Self Help

Strategy A History - Lawrence Freedman

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Matheus Puppe

· 174 min read



Here is a summary of the key points about strategy from the preface:

  • Strategy has become a ubiquitous term applied to all sorts of plans and approaches, from military campaigns to everyday life tasks, risking becoming meaningless.

  • At its core, strategy involves balancing ends, ways (courses of action), and means (resources) to achieve objectives in contexts of potential conflict where others may frustrate one’s plans due to differing interests.

  • It requires not only finding ways to achieve desired ends but also adjusting ends to realistic means and ways.

  • Strategy is more than a plan, which supposes a linear sequence of events, because human affairs are unpredictable due to opponents, chance events, and one’s own mistakes.

  • Having a strategy suggests thinking beyond short-term tactics to long-term goals and addressing underlying causes rather than symptoms. It provides a process for decision-making in uncertain, conflicting situations.

  • While there is no agreed definition, strategy generally involves maintaining balance between objectives, actions, and resources in contexts where interests collide and forms of resolution are needed due to potential conflict from others.

  • Strategy is often presented as having clear goals set in advance, but in reality it evolves through a series of states where the original goals and strategies need to be modified based on how the situation develops. A flexible, fluid approach is needed rather than being fixed on end goals.

  • Strategy is commonly portrayed as a “duel” or clash between two opposing sides, reflecting its military roots. But most situations are more complex, involving the ability to form alliances and preventing opponents from doing the same. Negotiation and persuasion are also important aspects of strategy.

  • For powerful groups, strategy may not seem difficult as superior resources tend to lead to success. But the real tests of strategy come when groups are at a disadvantage and must rely on intelligence, cunning, deception and maneuvering rather than direct force.

  • The concept of strategy originated in classical Greek military thought but expanded with the rise of professional militaries, business planning, and political consulting in the modern era. It reflected both increased bureaucratization and hopes that specialized social science could provide more control and predictability.

  • Some critics argue strategy is an illusion of control, and outcomes are determined more by countless individual actions than grand centralized plans. This led to demands for more decentralized decision-making and emphasis on personal strategies.

  • The chapter argues that elements of human strategy can be traced back to chimpanzee behavior, as chimpanzees exhibit behaviors like deception, coalition formation, and instrumental use of violence.

  • Careful observation of chimpanzee colonies in zoos showed they form complex social relations and engage in “politics” - building coalitions with grooming, sex, food to gain power in conflicts.

  • Frans de Waal observed a change in dominance hierarchy at a zoo colony, as the dominant male Yeroen was challenged by Luit. Luit gained an ally in Nikkie and used tactics like grooming females to encourage defections from Yeroen. Actual fighting played a small role - bites were rarely used.

  • De Waal concluded the fights tended to reflect social changes that had already happened, and chimpanzees seemed to understand limiting violence among themselves in case they needed to unite against outside rivals. They also grasped the importance of reconciliation after disputes to maintain cooperative living.

The passage discusses primatologist Frans de Waal’s research on the origins of human political behavior. De Waal observed that chimpanzees engage in strategic social behaviors like forming coalitions, breaking up other coalitions, and planning actions to achieve goals. This required abilities like individual recognition, perceiving social relationships, understanding consequences of actions, and limited planning.

De Waal argued these behaviors show the “roots of politics” predate humans. Later work suggested primates also show empathy, tolerance, altruism and restraint - important for regulating social interactions. Deception was also key, requiring understanding what misleads others. Brain size correlated with deception and social intelligence across primate species, suggesting these skills conferred evolutionary advantages for developing social networks.

The emergence of strategic intelligence allowed ancestors to navigate complex social groups. However, confronting outsiders required different strategies. Some evidence suggests chimpanzees occasionally engage in violence against neighboring groups, assessed as strategic rather than solely aggressive. Factors like territory, resources and power imbalances between groups affected likelihood of conflict. Jane Goodall’s observations of one community annihilating another at Gombe demonstrated chimpanzee capacity for “warfare,” though conditions may have artificially increased aggression.

  • The passage discusses different origins of strategy based on Biblical accounts and observations of chimpanzee behavior.

  • Regarding chimps, Goodall observed they would avoid conflict if outnumbered but attack smaller groups, showing an instinct to assess power dynamics strategically. Similar patterns of opportunistic warfare have been seen in human hunter-gatherer societies.

  • The Biblical account suggests strategy and deception have long been human traits, seen in stories like Jacob tricking Isaac and Joseph’s brothers deceiving their father. While trickery is acknowledged, the best advice is to obey God.

  • God is portrayed as the ultimate strategist who allows human choice but ultimately manipulates events to demonstrate his power when obeyed or consequences when disobeyed, like with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. While individuals have free will, obeying God is the most important strategic calculation.

  • The passage explores the tension between free will and God’s omnipotence or manipulation in the Bible, and whether strategy emerged from human nature or as part of God’s divine plan.

The passage discusses the biblical story of the Exodus, in which God helped free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. It analyzes the story from the perspective that God’s main goal was not just freeing the Israelites, but asserting his power and greatness.

God used Moses to demand that the Egyptian Pharaoh “let my people go” to worship in the wilderness. When Pharaoh refused, God sent 10 plagues against Egypt to coerce Pharaoh into complying. The plagues escalated in severity, from nuisances to inflicting real pain to instilling absolute dread.

Despite the credible threats demonstrated by the plagues, Pharaoh resisted letting the Israelites go for a long time. He would promise to comply when under pressure from a plague, but then renege after it ended. The passage analyzes the strategic logic of this “turning of the screw” coercion method used on Pharaoh through progressively worsening plagues.

Eventually the 10th plague, killing the Egyptian firstborns, convinced Pharaoh to let the Israelites depart with all their possessions. But he changed his mind again and pursued them with his army. God then separated the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to escape while drowning the Egyptian forces.

  • Moses performed magic/signs that surpassed the Egyptian magicians, showing he could not be bluffed. However, as Moses escalated his demands, it became harder for Pharaoh to comply without losing face.

  • While Pharaoh is portrayed as obstinate, some scholars argue he was set up by God to refuse the demands so God could demonstrate his full power through plagues. This raises questions about free will.

  • God’s defeat of Egypt established his reputation and spread fear of his power. This made it easier for the Israelites to then conquer Canaan through coercion and intimidation of its inhabitants.

  • Stories like the conquest of Jericho and deception of Gibeonites reinforced that obeying God and following his instructions was the best strategy for success against hostile enemies like the Midianites.

  • The iconic story of David and Goliath portrayed the young David as an underdog but with God’s protection, even against a heavily armed giant like Goliath. David’s faith in God overcame any disadvantages from his youth or lack of armor.

  • Ancient Greek literature had a major influence on later strategic thinking, even more so than the Bible. Stories depicted heroes with both physical strength (biē) and cunning/trickery (mētis).

  • Homer contrasted Achilles, the man of action, with Odysseus, known for his intelligence and cunning. This set up an ongoing tension in strategic thought between relying on force vs guile.

  • Mētis referred to a strategic intelligence involving forethought, attention to detail, understanding others, and resourcefulness. But it also implied deception.

  • Figures like Pericles showed the importance of persuasion - the ability to manipulate both words and deeds was vital for a strategist. Good strategy required a combination of physical action and verbal skill.

  • Enlightenment thinkers began applying reason more systematically to understand power, war, and political affairs. This lessened the role of divine intervention and opened up strategic thinking. Plato played a major role in this development through his philosophy.

  • Key elements of Greek strategic thought that endured included the tension between force and guile, the importance of persuasion and manipulating both words and deeds, and the emphasis on applying reason and forethought to political and military affairs. This Greek influence was arguably more profound than that of the Bible.

  • Zeus swallowed Metis (wisdom goddess) to prevent her power from becoming too great and controlling him. However, she was already pregnant with Athena.

  • Athena was born from Zeus’ head, fully formed. She became associated with wisdom and cunning (metis).

  • Odysseus exemplified metis through his ability to cleverly evaluate situations, think ahead, and stay focused on his goals even in ambiguity. He used indirect, psychological methods to confuse and outwit opponents.

  • Odysseus’ ruse of the Trojan Horse allowed the Greeks to end the decade-long siege of Troy and destroy the city after the Trojans took the horse inside the gates, convinced by the trickery of Sinon.

  • Homer portrayed Odysseus’ cunning in a more positive light compared to Virgil, who viewed it as deplorable. Sinon was later placed in Hell for fraudulent rhetoric.

  • Homer contrasted metis with biê, or brute force, exemplified by Achilles. While the Iliad focused more on biê, the Odyssey centered on metis. Metis alone was not enough to defeat Troy.

  • Thucydides was an Athenian strategos (general) who was exiled for 20 years after failing to prevent a Spartan occupation. This gave him time to observe and research affairs carefully.

  • He wrote the definitive history of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta from 431-404 BCE, which Sparta ultimately won, diminishing Athens’ power.

  • As a historian of the enlightenment era, he rejected explanations for events based on gods/fate and instead analyzed human decisions and behavior, exemplifying a calculated, unsentimental approach.

  • He emphasized accurate empirical research and dismissed capricious explanations. His work illuminated strategic themes like limits of circumstances, coalition dynamics, challenges of internal/external pressures, difficulties of defensive strategies, and impacts of the unexpected.

  • He is sometimes seen as a founder of realism due to descriptions of power’s irresistibility and the imperviousness of the strong to morality. However, his focus was more on examining choices and consequences through a dogged empiricism.

  • Thucydides viewed human affairs realistically, not how he wished them to be. He presented a complex, fluid picture where momentary strength could hide weakness.

  • While quoting arguments that powers followed imperatives of power, Thucydides did not necessarily endorse these views. He reported alternative, even idealistic views.

  • Thucydides asserted the Peloponnesian War was made inevitable by the growth of Athenian power and Spartan fear, though others dispute this.

  • Tensions grew as Athens’ empire made allies restless and Sparta felt pressure from Corinth to confront Athens. Disputes between Corinth, Corcyra and Megara contributed to tensions.

  • Sparta initially voted for war but sent diplomats to Athens, almost reaching compromise. Pericles’ forceful argument against Sparta’s refusal of arbitration helped sway Athens to war.

  • The war resulted from a series of bad judgments, not inevitability, though structural tensions between the alliances created space for war advocates. Compromise was possible at various points but leaders chose confrontation instead.

Athens and Sparta were able to maintain the Thirty Years’ Peace because leaders on both sides were willing to restrain aggressive urges and pursue moderation in order to preserve the peace. However, each side also had more hawkish factions that disliked moderation and argued for war. Tensions increased as lesser powers like Corinth and Corcyra pursued their own interests and attempted to influence Athens and Sparta. This undermined the more conciliatory leaders’ ability to continue moderate strategies. Both Athens and Sparta felt pressure to take harder lines to appease aggressive factions, even as their leaders still sought compromise. Ultimately, events spiraled out of control as each side reacted to the other, leading to the Peloponnesian War breaking out despite the leaders’ intent to maintain peace.

This passage summarizes several key points:

  • Thucydides and Plato both observed how language and rhetoric struggled to keep up with reality during times of turmoil, with words becoming more like slogans devoid of true meaning.

  • Diodotus argued that in a democracy, citizens should make rational arguments honestly instead of using deception, but that deception was being rewarded more.

  • Thucydides described how in the civil war in Corcyra, social order broke down and language became corrupted, with recklessness called courage, etc.

  • Plato developed a critical view of the sophists, portraying them as lacking seriousness and truth-seeking and just using persuasive rhetoric for money. However, this view has since been discredited.

  • Plato envisioned philosophers as rulers because they could grasp the highest forms of knowledge and use it to care for citizens. But this contradicted his emphasis on truth and risked totalitarianism. He also advocated “noble lies” to keep social order.

