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Critical Review - Essay Example

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Critical Review

Sun Tzu has a praiseworthy approach when he propounds the attributes of a good military leader and it seems he is able to state his case in the best way possible. In my view Clausewitz has also given some interesting views which have allegations of bias against them. In the paragraphs below I have analysed the approaches of all these military leaders and whether or not their ideas can be reconciled with each other as well as my own views on the issue.
For Clausewitz, by the time he was writing his book "On War" his thoughts on war had evolved towards notions like "War is a continuation of politics with an admixture of other means" and that there could be different ways and means of warfare. Here the concern is particularly towards his views on the practical uses of military history to and his "critical analysis" where he distinguished carefully between the historian and the military critic, despite his admission that both roles were often complementary.According to Clausewitz for a military historian there had to be a use of the critical analysis which would involve the tracing of effects back to their causes which would be essentially an investigation into what military steps were taken and whether they were effective at a tactical,operational,strategic and political level. Before I revisit Clausewitz on his notions of a military leader it would be fair to discuss what Machiavelli and Sun Tzu have to say about the military leader's role in defining national interests and military objectives in war.
Machiavelli
Machiavelli is much known for his book "The Prince" in which he has described how a prince or in other terms a military leader can keep his control on his jurisdiction.For him control is particularly a difficult matter for a new prince whose status is not established by lineage or popular consent amongst the masses. The new prince or military leader would have a hard time creating a stabilized framework of power. Many times the prince will have to do carry out unpleasant, perhaps evil things to carry out his task. Machiavelli has refrained from discussing the ideal price or leader .Instead he gives examples as to which of the military leaders/princes were successful in establishing their rule and most of these examples are drawn from his own analysis of history. As a renaissance writer he uses an amount of classical historical examples. At first sight his ideas seems to hard to swallow as he seems to endorse any evil act by such rulers to gain power and control. A more profound understanding of his views however indicates that he has actually qualified such measures with restrictions like philosophical view that any evil action can be justified if it is done for a good purpose. The work faced much negative criticism even in its time and was banned by the Catholic church. For Machiavelli a good military leader would know how to use good and evil as instruments of power. Essentially he was trying to promote a more practical approach lined with pragmatism. However realism is a bitter medicine and many people including myself find the idea of an undemocratically elected military leader abhorrent and dysfunctional. Such a military leader would invariably not be able to strike any balance between good or evil and keep tilting towards evil whenever his survival is threatened. An example is the current military crisis in South Asia particularly Bangladesh and Pakistan. Machiavelli approves of brute power and ...Show more

Summary

In this essay I have discussed and compared the ideas and arguments of the various authors in relation to the military leader's role in defining national interests and military objectives in war. Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, and Clausewitz have differing views on the attributes of a good military leader…
Author : kaylie07
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