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Military and strategic studies Essay

The Peloponnesian war was between the Athenian empire and the members of the Peloponnesian confederacy. The underlying cause was the fear of the growth of the powers of Athens. The growth of this power endangered the food supply of the Peloponnesian from the Sicily. Another aspect which was thought to have been the cause of the war was enforcement of monopoly of seaborne trade by the Athens. This made the Peloponnesian war a trade war.

According to Thucydides security dilemma occasioned by the rise of the great power challenger, competitive bipolarity and an impending power transition were powerful structural factors that contributed to instability and increased the likelihood of the war . The second Punic war was between Carthage and the Roman republic. Carthage wanted to concentrate on controlling Spain to gain direct control over the mineral resources and to mount an army of the inhabitants to go against the Roman legions.

Strategies of war by Sun Tzu and Clausewitz Strategy according to Sun Tzu is the art that man invented after the gods stopped guiding him; it is the greatest wining tool that man ever invented. It is therefore a style of thinking; a conscious and deliberate process; an intensive implementation system; the art of ensuring future success. Sun Tzu acknowledged that victory was the main objective in war. Therefore if long and delayed, weapons blunted and morale depressed. Multiple cities attack exhausted the strength of the troops.

Sun Tzu considered the moral, intellectual and circumstantial elements of war more important than the physical and cautioned kings and commanders not to place reliance on the military power . Clausewitz tried the strategy that Isaac Newton had used in physics, but in war force was never proportional, equal and opposite. War can be said to be more of an art than a science. This called for critical analysis; examination of all possible strategies, actions and decisions .

Thucydides emphasized that strategy or the leader cannot be praised unless the strategy is proved to be better than the existing ones and also superior than the available alternatives or criticize a failed strategy unless it can be shown that there other superior alternatives. Handel in Masters of War calls the ideas of Sun Tzu vague. His main argument was that differences between the strategies of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz were more illusory than real. He suggested that sun Tzu adopts a broader approach to war than Clausewitz, hence more open wining by means that battles.

He affirmed that his work was not politically inclined but professional in perspective advocating that rulers ought not to interfere with military. Clausewitz emphasized the model of inescapable fog of war, on the tactical and operational levels. Handel alleged that the two words set side to side implied timeless founts of strategic wisdom . This was blanketing both sides in pervasive uncertainty. Clausewitz urged that that deliberate deception didn’t make much impact and it was a mistake to regard surprise as key element to success in war.

According to Sun Tzu war was best concluded quickly, achieving one’s aims and avoiding conflict was by far the most desirable outcome. While Clausewitz viewed it as an act of violence intended to compel ones opponent to fulfill the will of their attackers implying that conflict was the best way of getting opponents submit. Conflict takes a longer time not like a battle that is fought and what remains are the impacts . The strategic environment depended on rare full scale engagements and degree of mutual consent.

This is clearly demonstrated by the Pericles of strategy of staying within long walls and avoiding the invading of Spartans during the Peloponnesian war and also by the Fabius Cunctator’s ability to shadow Hannibal through the use of rough ground and earth works to stymie the superior Punic horse and at long last the plunged into decisive clashes. Battle in antiquity was a high stakes that conflicts sometimes dragged on for decades of raiding and sieges such as in the Peloponnesian and Punic wars hence both sides been simultaneously prepared to risk everything on climatic confrontation in the open field.

Therefore indecisive stalemates build up which Sun Tzu says the way out is the paradoxical aphorism that invincibility lies in the defense. This can be broken by offensive use of information warfare, through concealing one’s own strength and plans through seeking to mislead surprise and ambush the enemy. Another strategy advocated by Sun Tzu is crowding soldiers in small camps to make them appear fewer and giving an impression of fear to tempt reluctant enemy to engage this was well adopted by Romans towards the Hannibal’s brothers in the Punic war .

During the Punic and Peloponnesian wars the defensive war strategy was the most used. This is why they would hide behind walls and crowd in small camps to reduce attacks from the enemies. Analyzing Sun Tzu phrase wining without a battle it implies that they stay in the camps well set for defense and to slaughter their enemies when they appear. In Clausewitz’s principles for war, he urges that in defensive strategy troops seek to destroy their enemies indirectly while in offensive strategy they pursues the aim directly.