  • Plato helped establish philosophy as a specialized profession separate from direct political engagement, in contrast to earlier thinkers who directly engaged social/political questions.

  • The passage contrasts two approaches to warfare - one involving direct confrontation and willingness to die honorably, the other involving deception and cunning to survive.

  • In ancient Greece under Homer, strategies involving cunning like Odysseus were respected. But under the Romans, a preference emerged for more direct, honorable confrontation over trickery. Roman historians saw Greek and Punic tactics as relying too much on deception rather than open combat.

  • However, the attraction of trickery remained. One Roman writer, Valerius Maximus, described military deceptions or “stratagems” positively as ways to accomplish more than through direct force alone.

  • Another writer, Frontinus, distinguished between general “strategy” and more specific “stratagems” involving skill and cunning. His book collected Roman examples of stratagems.

  • In Chinese culture, deception and cunning were more accepted and praised as essential to effective strategy. The model was Sun Tzu’s book The Art of War, which emphasized using deception and avoiding direct confrontation to defeat enemies without fighting.

  • Sun Tzu advocated tactics like appearing weak when strong and divided when united. Key was gaining intelligence on enemies and driving wedges between them. While his book became influential, its approaches worked best when only one side followed them.

François Jullien drew comparisons between the Chinese approach to war as exemplified by Sun Tzu, and the Chinese use of language. In both warfare and rhetorical debates, the Chinese preferred an indirect and implicit style that avoided direct confrontation and risk. This style emphasized dodging, harrying the opponent, and keeping them off-balance through subtle implications rather than making clear arguments that could be directly refuted.

Jullien contrasted this with the Athenians, who preferred a more direct and decisive approach both in battle and argument. In battle, they organized troops into phalanxes for maximum impact against enemies. Their orators made direct cases in public debates that could be conclusively decided. However, critics argue that Western military thought up until the Napoleonic era often emphasized avoiding pitched battles as well, through strategies like harassment and wearing down the enemy over time. While some praised decisive battles, experienced commanders recognized their risks and advocated alternative approaches when possible. In medieval warfare, battles also served a conventional role for temporarily resolving disputes, rather than always being the primary goal.

Here is a summary of the key points about Machiavelli in the passage:

  • Machiavelli was a Florentine diplomat, bureaucrat, political adviser, and philosopher known for his pragmatic approach to politics.

  • His most famous work was The Prince, a handbook for rulers that asserted rulers should prioritize self-interest and realpolitik over morality and virtue. This went against prevailing norms and ideas of statecraft at the time.

  • Machiavelli advocated for cunning, deception, and pragmatic actions over purely virtuous ones if it ensured the ruler’s survival and power. This made him highly controversial, especially to the Church.

  • His ideas came to be seen as morally dubious and came to be associated with untrustworthy manipulation. The term “Machiavellian” came to describe deceitful behavior justified by ends rather than means.

  • As a political thinker excluded from power, Machiavelli took a detached, empirical perspective, aiming to reflect contemporary practical morality rather than an idealized one. He emphasized attentiveness to conflicts of interest and potential resolutions through force or trickery.

  • His other major work was The Art of War, which addressed military organization and strategy with a focus on ensuring loyalty, discipline, and defeating enemies thoroughly so they could not regroup. Oratory and winning without battle were also emphasized.

  • Machiavelli saw human nature as fickle, greedy, and self-interested, emphasizing the need for rulers to be feared rather than loved if they could not be both, and to appear virtuous while acting pragmatically when necessary for survival.

  • Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost explores themes of free will and predestination through the story of Adam and Eve’s temptation by Satan in the Garden of Eden.

  • Milton sides with the theological view that humans have free will and can choose between good and evil, against the Calvinist view that everything is preordained by God.

  • In the poem, Satan is portrayed as a cunning and manipulative figure who embodies Machiavellian strategy. He rebels against God but is defeated.

  • Over time, Satan evolved from being a loyal but adversarial angel in the Bible to being portrayed as the literal embodiment and source of evil who actively seeks to corrupt humanity.

  • Milton uses Satan’s actions and strategies in the poem to examine issues of temptation, manipulation, rebellion against authority, and the relationship between free will and God’s omnipotence. Satan tries to undermine God’s plan but is ultimately constrained by God’s power.

  • The depiction of Satan draws on Machiavelli’s ideas about effective political strategy and leadership while also showing the limits of such an amoral approach when opposing the will of an omnipotent God.

  • Milton’s Paradise Lost depicts Satan leading a rebellion against God in heaven. Satan is upset that God’s son is declared his equal.

  • A third of the angels follow Satan in battle against God. They fight for 3 days, using cannon on the second day, until God intervenes and defeats the rebels.

  • The fallen angels, led by Satan, settle in a new home called Hell/Pandemonium. At their first meeting there, Satan remains defiant against God and several options for responding to their defeat are debated.

  • Moloch recommends open war for revenge, while Belial argues for “ignoble ease and peaceful sloth”, doubting they can achieve anything. Their immortal nature makes victory and defeat unclear. The debate models how a defeated organization might reformulate strategy.

  • Satan makes a point that force and guile cannot succeed against God, who sees all things. Belial proposes waiting for God to relent, but Mammon ridicules this and the idea of war.

  • Mammon instead proposes developing the possibilities of Hell and founding an empire in emulation of Heaven through long-term policy. The devils like this idea.

  • Satan had already planned his preferred strategy - to tempt humans to join the devils’ rebellion. Beelzebub proposes this, undermining attempts to storm Heaven directly.

  • Satan tempts Eve with the fruit, hoping to turn humans against God. This would tilt the balance of power. However, Adam and Eve choose God after eating the fruit, defeating Satan’s plan.

  • Satan acknowledges God’s omnipotence but his pride prevents submission. His strategy of deception could initially succeed but ultimately fail because no one can outwit an omniscient God. Satan lacks Machiavelli’s pragmatism and fails to reconsider his unwinnable strategy.

  • Satan plays a necessary role as God’s adversary to demonstrate God’s power, but is doomed to self-defeating moves against an omnipotent opponent. Milton provides God with a clever but not too clever enemy.

The early 19th century saw the emergence of strategy as a modern military concept. Before this period, wars were limited in scope and generals had to remain close to the front lines due to slow communication and transport. Napoleon Bonaparte helped usher in new approaches to warfare using mass armies and ambitious strategic objectives that could destroy enemy states.

The French Revolution unleashed political and social forces that transformed warfare. It led to large popular armies that could be transported over long distances to fight total wars engaging entire nations, not limited conflicts. With Napoleon, war became a means to challenge the very existence of other states, not just a form of bargaining.

This new style of warfare removed incentives to compromise and encouraged the total defeat of enemies. Military maneuvers now aimed to draw forces into decisive battles that could eliminate whole armies and subjugate states. Scholars like Baron Henri Jomini and Carl von Clausewitz developed theories of strategy during this period of political turmoil and challenges in commanding mass forces over large territories. They sought to understand how to mobilize, move, and direct huge armies in complex campaigns.

  • The focus was shifting to achieving decisive battles that could politically defeat the enemy, rather than viewing battles as simply resolving disputes through chance outcomes.

  • The idea of decisive annihilating battles became firmly implanted in military thinking in the 19th century. This view replaced the older idea of battles as resolving disputes through chance rather than inflicting a politically hopeless defeat.

  • The notion of viewing battles as a chance outcome had existed since the medieval era but was weakening. It depended on monarchies resolving wars over dynastic or territorial disputes rather than nationalist causes.

  • The concept of strategy began emerging in the late 18th/early 19th century as a way to apply reason and science to war planning. It distinguished between tactics for small-scale combat and strategy for overall war plans and campaigns.

  • Strategy became a distinct field involving specialist advisors offering strategic advice and products reflecting the complexity of state conflicts and power dynamics beyond just military engagements.

  • In the 18th century, strategy began to be studied more systematically as a way to plan military campaigns in advance, taking into account factors like supply lines, firepower, fortifications, etc. Improved maps also allowed commanders to plot out potential operations spatially.

  • Early theorists like Henry Lloyd and Heinrich Dietrich von Bulow contributed ideas like “lines of operations” and sought to represent warfare mathematically. However, their scientific approaches were not always adopted in practice.

  • Napoleon built on the achievements of earlier commanders like Frederick the Great but took strategy to a new level through bold execution. He preferred to let his actions speak for themselves rather than explaining his approach theoretically.

  • Napoleon focused on destroying the enemy’s army through decisive battles to achieve political goals. He would concentrate superior strength at weak points and follow up with attacks to the rear or flanks. This required risks but he was not reckless, waiting for the right moment.

  • While drawing on Enlightenment military thought, Napoleon’s genius was in adapting ideas contextually and daringly putting theories into action through his leadership and run of victories. He sought to generate maximum violence through concentration to shatter opposing armies.

  • The Battle of Borodino in 1812 was a major battle between Napoleon’s French forces and the Russian army, involving around 250,000 men total with around 75,000 killed, wounded or captured.

  • While Napoleon’s forces nominally won the battle by holding the battlefield at the end of the day, the Russian army was not annihilated as he hoped. Many Russian forces escaped and Russia had a large population that could absorb the losses.

  • Napoleon was in poor health and form for the battle, seeming disengaged and indecisive compared to his usual self. His subordinates fought without much coordination.

  • The Russian general Kutuzov managed an orderly retreat after the battle rather than being defeated, allowing Napoleon to take Moscow but then leaving him stranded without a decisive victory.

  • Neither side achieved a clear victory but it had important consequences - Napoleon was unable to end the war and complete his invasion, forcing his disastrous retreat from Moscow with most of his army destroyed.

Here is a summary of the key points about Clausewitz from the passage:

  • Carl von Clausewitz was a Prussian military theorist and veteran of the Napoleonic Wars. He fought against Napoleon but was initially impressed by his military genius.

  • He witnessed Napoleon’s defeat in the French invasion of Russia in 1812 and helped organize the defection of Prussian troops to the Russian side.

  • Clausewitz did not consider the Battle of Borodino a strategic masterpiece, finding little “art or superior intelligence” in how it was fought.

  • After the wars, he wrote his seminal work On War but died before completing it. It was published posthumously.

  • On War explored the complex and unpredictable nature of war, arguing it is an extension of politics rather than a rational activity. It established Clausewitz as one of the most influential theorists of modern warfare.

Here is a summary of the key points about Clausewitz’s strategy from the passage:

  • Clausewitz developed an influential conceptual framework for understanding war in his book On War. His thesis that “war is a continuation of policy by other means” established that political goals should guide strategy.

  • While politics sets the terms, the military-political relationship is complex due to the “trinity” of primordial violence, chance/probability, and rational calculation that shape war. Politics cannot dictate strategy without considering the realities of combat.

  • “Friction” refers to unforeseen complications that arise in war and make plans difficult to execute smoothly. Anticipating friction is an important part of strategy.

  • Clausewitz saw the role of the strategist as translating political goals into a specific military aim and series of steps to achieve victory. Strategists should go to war with a clear plan rather than excessive flexibility.

  • Reliance on intelligence is risky given contradictions and biases, so strategists cannot abandon their original plan lightly due to new information. Both sides experience friction, so it is not an excuse for defeat. Overall preparation and determination are more important than last-minute changes.

  • The passage discusses several key concepts from Clausewitz’s work On War, including friction, the culminating point of victory, and the center of gravity.

  • Friction refers to the unexpected difficulties that arise in war that hamper plans and efforts. Good generalship aims to overcome friction through careful planning and presence of mind.

  • The culminating point of victory is the point at which further attacks could lead to reversal of fortunes. It is important for campaign planning.

