Von Clausewitz’s Center of Gravity concept

Sjon van ’t Hof is always worth reading, and this is no exception.


And its possible relevance to systems thinking

Von Clausewitz, the seminal 19th century Prussian military theorist, famously wrote that war is merely “the continuation of policy [with the addition of] other means” (mit Einmischung anderer Mitteln). This suggests that war is essentially about politics. Clausewitz also spoke of the so-called trinity in war of people, army and government, suggesting that Clausewitz’ ideas mainly apply to nation states, a concept that itself is now under attack because of the rise of non-trinitarian wars involving non-state fighters as in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Mali. The question is of course whether these countries were fully developed nation states (well, probably not) in the first place, and whether the nation state as a concept is in decline as suggested by current theorists such as Van Creveld. Clausewitz also used a second trinity – passion, chance, and reason – for his analysis…

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