This article presents a new model for the development of Carl von Clausewitz’s thinking on the factors that constrain warfare. The model posits three stages in his thinking that are determined by two system theoretic dimensions. The three stages are friction as a constraint on the effectiveness of the execution of military plans on paper, suspension as a constraint on the intensity of military action and political objectives as a constraint on military objectives. The two dimensions consist of an interactive perspective in the form of causal feedback loops and a holistic perspective in the form of a political system that forms the context of the military subsystem.

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Journal of Strategic Studies
Erasmus School of Philosophy

Schuurman, P. (2014). War as a System: A Three-Stage Model for the Development of Clausewitz’s Thinking on Military Conflict and Its Constraints. Journal of Strategic Studies, 37, 926–948. doi:10.1080/01402390.2014.933316