  • The center of gravity is the source of the enemy’s strength - the point where mass is most concentrated. Striking the enemy’s center of gravity can disrupt and defeat them. However, identifying it is not always clear.

  • Clausewitz argued that superior numbers provided the most reliable means of success. Simple plans well executed were better than complex ones. Defense was generally stronger than offense due to advantages like shorter supply lines.

  • Policy linked statesmen and generals, with policy providing objectives and resources for the military to achieve victory and impose terms on the defeated enemy.

  • Clausewitz understood war as being influenced by several interrelated factors - policy/reason of state, chance/probability, and popular passion. Each state’s trinity consisted of these elements in tension both within itself and between opposing states.

  • While policy and strategy aimed to rationally direct war for limited political ends, popular passions and forces could end up dominating and usurping policy. This made it difficult to anticipate outcomes and confine war to proportionate means.

  • Napoleon’s career showed relying solely on military victory was insufficient, as opponents would learn counters and nations resisted regardless of defeat. A lasting political victory was not guaranteed from military success alone.

  • The problem remained of how to relate ends to means in war and ensure military victory achieved the desired political results, given resistance forces were hard to measure. Debates continued on this issue after Clausewitz.

  • Leo Tolstoy’s experience in the Crimean War influenced his views on history and war. He witnessed the arbitrary nature of conflict and the suffering of ordinary soldiers.

  • In works like War and Peace, Tolstoy challenged conventional views of history and strategy. He disputed the “great man theory of history” which saw events as driven by leaders’ decisions. Instead, he emphasized the role of individual wills and unseen historical forces.

  • Tolstoy was critical of strategists like Clausewitz who thought they could rationally control events and direct wars from a distance. He saw commanders as ultimately deluded about their ability to command given the chaotic realities on the battlefield.

  • Tolstoy portrayed Napoleon as pretending to master events he couldn’t actually control at the Battle of Borodino. In contrast, he saw the Russian commander Kutuzov as having a deeper wisdom about allowing events to unfold without undue meddling.

  • Tolstoy’s ideas challenged views of history and strategy as sciences but were not meant to deny leaders could make impacts. However, his critique warned against overconfidence in rational war planning and control of complex military encounters.

  • There was debate in the Russian army about whether to abandon the camp at Drissa during Napoleon’s advancing campaign. Generals disagreed on whether having the river behind the camp was an advantage or disadvantage.

  • Prince Andrei listened to the many differing opinions and concluded there could be no true “science of war” or concept of military genius, as the conditions and strengths of forces were unknown and depended on many uncertain factors.

  • Success in battle depended more on the common soldiers and their shouts than the attributes or actions of commanders. War was inherently confusing and the link between orders and outcomes was unclear.

  • Tolstoy sought to diminish the idea that leaders could exert much control over events. While strategic decisions might shape outcomes to some degree, Tolstoy emphasized the many contingent factors beyond any one actor’s control.

  • Von Moltke was a highly successful Prussian commander influenced by Clausewitz. He emphasized logistics and recognizing political/military limits. In the 1870 Franco-Prussian War he demonstrated strategy could be consequential, though faced limitations from political demands and uncertainty in war.

  • Moltke believed the primary objective of operations was to destroy the enemy’s fighting power, not just capture territory. However, this approach did not work well for limited wars where destroying the entire enemy force was not commensurate with the effort required.

  • Moltke refused to be locked into rigid plans or systems. He told commanders they could not plan for war from “a green table” and had to respond to situations as they found them. He distrusted abstractions and generalizations. For Moltke, strategy was a “free, practical, artistic activity.”

  • Moltke pursued a strategy of strategic envelopment, concentrating superior forces faster than the enemy. Victory had to be swift to avoid others joining the war.

  • In 1866 against Austria, Moltke innovatively divided his army but kept them supplied until uniting for battle, despite the risks of this approach.

  • In 1870 against France, Moltke caught the French in multiple victories through advanced planning and mobilization, flexibility, and French mistakes. However, political victory did not automatically follow military victory.

  • There was tension between Moltke wanting total military control once battles began, while politicians like Bismarck saw strategy and war aims as political questions even during fighting.

  • Moltke is seen as establishing the operational level of war as one where commanders expect no political interference in implementing strategy.

  • German military historian Hans Delbrück identified two main strategies in war - annihilation and exhaustion. Annihilation sought a decisive battle to destroy the enemy’s army, while exhaustion involved various means of wearing down the enemy over an extended campaign, such as occupying territory and blockades.

  • Delbrück argued flexibility was important in choosing a strategy based on political realities and practical military capacity, not a predetermined preference for annihilation or exhaustion. Exhaustion did not preclude battles but sought to undermine the enemy’s will and ability to continue fighting through sustained pressure.

  • Delbrück’s analysis sparked fierce debates with German general staff historians who favored Frederick the Great’s view of seeking decisive battles over limited war. However, dichotomizing strategies overly simplified complex options.

  • The American Civil War showed the complex relationship between theory and practice. While the North’s industrial strength led to victory, Confederate generals often took the initiative, perhaps hoping for a decisive battle. Union generals were influenced by Jomini’s teachings but cautious due to new defenses like rifles and trenches.

  • The war ended up being one of exhaustion as Grant imposed relentless fighting on Lee’s dwindling forces until the Confederacy collapsed. Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation and use of black troops also undermined the South over time.

  • In the late 19th century, French and British military theorists promoted the doctrine of the offensive, believing that strong morale and determination could enable forces to overcome enemy firepower and charge against defenses.

  • A key text was Battle Studies by Ardant du Picq, which argued that the emotional and moral state of the individual soldier was paramount. It influenced French military thinking.

  • German strategists like von Moltke believed Germany needed to achieve a quick victory in any future war to avoid being squeezed by enemies from both east and west. German plans aimed to knock out one enemy before engaging the other through an offensive strategy focused on outflanking and enveloping opponents.

  • Alfred von Schlieffen believed precise planning and bringing superior numbers to bear were essential. His plan for defeating France and Russia violated Belgian neutrality in hopes of reducing military risks.

  • The German offensive in 1914 was shaped by a century of military thought focused on decisive victory through maneuver according to tactical and operational principles. It assumed the offense would usually be stronger than defense.

  • The passage discusses naval strategy and theorists in the 19th century, when Britain dominated sea power. Command of the sea allowed free movement of ships while denying the enemy.

  • Alfred Thayer Mahan was influential in developing theories of sea power. He argued a country’s naval power depended on its economic power, and controlling the sea was crucial, as seen in Britain’s rise. However, his ideas focused more on decisive battles than actual deployment of naval forces.

  • Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz of Germany also aimed for decisive battles to gain command of the sea, modeling naval warfare after land warfare.

  • Britain lacked a major naval strategist, but Julian Corbett provided the most substantial critique. He questioned the focus on decisive battles and naval offensives, and argued for limited war at sea, in contrast to the dominant concepts.

  • While Mahan and Tirpitz sought to promote their countries’ naval power, Corbett took a more moderate analytical approach and challenged myths of British naval history from his position in naval education and policymaking.

  • Corbett argued that Britain’s naval strategy achieved a lot with limited resources through a series of limited engagements for limited purposes. This allowed British naval and military action to have outsized impact.

  • Limited war was more possible at sea compared to continental Europe where states were neighboring and nationalist sentiments ran high, increasing the stakes of war.

  • The goal of naval engagements was not total destruction of the enemy fleet but exerting pressure to achieve political/strategic ends, through blockade or attacks on commerce.

  • Major strategy considered political/economic factors and how land and sea forces should be coordinated to achieve wartime goals, not viewed separately. Wars are usually decided by land forces’ actions.

  • Naval strategy focused on controlling communications at sea through passage/denial, rather than possession, leading offensive and defensive operations to blur. Command of the sea was usually disputed.

  • Corbett felt the decisive battle sought by Mahan was not always necessary or possible, and dispersal had strategic advantages over concentration of forces.

So in summary, Corbett advocated a more limited, politically-oriented naval strategy compared to Mahan’s focus on securing command through decisive battle.

  • The passage discusses early 20th century theories around developing new technologies of war, particularly air power, and their potential strategic implications.

  • During WWI, both sides saw potential in long-range strategic bombing to demoralize the civilian population and undermine the enemy’s war effort. However, aircraft capabilities were still limited. Plans by figures like Trenchard, Gorrell, and Douhet laid the groundwork for post-war air power doctrine.

  • Gorrell proposed a massive bombing campaign targeting Germany’s industrial complex to cut off supplies to the front. This relied on assumptions about civilians being demoralized and pressuring their governments for peace. But production capacity made the plan unrealistic.

  • Post-war air power advocates argued air power provided an independent route to victory if given its own command. Bombardment could attain war aims without needing to defeat enemy armies on the ground. The defense was seen as dominant on land, so air power could circumvent this by directly attacking the civilian population and will to fight. However, capabilities still lagged visions at this stage.

  • Early airpower theorists like Douhet and Trenchard argued that strategic bombing of an enemy’s vital centers and infrastructure could undermine its war effort and force it to surrender, without needing to first defeat its armed forces. The offense would be stronger than defense in air warfare.

  • Bombing raids could cause panic and demoralization among the civilian population, putting pressure on governments to abandon the war due to social/political upheaval. destruction itself was less important than its effects.

  • Attacking first was essential to gain “command of the air” and destroy the enemy’s air force and factories before it could retaliate. Preemptive strikes were advocated.

  • Practical challenges included bombers being vulnerable without fighter escort, difficulties with accuracy in bombing, and the risk of enemy retaliation without a quick victory.

  • The theories relied on speculative assumptions about breaking an enemy’s social/political structures and obliging elites to respond to hysterical public opinion, but the actual mechanisms for forcing surrender were unclear.

  • Fuller was an early proponent of armored warfare, recognizing tanks’ revolutionary potential after WWI. He advocated large-scale tank production and offensive doctrines to enable decisive tank warfare in the future.

  • Basil Liddell Hart was shaped by his experiences in WW1 where he was gassed and wounded at the Somme, leading him to believe future wars should avoid senseless slaughter.

  • While Fuller was a more original thinker, Liddell Hart had a clearer writing style that made his ideas more accessible.

  • Liddell Hart gained more recognition after WW2 partly due to unstinting support for a new generation of scholars who developed military strategy in academia rather than as freelancers like Liddell Hart.

  • His ideas about limited war gained traction as nuclear weapons emerged, giving new meaning to the idea of total war and its unsustainability.

  • A key concept was the “indirect approach” - aiming to paralyze the enemy’s coordination and cooperation rather than targeting its military forces directly through destructive attrition battles. This sought to achieve victory more efficiently with less bloodshed.

So in summary, Liddell Hart built on Fuller’s ideas but communicated them more clearly, and his emphasis on limited war and indirectly paralyzing the enemy rather than direct attrition gained more influence after WWII.

  • Basil Liddell Hart was a British military historian and strategist in the first half of the 20th century. He advocated for the use of an “indirect approach” in warfare, seeking to achieve victory through maneuver and avoiding direct confrontation when possible.

  • His ideas were initially derivative of other military thinkers like J.F.C. Fuller. However, he was an effective self-promoter and claimed his ideas were more original than they really were.

  • He criticized German generals for carrying out total war during WWII, arguing British generals should have adopted his approach of indirect warfare and maneuver instead of direct confrontation.

  • After his death, historians challenged his self-promotion and portrayal of events, though the idea of the “indirect approach” continued gaining popularity.

  • Liddell Hart drew ideas from various sources like Fuller, T.E. Lawrence, and Julian Corbett but did not properly credit them. He developed his concept of the “indirect approach” in the 1920s-30s as an alternative to direct confrontation and decisive battles.

