Clausewitzian diplomacy

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Clausewitzian diplomacy refers to a diplomatic approach that is heavily influenced by the ideas of Carl von Clausewitz, a Prussian general and military theorist who lived from 1780 to 1831. He is most known for his influential work ‘On War’ where he introduced some of his core ideas.

Clausewitzian principles centre around the belief that war is a continuation of politics by other means. As such, Clausewitzian diplomacy would likely focus on the use of military force or the threat of military force as a key tool of statecraft. Clausewitz believed in the primacy of the political objective in war, meaning that all military actions should be tied directly to their political outcomes. His philosophy also encapsulates the concept of ‘”total war’,” in which the full resources of the state are mobilised for conflict.

However, it’s important to note that Clausewitz also saw war as last resort, only to be used when diplomacy fails. He advocated for a proportional response in warfare, where the level of force used should be directly related to the political objective, and warned about the fog of war, or the uncertainty in situational awareness experienced by participants in military operations.

Therefore, a Clausewitzian approach to diplomacy might involve the careful use of military force to achieve political objectives, but with a full understanding of the costs and uncertainties associated with war. This approach would likely stress the importance of aligning military and political strategies and would see the threat of force as a vital part of negotiation and diplomacy.

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