces brought to bear at the place of battle at the time of battle. How many divisions an army has camped a thousand kilometers away when a battle occurs normally has little impact on its outcome".

RH: Tim goes on to discuss examples. The important item in his statement is his reference to Carl Phillipp Gottfried von Clausewitz (1780-1831), a Prussian general whose writings have greatly influenced the German army and others, including that of the US. He was in the service of the Russian army from 1812 to 1814, and then fought in the Prussian army at Waterloo. From 1818 to 1830 he was director of the war college in Berlin. His major work was On War (1833, translated into English in 1976). The leading US authority on him is Peter Paret of Stanford University, author of Clausewitz and the State (1975). Clausewitz had a great influence on the Nazis, who developed the theory and practice of blitzkrieg. The US victory in Iraq was a textbook example of blitzkrieg. Clausewitz viewed war and politics as extensions of each other. The US has completed the war phase in Oraq. Now comes the peace phase.

Ronald Hilton - 5/9/03