  • He strongly criticized Clausewitz and portrayed his ideas as advocating for total war and direct attacks, though Liddell Hart later acknowledged their views were not that different. He felt Clausewitz’s ideas had led to the bloodiness of WWI.

  • Liddell Hart defined his ideal strategy as achieving victory with the least fighting through psychological and physical maneuver to dislocate the enemy rather than destroy their forces in battle. This drew similarities to Eastern military thinkers like Sun Tzu.

  • B.H. Liddell Hart advocated for an “indirect approach” in warfare, seeking to defeat the enemy through maneuver and deception rather than direct confrontation. The goal was to force the enemy into conceding defeat before an actual battle took place.

  • However, implementing an indirect approach faced practical challenges around coordination, the impact of chance events, and dealing with an equally intelligent opponent also trying indirect moves. Campaigns Liddell Hart admired often still involved attrition.

  • He advocated for naval blockade and air power to undermine the enemy’s morale and logistics. But taking territory was still needed to compel an enemy’s surrender. Successful indirect maneuvers required effective military dominance, which usually meant direct contact with enemy forces.

  • Churchill’s decision to continue fighting Germany even after the fall of France in 1940 initially seemed to make little strategic sense, as Britain’s position was dire. However, strategic decisions are better viewed based on available options rather than desired end states.

  • Churchill rejected calls for a negotiated peace because the potential terms did not seem preferable to continued resistance given Britain still had fighting capacity. Strategy for Churchill involved a flexible framework rather than rigid plans, as the course of war could not be predicted. Coalition warfare would be central to Britain’s strategy.

  • The end of WW2 brought tensions between the US and Soviet Union, foreshadowing a potential “third world war”. This gave rise to the term “cold war”, referring to an antagonistic standoff short of direct military conflict.

  • Writers like Orwell and Brodie realized nuclear weapons completely changed the dynamics of war and geopolitics. Orwell foresaw superstates dividing the world and using nukes to suppress revolts, leading to a kind of ominous “peace that is no peace”.

  • Brodie, a military historian, recognized all his previous work on strategy was now obsolete. Nuclear weapons required rethinking deterrence, coercion, and the strategic purposes these new superweapons could serve. How could nations defend themselves without risking annihilation?

  • This set the stage for decades of nuclear brinkmanship and deterrence theory as the US and USSR accumulated staggering arsenals and faced the task of convincing the other they would use nukes first, while also trying to avoid accidental war. It was a delicate balance.

  • Bernard Brodie recognized that nuclear weapons fundamentally changed the purpose of military power from winning wars to deterring them. He advocated for a more analytical and civilian-led approach to strategic thinking.

  • RAND Corporation pioneered the use of quantitative, systems-based analysis methods drawn from operations research, economics, and other fields to study complex military/strategic problems. This transformed strategic thought.

  • Civilian strategists and analysts, trained in these new analytical methods, came to dominate the field over traditional military officers. Figures like Robert McNamara applied these techniques to challenge long-held military preferences and priorities.

  • Without direct experience of nuclear war, speculative and abstract modeling became important supplements to traditional military experience for studying problems of deterrence that had no precedent. This suited the analytical skills of civilian experts.

  • Robert McNamara is considered one of the most effective members of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, bringing rational, analytical approaches to issues like weapons procurement.

  • However, his methods were inappropriate for fighting the politically complex war in Vietnam. This failure ultimately sullied his reputation.

  • Senior military officers viewed with alarm the civilians like McNamara who lacked combat experience but pontificated on military tasks. This resentment was exacerbated as civilians challenged programs and budgets.

  • Game theory emerged from the work of John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern. It presented conflict situations as games of imperfect information where deception and unpredictability could be logical strategies.

  • Game theory was seen as a way to apply scientific methods to strategic issues like warfare. However, its actual influence on nuclear strategy was slight. And while improving Pentagon decision making in some areas, it also had limitations in considering political factors.

So in summary, McNamara brought quantitative analysis but it failed in Vietnam, while game theory aimed to scientifically approach strategy but had challenges in implementation and considering non-quantitative aspects of conflict.

  • Game theory gained popularity for addressing problems with multiple decision-makers and offering mathematical solutions. However, early critics like Jessie Bernard argued it assumed a low view of human nature and encouraged amorality.

  • A key breakthrough was exploring non-zero-sum games where all players can gain or lose together. The prisoner’s dilemma experiment demonstrated how rational players may not cooperate even if it leads to a worse outcome.

  • Game theory was seen as relevant for understanding the nuclear strategy dilemma during the Cold War. The nuclear standoff could be modeled as a non-zero-sum game where both sides lose in a war. However, game theory had limits in generating real policies.

  • The development of thermonuclear weapons in the 1950s transformed the nuclear landscape by making weapons with virtually unlimited destructive potential. This sparked significant analysis of deterrence through collaborative creative methods to cope with unique demands of nuclear strategy.

  • Deterrence is based on the idea that threatening punishment can dissuade an opponent from taking provocative actions. It involves deliberately threatening pain to induce caution.

  • During World War 2, Britain believed deterrence through threatening retaliation was the only way to deter German aggression, as they lacked capabilities for long-range attacks. However, raids on civilian populations had limited political effects.

  • The development of nuclear weapons raised questions about their role and dramatically increased the dread of total war. Deterrence emerged as a way to prevent future wars through threatening retaliation so catastrophic that aggression would not be worth the risk.

  • Credible deterrence required convincingly conveying a willingness to use devastating force through threats of possibly reckless retaliation. However, actual use of overwhelming force was undesirable, so reserve strength was more beneficial than full use.

  • Over time, deterrence appeared to be working as crises were resolved cautiously without war. However, ensuring credibility as threats expanded beyond direct attack on the US to allies grew more difficult. Theories explored proportional vs disproportionate retaliation and controlled escalation.

  • The theorist Thomas Schelling significantly advanced understanding of deterrence and conflict through game theory analysis, exploring analogous reasoning around coercion and crisis bargaining relevant beyond nuclear issues.

  • Thomas Schelling did not think strategy could be reduced to formal logic or mathematics. He found advanced game theory useful as a conceptual framework but not as something that could be directly applied to real-world problems.

  • Other nuclear strategists at RAND in the 1950s similarly talked about following the “spirit” of game theory rather than its strict rules and models. Few books on nuclear strategy at the time made much mention of game theory.

  • Schelling developed ideas about coercion, deterrence, and compellence. He argued that the ability to inflict harm or suffering on an enemy had value as a bargaining tool, even if the violence was never actually carried out.

  • Coercion involved influencing an opponent through threats rather than direct control of their actions. Deterrence meant persuading an enemy not to attack, while compellence meant inducing withdrawal or acquiescence through threats.

  • For nuclear threats to be credible, Schelling argued states may need to limit their own control and create an essentially irrational situation, forcing the enemy to choose between continuing conflict or backing down. This shifted the burden of decision onto the opponent.

So in summary, the passage discusses Schelling’s pragmatic and critical view of game theory, and his novel concepts around coercion, deterrence, compellence, and creating irrational or uncontrollable situations to enhance the credibility of threats.

The passage discusses Thomas Schelling’s concept of the “rationality of irrationality” in nuclear deterrence and crisis bargaining. It argues that making a threatened action appear automatic and unstoppable, like a doomsday device, is unacceptable. However, leaving some element of chance and lack of complete control can make a threat credible. This sets up a competition in risk-taking where the opponent knows the threat may still be implemented even if the threatener has second thoughts.

Schelling uses the game theory example of “chicken” to illustrate how appearing irrational, like pretending to be drunk, could convince the opponent you are willing to risk disaster. However, there are limits to pretending irrationality for governments who need to convince their own people. Repeatedly using deceptive strategies or pretending to lose control also becomes less effective over time as adversaries learn each other’s behaviors.

Communication between adversaries is therefore important. Without direct communication, they may rely on indirect means like natural focal points, norms, and visual analogies to coordinate expectations. However, without verification, there is risk of miscalculation. The possibility of a decisive “first strike” nuclear attack also loomed in calculations of risk between the two sides in the Cold War.

In the 1950s, strategists grappled with how to develop nuclear deterrence in a world of growing and changing capabilities on both sides. A RAND study by Albert Wohlstetter showed that the U.S. nuclear arsenal could be vulnerable to a surprise attack, undermining deterrence. This highlighted the importance of developing a “second-strike capability” - being able to absorb an attack but still retaliate.

The development of capabilities on both sides could lead to instability in different ways. If both sides had a first-strike capability, there may be pressure to preempt out of fear the other would strike first. But if neither side could launch a decisive first strike, stability could be high as there would be no incentive to initiate a nuclear war.

Schelling argued nuclear systems should ensure a second-strike response focused on cities rather than military targets, as weapons targeting forces could encourage first strikes. Hard-to-find systems like submarines were good for stability. Paradoxically, higher weapon levels made arms control agreements easier to maintain, as cheating would be harder. By the mid-1960s, mutual assured destruction provided stability as long as both sides could impose “unacceptable damage.” However, escalation dynamics in a conflict remained dangerous and hard to control. Strategists tried to shape bargaining space through limited uses of force while avoiding uncontrolled escalation.

  • In the 1950s, there was uncertainty about whether a third world war could be indefinitely postponed, given memories of past wars. The logic of deterrence was important to understand as an alternative to attempts to circumvent it.

  • The core problem for US strategists was “extended deterrence” - the commitment to use nuclear weapons to aid non-nuclear allies. This became problematic once a stalemate was reached, as it seemed reckless to consider nuclear war on behalf of allies.

  • By the 1960s, the view emerged that reducing reliance on nuclear threats by increasing conventional forces could create “deterrence by denial.” But this was expensive and risked suggesting to Europe that its security was less important.

  • The Berlin crisis of 1961 tested these issues. Schelling’s ideas about limited nuclear conflict influenced President Kennedy. Crisis simulation games highlighted communication difficulties and the gap between conventional and nuclear war.

  • The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was an even greater test. Kennedy debated response options with advisors, considering air strikes versus a blockade and its implications for escalation. The choice of a blockade allowed flexibility while demonstrating resolve.

  • The passage describes a private letter from Khrushchev to Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis where Khrushchev warns of the dangers of escalating tensions and pulling on “the knot of war” which could tighten to the point that it cannot be untied.

  • It then discusses meetings between McNamara and others where they hypothetically script out how events could escalate from the U.S. shooting down a Soviet plane over Cuba, to attacking Cuban missile sites, to the Soviets retaliating against U.S. missiles in Turkey, and this potentially leading to a nuclear war between NATO and the Soviet Union.

  • McNamara took this scenario seriously enough to believe a nuclear war could start the next day if tensions continued rising. However, Kennedy and Khrushchev found a way to de-escalate by removing Soviet missiles from Cuba in exchange for a U.S. promise not to invade.

  • The passage discusses how the crisis challenged views of inevitable escalation and showed that with clear thinking, crises could be managed to avoid the worst outcomes. However, analysts like Kahn still sought to analyze escalation as something that could be manipulated to some degree through limited or controlled uses of nuclear weapons.

  • Bundy criticized such analyses for losing touch with how real leaders would view nuclear war and the prospect of damaging or destroying cities with nuclear weapons.

  • Guerrilla warfare has its origins in the tactics used by Spanish forces against the French occupation in the early 19th century, harassing and ambushing the enemy through local knowledge and support.

  • It is a defensive strategy aimed at exhausting the enemy through prolonged harassment rather than directly confronting them in battles. Irregular forces work best in support of conventional armies.

  • Clausewitz analyzed guerrilla warfare in his early work, seeing it as a form of defense. By the 1820s it had declined as a common strategy.

