The Clash of the Trinities: A New Theoretical Analysis of the General Nature of War
The Clash of the Trinities: A New Theoretical Analysis of the General Nature of War, US Army War College Press, Strategic Studies Institute (Advancing Strategic Thought Series), ISBN: 1-58487-766-9
129 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2017
Date Written: September 11, 2017
This monograph suggests that theories of warfare and descriptions of the evolving character of war cannot be complete without first giving credit to the nature of war itself. Looking at varied portrayals of war from literary, academic, military, and civilian strategist perspectives, this essay (in the original meaning of the word) offers a re-definition of “war” as an investment in organized violence by parties interested in the extension, maintenance, or appearance of their power over an unspecified time, with an unknowable risk, for an uncertain reward. In drawing an analogy to painting, it suggests that “choice” is the underlying axiomatic theme of war, and it that is replayed and adapted at every scale of warfare like a classical fugue. From there, this essay pierces the interior of Clausewitz’s “trinity” description of war, and proposes that there are still more universal ways to describe conflict’s breadth, depth, and context. This argument concludes that war is better understood when it is described as a “clash of the trinities.” An ecology of war is proposed, in which fundamental components comprising fuel, biology, and interactions constitute a network or system undergoing entropy. It is this sense of entropy — a tendency toward social and political discontinuity and disorder — that chiefly describes war in all its varied guises and explains political, social, and military efforts to avoid them, corral them, plan them, or fight them.
Keywords: war, Clausewitz, modern conflict, theory of war
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