Politics and war

An inadequate concept of politics is a source of much mischief.  Contrary to what most people believe, politics is not the art of getting elected, nor is it the science of government.  To the contrary, politics is the art of influencing behavior.

Understanding that politics is an instrument of influence enables us to see that "everything is politics," precisely as Thomas Mann remarked, and to see that there are politicians in the crib, the classroom, and the barnyard.  When that horse you are trying to bridle sticks his nose in a corner so you have to come within reach of his hindquarters to approach his head, he is being political — he is attempting to influence your behavior.

Hence, we see that politics can be classified into different kinds, of which the electoral type is only one variety.  This realization helps explain the well known dictum by Carl Von Clausewitz, in his treatise, Vom Kriege (About War), that "war is politics by other means."  War, holds Clausewitz, is an instrument for influencing behavior.

So now we have two principles: there are various kinds of politics, and war is a form of politics.  That should open our minds to contemplate that war also is of various kinds.

Image: Sebacalka.

Our usual image of war is that it involves killing people and breaking things.  That image has come to be called "kinetic war," because it is the direct application of kinetic energy to people and things.

But now consider that warfare has various targets.  These include attacking not only the enemy's military force, but also its economy, its governmental integrity, its sovereignty, its social cohesion, and its will to fight and resist.  Each of these is a form of warfare besides the kinetic variety.  Thus, war can be classified into kinetic and non-kinetic varieties.

If you haven't yet read Janet Levy's February 9, 2022, American Thinker essay "A Color Map of the Front of World War III," you should.  It brilliantly sums up how multifaceted war is and precisely details the correspondence of concept and experienced fact.  No wonder she concludes that our enemies "have enmeshed us in a non-kinetic World War III."

Amen.  She nailed it.  We are in fact at war and under attack.

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