  • Guerrilla warfare could cause problems for occupiers but was not sufficient on its own. It worked best from rough terrain and when the enemy faced conventional forces as well.

  • Figures like Mazzini andGaribaldi raised the possibility of guerrilla insurrections but revolutions were still seen as relying on mass uprisings. Socialists expected disciplined armies rather than guerrilla fighters.

  • Experiences in the Spanish civil war and Russian revolution led some like Trotsky to recognize guerrilla warfare’s role but still see it as subordinate to conventional forces.

  • Thomas Lawrence developed new principles in the Arab revolt against the Ottomans from 1916-1918, advocating a war of detachment, harassment and exhaustion rather than direct confrontation through battle. This set new standards for colonial anti-insurgency campaigns.

  • T.E. Lawrence developed guerrilla tactics while leading Arab forces against the Ottoman Turks during World War 1. He believed in using a small, highly mobile force to take advantage of the Turks spreading their forces thin.

  • Lawrence’s tactics involved “tip and run” assaults rather than holding positions. Striking at one place and then moving elsewhere to maintain momentum and reduce enemy’s ability to target them. Speed, concealment and accurate fire were crucial.

  • These irregular tactics reduced the Turks to helplessness. However, Lawrence acknowledged the main factor in defeating the Ottomans was the conventional push by British forces under General Allenby.

  • Still, Lawrence’s campaign played a supporting role and was a “thrilling experiment” to prove irregular war could be a science. Key advantages included an unassailable base, an alien occupying enemy, and support from the local population.

  • Lawrence offered a 50-word synopsis that with mobility, security, time and winning over the population, insurgents can defeat a stronger enemy through “algebraic factors.”

  • Mao emphasized the importance of intelligence and understanding the enemy and oneself. He described basic principles of war as preserving oneself and annihilating the enemy.

  • Guerrilla warfare was a defensive strategy for Mao to preserve himself against a stronger occupying force. It relied on popular support and local knowledge. But it had limits and could not be used for a strategic offensive to seize power.

  • Mao saw the conflict progressing through three stages - defensive, stalemate, then strategic offensive once regular forces could be developed. But guerrilla units would play only a supporting role in the third stage.

  • Vo Nguyen Giap applied Maoist principles flexibly in Vietnam, moving between stages according to circumstances. Guerrilla warfare served to hold out until a true military capacity could be developed.

  • Counterinsurgency thinkers like Lansdale, Thompson, and Galula emphasized the importance of winning hearts and minds through responsive government, civic action programs, and protecting the local population to gain their cooperation and intelligence. A population-centric approach was seen as key to defeating communist insurgencies.

  • French counterinsurgency theorist Galula found that his theory did not fit the local political and military realities in Vietnam.

  • The attempt by French officers to develop a more ruthless counterinsurgency doctrine backfired, as they began criticizing the French government for lack of support and even attempted a coup.

  • U.S. counterinsurgency theory emphasized establishing security to introduce social programs and win over hearts and minds. But the military preferred search and destroy missions.

  • Discussions recognized the insurgency had domestic roots but it was often treated as a monolithic communist threat from outside.

  • Theories assumed local forces would handle fighting but left open what to do if they couldn’t cope. It was unclear if it was a local response or external communist pushing.

  • Early U.S. policy was influenced by civilian strategists like Schelling focusing on bargaining and coercive diplomacy through threats and limited force. But the military had more influence and wanted search and destroy tactics.

  • Schelling’s theories proved difficult to apply directly to Vietnam given the complexity of the situation on the ground.

  • The passage discusses the development of strategic thinking in the US military in the 1960s and 1970s after the Vietnam War. Civilian strategists withdrew from major strategic debates.

  • One exception was French general André Beaufre, who defined strategy philosophically as “the art of the dialectic of two opposing wills using force to resolve their dispute.” This broad view incorporated all elements of power and statecraft.

  • American readers found Beaufre’s philosophical approach difficult to follow. There was more interest in pragmatic, techncial discussions of strategy.

  • Admiral James Wylie proposed distinguishing between “sequential” and “cumulative” strategies. Sequential involved discrete steps to shape an outcome, while cumulative was more defensive through small accumulated actions over time.

  • In the 1970s interest revived in conventional warfare as new technologies emerged. Colonel John Boyd analyzed aerial dogfighting and proposed the influential “OODA loop” concept of observation, orientation, decision, action, arguing that getting through the loop faster than an opponent brings advantage.

Here is a summary of the key points about John Boyd’s theories:

  • Boyd never produced a definitive text himself. His ideas were contained in hundreds of slides called “Discourse on Winning and Losing” which he briefed to military audiences over decades.

  • His most famous concept was the OODA loop - Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action. This proposed that success in conflict comes from being able to complete the OODA loop faster than the opponent.

  • After retiring from the Air Force, Boyd embarked on extensive additional reading in history, social sciences, mathematics, and complexity theory. This reinforced his views about the challenges of maintaining initiative.

  • His work emphasized disrupting the enemy’s decision-making through creating uncertainty, confusion and denying them insights into patterns of one’s activities.

  • He distinguished between attrition warfare focused on firepower and maneuver warfare focused on surprise, ambiguity and deception to generate psychological effects.

  • A key example he used was the German blitzkrieg tactics in 1940 which allowed them to operate inside the French commanders’ OODA loops and paralyze their decision making.

  • His theories were influential in debates underway in the 1970s US military about reconceptualizing land warfare doctrine beyond just attrition and incorporating maneuver elements in light of new technologies and post-Vietnam lessons.

In summary, Boyd developed influential concepts around disrupting the enemy’s observation and decision cycles, and advocated for maneuver warfare approaches emphasizing psychology, initiative and ambiguity over attrition approaches. His ideas had considerable impact on US military thinking.

  • This passage discusses the traditional American military approach of using advanced equipment and professional training to hold defensive lines against an offensive enemy until a counterattack could weaken them.

  • However, this “attrition” approach was soon criticized by largely civilian defense specialists influenced by John Boyd’s theories of maneuver warfare. One prominent critic was William Lind, who argued maneuver warfare aims to break the enemy’s will through unexpected situations rather than just inflict casualties.

  • Within 5 years, the critics had apparently won and the US adopted the new doctrines of AirLand Battle in 1982 and operational art, emphasizing initiative, depth, agility and synchronization over attrition. Maneuver became the focus, allowing smaller forces to defeat larger ones through surprise and momentum.

  • Edward Luttwak further synthesized these ideas and argued the American military undervalued the “operational level” of war between tactics and strategy, instead relying too much on attrition and predictable firepower instead of maneuver and paradoxical thinking. This passage outlines the transition from attrition to maneuver warfare thinking in the US military.

This passage discusses the development of thinking around military strategy in the late 20th century, focusing on key figures like Clausewitz, Luttwak, Boyd, Liddell Hart, and Delbrück. Some key points:

  • Relational-maneuver warfare sought to avoid direct confrontation with enemy strength and instead attack weaknesses. This was seen as a compulsory approach for militaries with fewer resources.

  • There was a debate around returning to the classical military texts, but updating them for modern times given new understanding of cognition. However, the classics were often ambiguous and interpretations varied.

  • A main debate was around whether battle was necessary for victory, or if exhaustion/maneuver could also achieve victory. Delbrück distinguished between annihilation and exhaustion strategies.

  • Liddell Hart took the idea of maneuver further, contrasting it sharply with attrition/battle. However, it was unclear if maneuver could defeat whole states as easily as armies.

  • The concept of the “center of gravity” emerged from Clausewitz but was problematic and poorly defined. By the late 1980s it was a key part of Western military doctrine but implementation varied.

  • There was an ongoing debate around attrition vs. maneuver approaches to strategy and how to interpret the classical thinkers on these issues.

  • There was an ongoing assumption that tactical issues were short-term and not strategically important, while strategic issues were long-term and fateful. However, in limited wars single engagements could be decisive and influence the overall strategy.

  • During the 1990s, the US began talking about a “strategic corporal” whose tactical actions could influence operational and strategic levels.

  • There are also logistical, social, and technological dimensions to strategy in addition to just operations. Focusing only on operations risks ignoring these other factors.

  • There was no consensus on how to define or identify the “center of gravity.” Various definitions and methods were proposed but none gained widespread acceptance. Identifying the center of gravity proved difficult in practice.

  • Military history provided little support for a dichotomy between attrition and maneuver warfare. While maneuver has advantages, attrition approaches could also be effective depending on the situation and objectives.

  • There were dangers in an overfocus on the “operational level” as a politics-free zone, as this risked ignoring the political implications and context of military actions.

  • The success of Germany’s blitzkrieg tactics in 1940 persuaded Hitler that this was the way to win wars. However, the invasion of the Soviet Union showed the limitations of blitzkrieg as the offensive stalled out.

  • Developing maneuver-based strategies for NATO in the 1980s was appealing but difficult to implement in reality given political, economic and logistical constraints. Such strategies carried high risks.

  • Indirect, surprise approaches as advocated by Liddell Hart could work in theory but were difficult to execute in practice and depended heavily on maintaining secrecy. It was hard to sustain such approaches indefinitely.

  • The advantages of surprise could wear off over time as the enemy adjusted. Political objectives ultimately determined the success of a strategy, not tactical feats alone.

  • Boyd argued that creating confusion and moral breakdown in the enemy could enable success. However, this view simplistically assumed human minds would collapse under stress, when in reality people often show resilience, adaptation and variable responses to shocks. Mental prowess could absorb implications and regroup capabilities.

  • Maneuver-based strategies promising quick results through disruption of the enemy mind overlooked the complex realities of modern warfare, alliances and geopolitics. Tactical clarity did not guarantee strategic understanding.

This passage discusses the idea of a “revolution in military affairs” (RMA) that emerged in the US military thinking in the 1990s after the Gulf War. Some key points:

  • The success of precision-guided weapons and improved C4ISR systems in the Gulf War against Iraq seemed to demonstrate the potential of new technologies and operational concepts.

  • The Office of Net Assessment began exploring the possibility of an RMA, encouraged by Soviet discussions of a “military-technical revolution.” They wanted to examine the combined impact of precision weapons and new information technologies.

  • The RMA was seen as fundamentally altering warfare through the interaction of systems for collecting/processing information with those applying military force, creating a “system of systems.”

  • It promised to transform land warfare by allowing long-range precision strikes without constraints of time and space. Armies could remain agile and call in firepower from outside rather than rely on large, cumbersome divisions.

  • This vision was of quick, decisive, and limited wars like the Gulf War, providing a more “civilized” form of professional warfare without the destruction of total war or murkiness of insurgencies.

  • Publications like “Joint Vision 2010” developed concepts like “information superiority” and “shock and awe” to paralyze enemies before they could react.

So in summary, it discusses the emerging US concept of an RMA driven by new technologies and seeking to revolutionize warfare through precision long-range strikes and information dominance.

Here is a summary of the key points about military affairs:

  • Military affairs encompass both tangible and intangible elements like leadership, morale, training, situational awareness, and public opinion. It involves commander’s intent, doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures.

  • Precision warfare suits U.S. strengths as it can be capital-intensive rather than labor-intensive, allows outsmarting opponents, avoids high casualties, and conveys superiority with less effort. However, U.S. predominance also depends on sheer firepower.

  • The concept of the “revolution in military affairs” was shaped by political preferences for conflicts with quick, low-casualty victories. However, it had an unrealistic view of future warfare and ignored aspects like desperation, anger, and asymmetry.

  • Asymmetry involves weaker opponents seeking to impose pain rather than wins battles, targeting the domestic political base, and avoiding open battles. It becomes the optimal strategy against the overwhelming U.S. conventional capabilities.

