Strategy vs realism

This article on the differing ontological assumptions of the strategic and realist perspectives won’t be for everyone, but I think it is apt, considering the way in which so many people who are paying attention to the recent election crisis observably struggle to distinguish between strategic planning and the way events subsequently play out.

This article challenges the widespread belief that the classical school of strategic theory shares ontological assumptions with the realist perspective on international politics and foreign policy. This belief has led scholars to treat the strategic and realist perspectives as synonymous, or near-synonymous, thus unintentionally creating conceptual confusion in international studies. For instance, in an introductory textbook on strategy, the editor argues that the strategic perspective ‘is based upon the realist interpretation’ of international relations, as both ‘feature a distinctive world view based on assumptions about the nature of the political environment, the characteristic manner in which political actors interact with each other’. In another textbook, it is claimed that strategic scholars ‘share a set of assumptions about the nature of international political life, and the kind of reasoning that can best handle political-military problems. This set of assumptions is often referred to by the term realism’.

This simplified view of the relationship between the strategic and realist perspectives is also found in many original works from the last decades. Hugh Smith, for example, argues that Carl von Clausewitz belongs to the realist tradition. Moreover, Neta Crawford claims that strategic scholars ‘tend to view international relations from the [realist] perspective of anarchy in a Hobbesian sense’. In addition, Michael Williams links the strategic perspective to a ‘neo-realist framework within which it has traditionally been located’. Furthermore, Tarak Barkawi claims that the strategic perspective ‘logically entails a realist policy science of international politics’, and Isabelle Duyvesteyn and James Worrall argue that the realist ‘paradigm has formed a cornerstone of the field [of strategic studies]’. By others, the strategic perspective has even been described as the ‘military-technical wing’ of realism. 

Despite the widespread belief that the strategic perspective is based on realism, this article presents and elaborates on the argument that the relationship between the two perspectives is, in fact, ambiguous. Therefore, scholars should treat them as separate perspectives, although they do share some key similarities and overlaps. 

There are many reasonable positions one can take at the present time. Perhaps President Trump is under the control of his Deep State captors. Perhaps President Trump is in a protected location directing the US military in a surprise attack against Iran – this is genuine concern among Europeans – or perhaps the surprise attack will be on the Deep State and the election criminals. The most bizarre theory I’ve heard is that President Trump suffered a heart attack after the rally and died on Wednesday, and the panic that the Deep State is now exhibiting is because they are afraid that the American people will never believe their innocence and will return to Capitol Hill to seek retribution.

But the one thing you cannot say without being indistinguishable from a retard is to claim that there was never any plan. Of course there was a plan; the executive order from 2018 alone is enough to prove that there was. The mere existence of a plan does not mean that it will lead to desirable results in the end; Napoleon’s plan to invade Russia shows that even a generally successful plan can end in complete disaster.

There are 12 days left. Trust the plan and trust the President or not, as you see fit, but at least try not to be a complete retard just because you’ve taken the black pill and are lost to despair. As for the rest of us, recall the wise words of Puddleglum. Hope, be it true or be it false, is always better than no hope.

Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things–trees and grass and sun and moon and stars, and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one…. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia…”

I’m on Trump’s side even if there isn’t any Trump to preside. I’m going to live as like an American as I can even if there isn’t any America.