August 1, 2008  

Heart of darkness

War is the norm of human history, not the exception. Contrary to the Clausewitzian dictum that war is an instrument of policy, much of the world does not regard war as a political act entered into only after certain criteria are met. Retired Air Force colonel and military historian Phillip Meilinger argues that the West is at a disadvantage if it sticks to the Clausewitz script and ignores — or prefers not to acknowledge — the cultural, biological and religious factors that compel people to fight.

Ralph Peters expands on the idea that understanding the enemy’s motivations is critical. However much we might wish it were not so, human collectives do not act in their own rational self-interest.