  • The greatest threats involve weapons of mass destruction, but irregular warfare is a more likely asymmetric scenario for drawing the U.S. into a quagmire situation. Since Vietnam, the U.S. military has aimed to avoid potential irregular warfare situations.

  • Critics argued that the US focus on counterinsurgency in Vietnam distracted from the conventional nature of the war, which the North was always aiming for. The US paid insufficient attention to guerrilla warfare demands.

  • The US military emphasized “large-scale combat operations” and saw “operations other than war” like counterinsurgency as less important. This made them reluctant to develop doctrine for irregular wars.

  • 9/11 showed the dangers of asymmetric threats. The US response in Afghanistan succeeded initially due to air power and local allies, but nation-building proved difficult.

  • The Iraq war quickly removed Saddam but left security problems. Insurgencies arose amid poor security and reconstruction. The US struggled with counterinsurgency despite decades of neglecting it.

  • Officers rediscovered counterinsurgency classics to address Iraq problems. Figures like Petraeus emphasized the political dimension and need to secure populations rather than just kill enemies. This led to a resurgence of counterinsurgency thinking.

  • Counterinsurgency strategies must include political efforts to reduce support for insurgents and undermine their ideology, not just military tactics.

  • In 2007, as Iraq appeared on the brink of civil war, President Bush approved a “surge” strategy led by General Petraeus. While more troops were sent, the key change was a new strategy focusing more on Iraqi politics.

  • The surge showed some signs of improving the situation by discouraging further moves toward civil war, due in large part to Iraqis turning away from civil war logic and al-Qaeda’s brutality turning Sunnis against them.

  • Theories of “fourth-generation warfare” argued new wars would target sources of social cohesion through irregular means like terrorism and insurgency, directed at societies rather than traditional battlefield combat. However, this framework did not fully fit realities like Western interventions in weak states for humanitarian reasons.

  • “Information operations” encompassed efforts to influence perceptions as well as impacts of digitized information. This included intelligence gathering, cyber warfare, propaganda, and deception across political, psychological and technological domains.

Here is a 313 word summary of the key points:

As telecommunications and photography advanced, it became harder to conceal military information from opponents. When digitization allowed vast amounts of data to be generated, transmitted, collected and stored instantly, the challenges shifted to issues of abundance rather than scarcity. Hackers could now access large troves of public and private data through passwords or firewalls. Maintaining information integrity also became difficult due to digital threats like viruses and malware. While most cyber activity was criminal, some states used hackers to steal secrets. Governments struggled to control information flows and influence narratives in this new environment. Networks also empowered non-state actors through coordination without central control. However, physical force remained important - social media alone did not topple regimes. The notion of “cyberwar” gaining decisive victories was questionable given reliance on intelligence of enemy systems and difficulty assessing damage from untraceable attacks. Future conflict would revolve more around shaping perceptions than annihilating enemies. Counterinsurgency campaigns showed the need to understand culturally embedded mindsets rather than just pursuing technological advantages.

This passage discusses the growing recognition in the military of the importance of cultural awareness and the ability to understand people and influence their perceptions when fighting unconventional enemies. Some key points:

  • Winning wars against dispersed enemies communicating through word of mouth requires creating alliances, building trust, and understanding other cultures/motivations.

  • The Pentagon hired an anthropologist, Montgomery McFate, to advise on the interplay between military operations and Iraqi society, and mistakes in appreciating tribal loyalties and cultural gestures.

  • The concept of “hearts and minds” emerged to emphasize persuading local populations through good works and sensitivity, rather than intimidation. However, this required addressing both material needs and influencing perceptions of who was likely to win.

  • Culture was a complex issue, and viewing it as fixed underestimated how people accommodate new influences. The ability to convey convincing narratives was important for both sides in the conflict.

  • Western forces struggled to adapt information operations to these realities and compete with insurgent narratives, given lack of message control and distrust of foreign sources. Coordination of actions and messaging across different stakeholders was a challenge.

  • The framework for strategic thinking developed by Clausewitz has endured due to its insights into the dynamic interplay of politics, violence, and chance in war. However, it is difficult to envision strategic thinkers comparable to him who can develop new strategic theory.

  • Some theorists have put forward an ideal of the “master strategist” who can take a holistic view considering all factors affecting strategy, from politics and economics to technology, geography, and the adversary. This would require encyclopedic knowledge and the ability to think through long-term consequences.

  • However, it is doubtful any single person could possess all this knowledge and undertake such a comprehensive analysis. Even considering multiple interconnected factors requires technical and conceptual expertise.

  • Strategists are often forced to improvise in response to sudden developments rather than take the first strategic move. A holistic view may not be practical or even possible in such dynamic situations.

  • While considering systems effects and interconnections is important, the range of possible interactions is vast and unpredictable. No one can anticipate all outcomes. Strategic thinking therefore cannot rely on a mythical “master strategist” with perfect knowledge and foresight.

  • While everything in societies and military systems may be connected, in practice one has to focus on the parts that are close and evidently consequential, rather than distant features that may never need to be engaged.

  • Hitting an enemy system in exactly the right place will not necessarily cause it to quickly crumble, as societies can adapt and find alternative ways to sustain themselves. Effects will be complex with feedback.

  • Clausewitz viewed war as a dynamic system, but focused only on war itself rather than wider political context.

  • The concept of decisive battle retained influence but became more difficult with increased firepower. New factors like morale and surprise/maneuver were sought to restore decisiveness.

  • Civilian populations became increasingly important targets as wars became stalemated or turned irregular. Popular morale was as or more important than military morale.

  • There was little science to influencing perceptions through “information operations” or narratives to shape views in irregular conflicts.

  • The political and military spheres needed to be in constant dialogue, as ends could not be discussed without means, and assessments shaped assumptions and alliances. A separate military strategy was misleading and dangerous.

  • Success in war depended on circumstances and flexibility, not rigid formulas, as commanders would regularly disagree in their assessments. The role of operational art had to be considered along with unpredictability in both military and political affairs.

This section examines strategy from the perspective of underdog or radical groups seeking social and political change against entrenched power structures. Figures like Marx sought to develop theories to describe a path toward a better, more equitable world and the historic forces that could bring it about. However, conservatives argued change may not materialize as envisioned and new elites may emerge with similar traits as old ones.

Radicals had to strategize how to mobilize support without inviting suppression, or consider clandestine survival and violent responses if suppression was likely. Key questions included whether all could be united behind shared goals or if compromise was needed, and how much. Military concepts of endurance, surprise, annihilation vs exhaustion, and direct vs indirect action influenced radical strategies.

Theories addressed power dynamics and change in industrial societies. Debates emerged around violence versus nonviolence, consciousness-raising, and the tension between spontaneity and strong organization. Social sciences also grew in influence, seeking to apply scientific rigor to understanding society. Overall, the section examines the strategic challenges of effecting change from the margins of power and how theories informed, or failed to capture, real-world radical politics.

This section discusses the development of “professional revolutionaries” in the early-to-mid 19th century as a consequence of the French Revolution of 1789. These revolutionaries believed revolutions could be deliberately planned and instigated, rather than waiting for spontaneous uprisings. They drew on theories of war and sought to develop revolutionary strategies, often involving stirring popular discontent into full insurrection against the state.

Many of these professional revolutionaries were born in the 1800s and went on to become influential figures on the left, though they often disagreed on strategies. Notable individuals mentioned include Louis Blanqui, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Mikhail Bakunin, Giuseppe Mazzini, and Lajos Kossuth. Karl Marx is also discussed - he was respected for his intellect but disliked by other revolutionaries. Marx collaborated closely with Friedrich Engels from their meeting in Paris in 1843. Together they established their materialist philosophy in The German Ideology in the mid-1840s.

In summary, this section examines the rise of a new class of “professional revolutionaries” in the early 19th century who sought to deliberately plan and instigate revolutions through various proposed strategic approaches, drawing on theories of war, though often disagreeing in their specifics. It outlines some of the most influential figures among these revolutionaries.

The key points are:

  • Marx sought to provide a theory of revolution akin to Clausewitz’s theory of war. He analyzed the dynamics of historical change through class struggle.

  • Marx’s theory gave revolutionaries hope but was less helpful in telling them what to do strategically, unlike Clausewitz who developed his theory through experience of war.

  • Marx developed his theory prior to experiencing revolution himself, so then found its application problematic.

  • Nonetheless, his theory powerfully influenced revolutionaries who traced strategies back to Marx. There were debates over interpreting Marx’s work.

  • Marx dismissed other radical notions of his time and saw strategy as grounded in class struggle, not appeals to ideals. He viewed himself as a strategist for the proletariat.

  • Marx helped found the Communist League and authored the Communist Manifesto, which laid out his theory of the antagonism between the bourgeoisie and proletariat.

So in summary, Marx provided an influential revolutionary theory of history and class struggle, but the application of that theory to specific strategic questions was more debated and problematic since Marx did not fully develop strategic prescriptions.

  • The revolutions of 1848 saw initial unity across social divisions but then tensions emerged between radicals and moderates as the middle classes feared further disorder.

  • The monarchs organized and crushed the uprisings, imprisoning or exiling radical leaders and subduing the population.

  • Marx and Engels backed democratic revolutions as preparation for socialism, believing this would strengthen the working class. But they warned of bourgeois suppression once in power.

  • In Germany, they supported the radical Cologne Workers’ Council but membership declined as members lacked revolutionary fervor. Marx grew disillusioned with the lack of progress.

  • After suppression of uprisings, Marx became more radical, advocating purely proletarian demands. But economic recovery and caution prevailed over further revolution.

  • Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte’s coup d’etat as Emperor in 1851 dashed remaining hopes, leading Marx to analyze the failures in his work The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon.

  • Names: Jacobin Convention, Mazzini, Kossuth, Clausewitz, Jomini

  • Battle slogans: Marx referred to examples from the French Revolution like “the French Revolution radicalized”. He called the Jacobin Convention the “lighthouse of all revolutionary epochs”.

  • Costumes/symbols: Marx was influenced by the drama and symbols of the French Revolution like the storming of the Bastille and readiness to rethink everything including the calendar. The original French Revolution appeared first in the image of the Roman Republic and then the Roman Empire. Subsequent revolutions tended to parody the French Revolution.

  • Military strategy: Engels studied military strategy and tactics, concluding numbers would be a decisive factor. He respected Clausewitz but found Jomini more reliable. Both debated the strengths and weaknesses of Northern vs Confederate forces in the American Civil War.

  • Marx became interested in military strategy and was influenced by Clausewitz’s views on war.

  • In 1850, a split occurred in the Communist League over Marx’s doubts about the imminence of revolution. August Willich, a former military officer, led the opposition and advocated for immediate revolution through military force rather than waiting for material conditions to be ripe.

  • Willich’s followers began military-style training and preparations for revolutionary war. Marx opposed this view, associated with Blanqui, that revolution was a matter of will and military skill alone rather than material conditions.

  • The debate continued as Marx and Engels disagreed with Techow and Willich’s assessments after the failed 1848 revolutions that emphasized military force, discipline, and an offensive strategy over political processes.

  • Engels observed lessons from the 1849 Frankfurt assembly, arguing insurrection requires surprise, momentum, staying on the offensive, and not hesitating once begun, otherwise all will be lost. But this raised questions about what to do if defeat was certain.

  • The passage introduces Alexander Herzen and his approach, which combined a commitment to radical change with a fear of reckless action that could lead to bloodshed for no gain.

  • Nicholas Chernyshevsky was an intellectual leader of the new socialist movement in Russia. His novel What Is to Be Done?, published while he was in prison in 1862, became a handbook for young revolutionaries despite low marks as literature. It demonstrated how revolutionaries should prepare for the struggles ahead.

