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Clausewitz. War without policy guidance is simple violence. Policy without understanding warfare is folly. Too many politicians have launched wars without understanding how to link policy to guide the violence to achieve political goals. Too many generals have let them get away with it.

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Feb 24·edited Feb 24Liked by James

There's a problem with this reasoning, partly stemming from very different circumstances among the comparands, partly with lack of foresight.

Zelensky 2024 (according to the post): We are outmatched in almost every facet. Foreign military aid has been on a downward trend for a year. NOT ONE STEP BACK. Because that might create the impression of a hopeless cause in foreign capitals. Even if it contributes to a readily-avoidable disaster that will create the impression of a hopeless cause in foreign capitals. (OK, fine, a few steps back.)

Lincoln 1863: We have massive military resources, but we're running out of time. Someone put them to aggressive and effective use.

So besides the fundamentally opposite strategic profiles of the belligerents, in Lincoln's case military necessity and policy/optics goals are fully aligned. Lincoln wants forward movement that damages the fighting power of the Confederates, and that's exactly what plays well anyway. Zelensky, in this reading, cares for nothing but *delaying* the optics of deterioration even while actually not doing enough to check real deterioration. In other words, the policy course defended in this post is at worst - or observably in the case of Avdiivka - contrary to both military necessity *and* policy/optics goals.

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