Carl Von Clausewitz's Paradoxical Trinity

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Clausewitz’s paradoxical trinity Prussian military general and theorist Carl von Clausewitz provided a clear perspective on the character and nature of war through his paradoxical trinity. Clausewitz suggests that war is a timeless paradoxical trinity made up of hatred, violence and enmity; chance and probability, and subordination to rational policy. He suggested that violence is a blind natural force; chance and probability allows the creative spirit to roam; and the subordination as an instrument of policy involving reason. These elements can simply be translated into emotion, chance and reason; or violence, chance and rational calculation. This approach changed the character of warfare from the 18th century monarchic militarism approach …show more content…
Like emotion, rational thought is a product of the individual, but it is different because it entails a conscious process of causing action. Therefore, human reason complements emotion as an element of war as an instrument of policy. The state may use policies developed through a conscious application of reason to address the issues of war – e.g. determining whether to go into war or not. The second element of the trinity is chance and probability, which refers to the external forces that cannot be influenced by human forces desire and reason. They are the realities that military and political actors have to cope with during warfare, including geography, technologies, and economics. Based on the three elements of war, it is clear that Clausewitz’s approach to war is a multidimensional system that requires actors to focus on both human and environmental factors that affect the war. Clausewitz uses the term politic to refer to the politics and policies that come into play when engaging in war. In this regard, political actors should consider use reason, emotion and environmental issues when developing policies related to war and warfare. The forces of reason, environmental factors and violence are essential instruments of unilateral policy which help in addressing problems of …show more content…
During the time of Frederick, the state played a central role in building a strong military to exercise power and control. However, Clausewitz introduced the concept of the trinity which includes new elements in the character of warfare. Clausewitz suggested that warfare is characterized by violence/emotion, uncertainty and reason. This nature involves human and environmental issues such as reason, emotion, and technology in policy implementation on issues related to war. Following this idea, the 19th century approach introduced the human elements of war, suggesting that the state should be involved in a diplomatic and democratic process of seeking the people’s ideas and consent on war based on the prevailing economic, environmental, social and political

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