  • Herzen’s press in London published many key nihilist texts, though Herzen’s own views were more moderate. Stoppard staged an encounter between Herzen and Chernyshevsky in 1859 where Chernyshevsky found Herzen too hesitant in supporting revolution.

  • The turning point was the 1861 emancipation of Russian serfs, which proved a fraud and was followed by a massacre in Poland. Herzen broke with liberals and called for revolution, though unsure himself. He moved toward populism, trusting ordinary people over intellectuals.

  • Bakunin was another influential figure, an anarchist theorist with contradictory views. He and Marx originally cooperated but later severely disagreed over the direction of revolution.

  • Neither Marx nor Bakunin founded the First International in 1864, but they both became involved - Marx sought to develop class consciousness through cooperation, while Bakunin joined later after years in prison and exile.

  • Bakunin represented a more explicitly anarchist position than Proudhon at a congress in Basel where Marx was absent, impressing others and making Marx see him as a rival.

  • Marx and Bakunin had differing views of anarchism that were brought into focus by the Paris Commune of 1871. Bakunin embraced revolution and decentralization while Marx advocated for a “dictatorship of the proletariat” with strong central direction.

  • Bakunin warned that Marx’s view could lead to a new elite and oppressive state emerging. He argued for the “abolition of the state” and “free association from the bottom up.” Marx maintained the state would eventually “wither away” but in the short term coercion may be needed to hold onto power given class struggle.

  • Their disagreements helped finish off the International Workingmen’s Association, with Marx able to get Bakunin expelled in 1872. Their split reflected two divergent philosophies of how to achieve social change through revolution and the role of the state.

  • Bakunin put some thought into defining the role of professional revolutionaries, seeing them as an “exceptional” revolutionary general staff composed of devoted, energetic individuals lacking in ambition and vanity.

  • However, he was aware of the risk of corruption, which is why he opposed participation in elections.

  • Bakunin saw revolutions as deeply unpredictable events emerging from historical currents operating underground in the masses, rather than events that could be deliberately set in motion or controlled. This view was similar to Tolstoy’s.

  • He still believed revolutionaries could play a limited role in linking popular instinct with revolutionary ideas, to avoid the people being led by those seeking dictatorship.

  • In regards to the 1870 events in France, Bakunin took a more emotive, engaged view focused on peasant uprising, while Marx took a more analytical view focused on the working classes.

  • Bakunin grew impatient with theory and advocated for “propaganda of the deed” through dramatic action to stir the masses, which led to his association with radical terrorism through his involvement with Nechayev.

The passage discusses the utilization of violence and persuasion in anarchist movements in the late 19th/early 20th centuries. It focuses on Errico Malatesta, an influential Italian anarchist who promoted insurrection and “propaganda by the deed.” Though later denouncing indiscriminate terror, Malatesta initially led armed bands in Italy. He was also skilled at rhetorical persuasion.

The passage then describes increasing calls for violence at anarchist gatherings. Johann Most’s writings promoted assassination and bombing campaigns. Several prominent political figures were assassinated in this period. Anarchist violence contributed to its association with terrorism.

The passage also discusses the massive anarchist labor union, CNT, in Spain prior to the Spanish Civil War. It organized over a million members syndicalist style. Though involved in popular radicalism, anarchist thought proved unable to effectively wield power without corrupting its anti-authoritarian ideals. Anarchism struggled with the paradox of rejecting all effective means of change and power. In the end, its influence waned in the face of more authoritarian forces.

  • The passage discusses changing views on revolutionary strategy among socialists in the late 19th century.

  • Engels acknowledged in his 1895 work that his views on socialist strategy had changed significantly since 1848, when he saw revolution as a decisive battle leading inevitably to victory.

  • By 1895, he recognized insurrectionary victories over regular armies would be rare exceptions due to improvements in military technology and tactics. Revolutions could no longer be led by small conscious minorities.

  • This endorsed the parliamentary strategy of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), which was having electoral success but worried revolutionary purists.

  • The concept of “revisionism” emerged, where some argued the SPD strategy risked draining revolutionary fervor in pursuit of reforms. Others argued it accelerated class consciousness.

  • The key debate was on how fast to push for change - whether to wait for ideal conditions or find ways to hasten progress through greater militancy or electoral work. Engels generally stressed program over particular strategy.

  • Eduard Bernstein argued that Marx’s predictions about the worsening conditions of the working class under capitalism were not coming true. He believed in an evolutionary, gradual transition to socialism through reforms like unions, cooperatives, and parliamentary representation rather than revolution.

  • Karl Kautsky disagreed with Bernstein and presented himself as a defender of orthodox Marxism. He argued that capitalism would continue to polarize classes and that socialism would be achieved through a “once-and-for-all act of violence” when the time was ripe. However, in practice he advocated cautious parliamentary tactics to avoid repression.

  • Rosa Luxemburg was a fierce critic of revisionism but also skeptical of overreliance on the socialist party. She believed revolutionary tactics should come from spontaneous mass movements, not be imposed from above.

  • Luxemburg developed the idea of the mass strike as a tactic, inspired by the 1905 revolution in Russia. She saw it as a spontaneous expression of class feeling that could radicalize workers, in contrast to Engels’ view that a mass strike required strong organization. However, she struggled to explain how the mass strike could lead to the seizure of power without direct attacks on the state.

  • In summary, there was a debate between gradualism, orthodox Marxism, and Luxemburg’s perspective favoring spontaneous mass action from below over bureaucracy or set timetables for revolution.

  • The passage discusses Rosa Luxemburg’s perspective on mass strikes and revolutionary strategy compared to others like Kautsky.

  • Luxemburg advocated for mass strikes as a way to bring together economic and political struggles. She saw them as consciousness-raising events that could start with economic demands but lead to broader political activism.

  • Kautsky disagreed and drew on a distinction between strategies of overthrow and attrition/exhaustion. He thought mass strikes pursued an imprudent strategy of overthrow that could provoke repression.

  • The passage also discusses Lenin’s perspective. Like Kautsky, he adopted the overthrow vs attrition framing. However, he had his own disagreements with Luxemburg. Lenin prioritized party control and defined the party line strictly based on Marxist theory.

  • Lenin’s main work What is to be Done? argued against more pragmatic “economist” views in Russia. He advocated for professional revolutionaries to guide the workers toward socialist consciousness from the outside, since workers could only develop trade union consciousness on their own.

  • Lenin believed that revolutionaries needed to act conspiratorially in order to survive, as operating openly would not be possible. One of Lenin’s close associates turned out to be a police agent.

  • At the Second Party Congress in 1903, Lenin’s Bolsheviks faction split from the Menshevik faction over issues of party control and organization. Lenin wanted a centralized party under tight leadership, while the Mensheviks favored a broader, more democratic mass party.

  • Rosa Luxemburg was critical of Lenin’s “ultra-centralism” and authoritarian approach to party organization, believing it would stifle creativity and initiative. She argued the party needed to be unified, not bound tight with control.

  • The 1905 revolution in Russia exposed the divisions and weaknesses of the party leadership in exile. Neither faction was well positioned to lead the revolutionary movements that emerged.

  • After 1905, Lenin took a more militant stance, advocating for direct action like building barricades and making bombs. But this seemed to reflect frustration more than a real strategic shift.

  • Overall, the summary captures Lenin’s authoritarian approach to party organization and leadership, which exacerbated splits with other factions like the Mensheviks, as well as criticisms from others like Rosa Luxemburg. His stances emerged from aspirations for a centralized revolutionary vanguard but proved divisive in practice.

  • Socialists before WWI generally opposed militarism and war, seeing it as harmful to the working classes. However, they disagreed on what could be done to prevent war.

  • The outbreak of WWI in 1914 caught the Second International by surprise and exposed divisions. Nationalist fervor overwhelmed socialist parties, and they supported their countries’ war efforts instead of maintaining class solidarity.

  • Lenin believed Russia’s defeat in WWI could hasten revolution. The 1917 revolutions in Russia led to the abdication of the Tsar and establishment of a provisional government.

  • Lenin returned from exile calling for worldwide socialist revolution and opposing the provisional government. The Bolsheviks gained support among a populace frustrated by dire economic conditions and the ongoing war.

  • After surviving some close calls, Lenin led the Bolsheviks to seize power in the October Revolution of 1917. This established the first socialist state and set the stage for the establishment of communist rule in the Soviet Union.

  • The Bolshevik success established Lenin and later Stalin as the arbiters of Marxist interpretation. They shifted the center of the socialist movement to Moscow and insisted on centralized, revolutionary communist parties that split from established socialist parties.

  • Max Weber was a prominent German sociologist born in 1864 who sought to establish sociology as a value-free, scientific discipline.

  • His most famous work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, offered an alternative to Marx’s economic determinism by demonstrating the role of cultural factors in the development of capitalism.

  • Weber described the increasing “rationalization” and bureaucratization of society through the spreading use of science and professional administration. He saw bureaucracy as soulless and limiting individual freedom, trapping people in an “iron cage.”

  • For Weber, politics involved constant struggle and competition for power. Power relied on the ability to impose one’s will through force or the threat of force. This created challenges of legitimacy for political systems.

  • Weber was skeptical that bureaucracy could be a source of values in society. He saw the thrust of rationalization and specialization draining life of deeper meaning and leaving people focused on mundane routines.

  • While seeking to establish a value-free social science, Weber’s work influenced political and social thought in important ways by highlighting the non-economic factors shaping society and the challenges of bureaucratization and legitimacy.

  • Max Weber gave two landmark lectures on the vocations of social science and politics - “Science as a Vocation” in 1917 and “Politics as a Vocation” in 1919.

  • Weber saw the need to separate the objectivity of science from the partisanship of politics. Academics should not push political agendas based on their research.

  • Without values, social science cannot generate a political theory on its own. Weber avoided claiming his own strong views were based on science.

  • He portrayed both social science and politics as demanding and stressful vocations. Social science requires disciplined work while politics requires compromising one’s values.

  • The postwar context made the tensions between ends and means in politics highly visible. Weber emphasized analyzing the consequences of political means.

  • He defined politics as influencing state leadership and the state as having a monopoly on legitimate violence. Charismatic leadership was important amid political upheaval.

  • Weber challenged those refusing compromises in principle, arguing pure motives are not enough if the consequences are bad outcomes or aiding reactionary forces. Politics requires pragmatic choice between evils.

  • Leo Tolstoy held an “ethic of ultimate ends” which viewed any use of force or violence as immoral. He believed strictly in nonviolent resistance as espoused in the Sermon on the Mount.

  • Tolstoy rejected established churches, secular power, and revolutionary violence. He advocated for rural, simple living and communing with nature.

  • Weber saw Tolstoy as the idealist who was consistent in opposing war and revolution, but this made him irreconcilable with the modern world and benefits of culture.

  • Tolstoy was skeptical of political and military strategists who claimed to be able to link causes to effects and direct history through will and scientific strategy. He believed ordinary people drove changes in unpredictable ways.

  • As a propagandist, Tolstoy used his writing to vividly expose the suffering of the poor and critique militarism, patriotism, and the failures of charity.

  • He advocated for breaking down barriers between people through community and fraternity rather than charity. But he struggled to engage with the realities of city life and forms of survival he found unappealing among the poor.

So in summary, Tolstoy adopted a principled nonviolent ethic that rejected modernity and established power, but Weber saw this as irreconcilable and impractical for politics and policymaking.

  • The passage describes Leo Tolstoy’s evolving views on society and social problems over time. While he initially blamed the excesses of his own class, he came to see cities as inherently corrupt and the root of social divisions.

  • Tolstoy felt money had gotten in the way of proper human relations, and these could only be restored in rural areas without money. He retreated to his estate to create his own rural utopia.