The strategy of morale was a well used element then. Misfortunes occurred when the armies got terrified and were unwilling to attempt offensive war. They sometimes would be very bold that they were unwilling to take any precautionary measures. This called for plans to be made to make the enemy by looks and words appear weak. This called for the morale building for the armies which acted as a balancing tool and more as an imperative to strengthen the troops. These also made it possible for the troops to engage in a more offensive war .

Ideas in continuity in the aspect of making strategy From the ideas exposed by Sun Tzu and Clausewitz the strategy of offensive and defensive war is still at work even today. This is always determined by whether the enemy is superior or not. The best strategy for a superior opponent is defensive strategy. This is evidence today by the entrenched camps which are common in the wars that have occurred after the Punic and the Peloponnesian wars. Morale building is a key element in the all armies in the world and also in the all battles or wars.

The encouragement given to our troops today contributes a lot to the success of our nations today. Today information warfare is one of the most popular ways of battling. It has proved to be very effective as compared to other ways of resolving existing tension and creating a starting point to ending existing conflict or the base line for a war . Moral, intellectual and circumstantial elements of war are more important than the physical aspect of a military troop. Good weapons cannot supplements the good strategies and tactics used during war.

Even in the current world that is very evident; weapons in the hands of an animal may not achieve anything whereas in the hands of a trained personnel much can be achieved. Comparison of different authors Comparing the ideas of Thucydides and those of Handel, Thucydides has a more elaborate description of the two wars. He not only criticizes the strategies used by the Sun Tzu and Clausewitz but also gives other alternatives to be used to make the troops more effective. The ideas of Thucydides have a logical flow compared to those of Handel hence making his work more clearer and well understood .

He also argued that the Punic and the Peloponnesian wars had a lot of political implications, then and even today. It was his basis for a lot of ideas which have made him known. According to him the Peloponnesian wars were influenced by realist authors, this also greatly influenced the way the United States viewed the super powers . On the other hand, Handel ignored the obsolete practical ideas of the Greek and the Roman military theorists and seeks to think classically about strategy. He dismisses the ideas of Sun Tzu as vague.

On contrast they all agree that the success of a war is not physical but it through intellectual elements and morale. In conclusion the ideas of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz on strategy are dominating even the current world; not only in war but also in all aspects of life including politics, business and education. Quality is the name to talk about; to bring the whole aspect of strategy and tactics. It is an area of great emphasis to the current world and all it aspects Work cited: Cawkwell, G. L: Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War, London, 1997.

Retrieved on 24th Dec, 2008 from: http://www. crystalinks. com/peloponnesianwar. html Clausewitz, Carl von: Principles of war, the military service publishing company, 1942. Retrieved on 23rd Dec, 2008 from: http://www. bellum. nu/wp/cvc/cvcpfw. html. ] Crawley, Richard Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War, 2007. Retrieved on 24th Dec, 2008 from: http://ebooks. adelaide. edu. au/t/thucydides/crawley/ Dunkle, Roger: The Peloponnesian War’ the Classical Origins of Western Culture, the City University of New York, 1986 Handel, Michael: Masters of War: Classical Strategic Thought.

ISBN 0714650919, 9780714650913, Routledge, 2001 Herwig, Holger H: classics of strategy: HTST/STST 655, university of Calgary, 2003-2004. Retrieved on 23rd Dec, 2008 from: http://hum. ucalgary. ca/courses/f2003/stst655l01. pdf Kemos, Alexander: the influence of Thucydides in the modern world: the father of political realism plays a key role in current balance of power theories, 1998. Retrieved on 24th Dec, 2008 from: http://www. hri. org/por/thucydides. html Kuehner, Trudy: teaching military history— why and how: a history institute for teachers, 2007.

Retrieved on 23rd Dec 2008 from: http://www. fpri. org/footnotes/1223. 200710. kuehner. teachingmilitaryhistory. html Pratt, David: Journal of military and strategic studies, vol. 10, issue 2. Is there a grand strategy in Canadian foreign policy? ” 2007” Retrieved on 23rd dec, 2008 from: http://www. jmss. org/2008/winter/articles/ellis2007-pratt1. pdf. Sabin, Philip; Ancient military wisdom and the forgotten context of pre-gunpowder battle, king’s college London, (2007). Retrieved on23rd Dec, 2008 from: http://www. kcl. ac. uk/content/1/c6/03/05/95/sabin-ancientmilitarywisdom. doc


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