The General Theory of War

  1. Politics is the division of power.
  2. Influence is the power to change behavior through sensory suggestion.
  3. Violence is the power to change behavior through physical pain or physical annihilation.
  4. War is politics with the addition of violence.
  5. The logic of the individual in war is personal survival, preserving his current personal power, and accumulating more individual power.
  6. The logic of the tribe in war is tribal survival, preserving its current collective power, and accumulating more power for the tribe.
  7. The logic of the institution in war is preserving the pecking order of tribes within its hierarchy, preserving the current power of its dominant tribes, and accumulating more power for its dominant tribes.
  8. The logic of the market is shifting power from individuals, tribes, and institutions that don’t effectively mobilize violent power to those that do.
  9. The logic of the network is shifting ideas from explicit choices to implicit assumptions.
  10. The logic of reality is friction reducing power from a state of high order to a state of low order.
  11. These centers of logic are in conflict.
  12. The interactive nature of violence intensifies this conflict: each action in war triggers counter actions that anticipate or react to it.
  13. The logic of war is to escalate the friction afflicting enemy’s actions through violence while reducing the friction hampering your own efforts with violence.
  14. The logic of war is cumulative: every center of logic in war strives to create and preserve imbalances in violent power that, through their combined weight, bring a fatal level of friction down on the enemy and compel them to submit to its logic.
  15. War is a maelström: its competing centers of logic constantly jostle to preëmpt each other.
  16. The logic of logic in war is for each center of logic to strive to subordinate competing centers of logic to its own logic.
  17. War is not war without the possibility of violent death.
  18. War frustrates design: the use of violence open doors for competing designs that would otherwise have no opportunity to unfold.
  19. War reaches a conclusion when the logic of the division of power is compelling enough that competing centers of logic cannot sustain violence against it.
  20. The end of war is never permanent.
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About Joseph Fouche

L. C. Rees carefully selected the nom de guerre "Joseph Fouche" to profoundly irritate unnaturally rampant pro-Buonopartist sentiment at Skyline High School, Millcreek, Salt Lake, Utah, United States. The Corsican Ogre once claimed that he would have remained "Emperor of the French" if he'd had two men shot: Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord and Joseph Fouche. SInce Rees bears no resemblance to a club-footed defrocked bishop, Joseph Fouche it was.

One thought on “The General Theory of War

  1. Excellent summary. But I’m not convinced that no. 17 is entirely necessary: violence (in varied form) yes, malice certainly, but death? Many are the varied interests that initiate conflict, as well as the means and ends that sustain and complete it, that the risk of life should not preclude such a case from inclusion to the scope of war only due to a lack of violent death.

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