reflection has been taken away from our lives

grand strategy with

John Gaddis, He is a noted historian of the Cold War and grand strategy. He has been hailed as the ‘Dean of Cold War Historians’ by the The New York Times. He is also the official biographer of the seminal 20th century statesman George F. Kennan.

Charles Hill, a diplomat ambassador and professor. involved in the iran-contra affair in a big way. teaches oratory of statehood. A career foreign service officer, Ambassador Hill was a senior adviser to George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, and Ronald Reagan, as well as Boutros Boutros-Ghali,


Paul Kennedy is a newcastle born historian specializing in international relations and grand strategy. He has published prominent books on the history of British foreign policy and Great Power struggles. his books have been translated to about 25 languages. the rise and fall of great powers.

some of the great minds at yale which produced much of US foreign policy since the first clinton adminstration. since 1992 presidents and secratery of state are yale graduates.

key takeaways:

  • what are the feedback loops of the machine? how does it balance in thick and thin times. during war and peace, expansion and contraction?
  • reflection has been taken away from our lives.
    timescale in planing a strategy. looking ahead vs the free metro newspaper that reports about you. the daily demands of ‘right now’. during office you do not acquire intellectual capital, you run on what you accumulated previously. IQ drops as you start to use powerpoint?
  • negative liberty as the absence of constraints on, or interference with, agents’ possible action. Greater “negative freedom” meant fewer restrictions on possible action. note that negative liberty is central to the claim for toleration due to incommensurability.
  • westphalian state system is convenient to ‘go back to’ and since it is easy as a thought paradigm it influences institutions. are nations the imagined communities? i think not



strategy is a way of thinking about how to get from where you are to where you want to be. calculated relationship between means and ends.

von clausewitz, war is the continuation of policy by other means. diplomacy is supreme and war is a tool, not an objective in itself. means is subject to the ends. this is significant because resources are limited. so, resource constraints are an example in which means are subordinate to the ends.

this is platitude. it reminds us of the basic, common sense, but this is exactly it purpose, to remind us of common sense while we are becoming professionals.


“Everything in war is very simple,” Clausewitz notes, “but the simplest thing is difficult.” (119) “In war more than anywhere else things do not turn out as we expect. Nearby they do not appear as they did from a distance.” (193) Moreover, “…every fault and exaggeration of [a] theory is instantly exposed in war.”

Clausewitz terms “friction” the “only concept that more or less corresponds to the factors that distinguish real war from war on paper.” (119) Friction is caused mainly by the danger of war, by war’s demanding physical efforts, and by the presence of unclear information or the fog of war.

First, the intrinsically dangerous nature of war means that in an atmosphere of blood, bullets,and bombs, “the light of reason is refracted in a manner quite different from that which is normal in academic speculation.” (113) Only the exceptional soldier keeps his incisive judgment intact during the heat of battle.

Second, physical effort in war also produces friction: “If no one had the right to give his views on military operations except when he is frozen, or faint from heat and thirst, or depressed from privation and fatigue, objective and accurate views would be even rarer than they are.” (115) Clausewitz hence reminds strategists not to forget the immense effect of physical effort upon the soldiers engaging in combat.

Ambiguous information in war is yet a third element which Clausewitz says distinguishes real war from war in theory. Although strategists should gauge plans by probabilities, it is sometimes impossible to do so during war, when most intelligence is indeterminate:

isaiah berlin, incommensurability. two concepts of liberty, He defined negative liberty as the absence of constraints on, or interference with, agents’ possible action. Greater “negative freedom” meant fewer restrictions on possible action. Berlin associated positive liberty with the idea of self-mastery, or the capacity to determine oneself, to be in control of one’s destiny. While Berlin granted that both concepts of liberty represent valid human ideals, as a matter of history the positive concept of liberty has proven particularly susceptible to political abuse. Berlin contended that under the influence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant and G. W. F. Hegel (all committed to the positive concept of liberty), European political thinkers often equated liberty with forms of political discipline or constraint. This negative liberty is central to the claim for toleration due to incommensurability. This concept is mirrored in the work of Joseph Raz.

The third and last part of Adam Curtis‘s documentary series The Trap discusses Isaiah Berlin’s concepts of positive and negative liberty

you can not have it all at once, so you have to balance

power is not singular, it has multiple forums that need to be balanced. self confidence of french army occupying moscow. ‘war and peace’. taking moscow is not enough to win.

everything is related to everything else. astonishly frequently forgotten. so it is an ecological failure. any action will have (an equal) and oppsite reaction, even across spheres.

it is a practical and effecient manner of distiliing knowledge

individual players on the field will have to make their own decisions. instincts plus some training on expecting the unexpected

charlie hill

something is lost when quantitive methods and science is applied to all domains

in humanities, as opposed to sciences, you can not solve problems once in for all

no two problems are alike

democracy in america, ‘Forces’


theories                               leadership                     concepts

skilles                                  forces                           culture

mechanisms                        rhetoric                         values


Paul Kennedy

the power of rhetoric of roosevelt and kennedy

of the 7 coalition wars between the british and the france between 1689 and 1815 the french lose all with superior population and resources. why?

king, hmg, parlament, taxes: funing and loans. now you have markets. loans are never to be defaulted upon. so by middle wars, (7 years, napoleonic) swiss,dutch and french buy these loans because the british governement is the only one that has not deaulted on loans. now you get a feedback loop. large navy. destory others resources, lines,economies

you get balanced budget in piece times. there is possibilites of transferability.

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One Response to “reflection has been taken away from our lives”

  1. Ran Arad Says:

    זהו? נגמר הבלוג???2

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