Clausewitz's 'Wondrous Trinity' as General Theory of War and Violent Conflict

in Theoria
Andreas Herberg-Rothe

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Since the 1990s various influential authors have argued that Clausewitz’s theory is no longer applicable, not only in relation to contemporary conflicts, but also in general (see the discussion in de Nooy 1997). Some have suggested that it is harmful (van Creveld 1991, 1998) and even self-destructive (Keegan 1993, 1995) to continue to use this theory as the basis for understanding and as a guide to political action, given the revolutionary changes in war and violence occurring in the world’s communities.2 Clausewitz, it is proposed, was only concerned with war between states employing regular armies, whereas conflict today mainly involves non-state actors.

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