  • The passage discusses Tolstoy’s meeting with American settlement house founder Jane Addams in 1896. Though they shared beliefs about social divisions being unnatural, Tolstoy was critical of aspects of Addams’ work in Chicago.

  • Addams accepted the division of labor as unavoidable and sought to make the city of Chicago work for all through her Hull House settlement. Chicago in the late 19th century was a large, industrializing city with many social problems resulting from immigration, labor conflicts, and ethnic tensions.

  • The passage provides context on Chicago and notes the influence of Progressivism on Addams’ work to address urban issues through government action and civic participation.

  • Jane Addams supported racial equality and labor unions. However, she was deeply committed to resolving conflicts non-violently through reconciliation and finding common ground.

  • While associating with socialists, she rejected ideas like economic determinism and class warfare. She wanted unions and their opponents to try to understand each other.

  • Addams saw conflicts as often stemming from failures of understanding between groups rather than being entirely artificial. But she believed violence could be prevented if groups appreciated each other’s positions.

  • John Dewey shared Addams’ optimism that democracy could overcome divisions in society through cooperation and compromise. He believed philosophers should address real-world problems rather than just intellectual debates.

  • Both Addams and Dewey promoted strategies of reconciliation over confrontation to resolve social and political conflicts in Chicago and beyond. They had faith in people’s inherent goodness and ability to overcome differences.

  • Pragmatism originated as a philosophical concept in the 18th century with Immanuel Kant, who used the example of a doctor making a diagnosis based on observed symptoms to illustrate contingent belief - a best guess required for action in the face of uncertainty.

  • Later philosophers like Charles Pierce and William James developed pragmatism further, defining it as looking at the consequences/results of ideas and actions, rather than first principles. For them, ideas become true through their practical consequences and benefits, not by accurately describing an objective reality.

  • John Dewey further linked pragmatism to an experimental, progressive approach - ideas and beliefs are working hypotheses that are validated through experiencing their results. Truth is what works in practice.

  • Pragmatism thus came to refer to a political virtue - flexibility, trial-and-error approach, and willingness to adjust means and ends based on changing circumstances. However, Dewey combined this with a vision of deliberative democracy that sought to reconcile conflicts, while Weber emphasized separating facts from values and accountability over inclusion.

  • Later thinkers like Robert Merton noted the limits of ever fully anticipating consequences due to ignorance, errors, short-term interests, and how predictions can become self-fulfilling or altering by changing behaviors. Pragmatism requires judging both intended and unintended outcomes of actions.

So in summary, pragmatism developed as a philosophical perspective that ideas/beliefs are validated by their practical results rather than describing objective truth, and this perspective influenced a strategic approach emphasizing flexibility, contingency planning and evaluating both intended and unintended consequences of actions.

This section summarizes ideas from three influential early 20th century thinkers: Gaetano Mosca, Robert Michels, and Vilfredo Pareto, who together comprised what became known as the Italian school of neo-Machiavellians.

The key ideas are:

  • Mosca proposed that in all political systems, a minority rules over the majority. The questions are how the elite sustains its position and how it might be displaced.

  • Michels’ study of the German Social Democratic Party demonstrated how growth and electoral success drained it of militancy, as the party bureaucracy gained control. His “iron law of oligarchy” was that organizational needs inevitably lead to rule by a minority.

  • Pareto followed Mosca in seeing rule by a single person or majority as unlikely due to the necessity of organization. Elites compete within themselves for dominance. He believed societies tend towards equilibrium and resist change when disturbed.

  • They offered a more conservative critique of Marxism than Weber or Dewey, focusing on the limits of strategy and accepting the harsh realities of political practice over comforting rhetoric. Their neo-Machiavellian approach sought explanations for less rational aspects of social behavior.

Here is a summary of key points from the passage:

  • Italian sociologist Vilfredo Pareto analyzed political behavior in terms of “residues” (instinctive factors influencing behavior) and “derivations” (rationalizations that change over time). He identified two main residues - Class I associated with cunning/guile like Machiavelli’s foxes, and Class II associated with force/consolidation like Machiavelli’s lions.

  • Pareto believed politics involved a dialectic between the use of force versus guile, with elites typically composed more of cunning foxes and the masses more of loyalist lions. But stability required a mixture of both.

  • Theories of the masses and consciousness became important to understand how elites maintained power without force. Conservatives looked to effective political formulas, radicals to promoting class consciousness.

  • Gustave Le Bon’s influential book “The Crowd” analyzed crowds as irrational and impressionable, descending to a more primitive state. He believed elites could govern the masses by appealing to their imaginations with dramatic and simple messages rather than reason.

So in summary, it covers influential early 20th century thinkers like Pareto, Mosca and Le Bon analyzing political behavior and the psychology of the masses, and how elites could maintain control through various means beyond just force.

  • Sorel was a French engineer who turned to writing and social theory in middle age. His political views changed wildly over his lifetime.

  • He embraced Marx unconventionally, seeing him more as predicting the moral collapse of the bourgeoisie than economic collapse of capitalism.

  • He was influenced by thinkers like Le Bon who believed rationality was lost in masses, making him doubtful of mass political movements.

  • He is best known for his book Reflections on Violence which advocated for revolutionary syndicalist general strikes and myths to motivate political action.

  • His focus on finding compelling myths to drive movements rather than detailed programs influenced thinkers like Gramsci.

  • Gramsci was an Italian communist leader imprisoned by fascists. In prison he wrote extensive notebooks exploring cultural and ideological aspects of politics.

  • He developed the concept of hegemony - how ruling classes maintain consent through dominant beliefs and ideas propagated via civil society institutions.

  • For Gramsci, the left needed to develop counter-hegemonic ideas to challenge the status quo and be ideologically prepared for power.

  • Gramsci proposed a “war of position” strategy over a “war of maneuver” for revolutionaries. Rather than a direct frontal assault on the state, they should work to gradually undermine the ruling ideology through civil society institutions like trade unions, schools, churches, etc.

  • This would be a long-term strategy of patiently gaining influence and ideological dominance, or “hegemony.” The analogy he used was trench warfare vs open battle.

  • However, there were tensions in Gramsci’s theory. While emphasizing the autonomy of politics and ideas, he still saw class struggle and economics as ultimately determinative. It was unclear how ideological dominance would translate into actual political power.

  • Implementing Gramsci’s strategy in practice would have been difficult within a communist party framework demanding strict adherence to doctrine. His own writings had to be selectively published by the PCI.

  • Totalitarian communist states maintained control more through threats than ideological credibility as party lines shifted inconsistently. This extremism matched the extremism of the original theories in some ways.

  • Nazi propaganda effectively shaped public opinion through rallies, radio, etc. exploiting psychological vulnerabilities according to their view of “the big lie.” This had disturbing parallels to theorists like Le Bon and Sorel.

  • The passage discusses the emergence of prominent intellectual figures from the Trotskyist movement in the United States in the early-mid 20th century. Many became disillusioned with Stalinism and eventually abandoned Marxism altogether, some becoming conservatives.

  • One key figure was James Burnham, a professor who was initially a Trotskyist but broke away over Trotsky’s support for the Nazi-Soviet pact. He began moving firmly to the right.

  • In 1941, Burnham published “The Managerial Revolution” arguing a new managerial class was rising to power instead of the proletariat. He saw this trend in Nazi Germany and FDR’s New Deal.

  • Burnham’s next book “The Machiavellians” took a more political view, drawing on thinkers like Mosca, Sorel, Michels and Pareto. He argued elites use political myths and formulas to control the masses, necessitating some deception. Critics found this view of democracy as too simplistic.

  • The passage discusses the development of propaganda and public opinion theories in the early 20th century US, including figures like Park, Tarde, Creel and Lippmann. It notes the potential power but also risks of manipulating public opinion.

  • The passage discusses Walter Lippmann, a prominent American journalist and political commentator in the early 20th century.

  • After WWI, Lippmann became interested in psychoanalysis and its insights into consciousness development and irrationality. He was uneasy about sensationalism in the press.

  • In 1922, Lippmann published his landmark book Public Opinion, arguing that people’s understanding of the world comes from a “picture in their heads” rather than direct experience. Understanding how these pictures form is important.

  • Lippmann noted that people cling to “stereotypes” that provide an orderly view of the world. Challenging stereotypes feels like undermining one’s universe.

  • Most people lack time/inclination for rigorous truth-seeking. Newspapers provide selective, simplified information influenced by interests and advertising.

  • Lippmann saw a role for experts and social scientists in advising governments, representing “unseen” factors. But experts should not rule over ordinary people.

  • Lippmann described the rising arts of “persuasion” and propaganda without negative connotations. Propaganda simply meant spreading a doctrine through arguments and persuasion.

  • Lippmann was influenced by Freudian ideas about conscious/unconscious minds and tensions between individuals and society. Edward Bernays was an influential public relations practitioner also influenced by Lippmann and Freud.

Here is a summary of the key points about suffragette strategy from the passage:

  • The suffragette movement posed a unique challenge not just to the political system but also orthodox views of gender and human relationships.

  • Their tactics had a lasting impact by bringing direct attention to and challenging stereotypes of femininity like an inability to engage in politics.

  • Part of their argument was that women deserved equality and would also bring special qualities to public life if given the vote.

  • The campaign spanned from 1867 proposals to include women’s suffrage in reforms to the Equal Franchise Act of 1928 granting political rights.

  • It progressed slowly as women moved into civic and philanthropic affairs facing dogged resistance to equal rights for men and women.

  • The campaign had different strands, some worked within parties while others found this futile, and some framed the issue narrowly while others took a broader feminist stance.

  • Ultimately their goal of women’s suffrage was only achieved after the pressure of World War I broke the resistance to political equality.

So in summary, the suffragettes employed both persuasive tactics to challenge gender stereotypes and take a variety of strategic approaches, but it took sustained pressure over decades to overcome entrenched opposition and finally achieve their goal.

  • The women’s suffrage movement in Britain included both constitutional and militant wings, with differing views on strategy and effectiveness.

  • The militant wing, led by Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), engaged in direct action tactics like property damage to gain attention. Their arrests allowed them to publicly advocate for their cause.

  • The generally nonviolent American suffrage movement was more successful through political organization, keeping the issue prominent. This opened possibilities for nonviolence as an effective political strategy beyond just morality.

  • Gandhi’s successful use of nonviolent civil disobedience in India challenged views that pacifism kept minorities bound to the status quo. He drew on the ideas of Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy to develop his philosophy of satyagraha, combining truth, love, and firmness.

  • Through protests like the 1930 Salt March, Gandhiwas able to attract large numbers of supporters and put pressure on the British while maintaining the moral high ground through nonviolent methods. This impressivediscontent and challenged the British’s ability to respond effectively.

The passage discusses the effectiveness and moral dimensions of Gandhi’s strategy of nonviolence. It notes that while Gandhi’s campaigns did not single-handedly force Britain out of India, they helped turn the Indian National Congress into a credible alternative government. However, the success of nonviolence depended on specific circumstances in India and was more challenging to apply in other contexts like fighting Nazis.

Gandhi’s influence was seen in the US civil rights movement. The movement faced daunting challenges confronting segregation in the American South. Initially, some advocated the economic approach of Booker T. Washington to gain rights gradually. But as little progress was made, more radical strategies were debated. Figures like W.E.B. Du Bois and others discussed whether nonviolence could work. Some were skeptical given the risk of violence against blacks. But Gandhi’s example and writings reached civil rights thinkers in the US. Overall the passage examines the applicability and moral dilemmas of nonviolence as a strategy both in India and considerations of how it may or may not have worked in other contexts like the US civil rights movement.

  • The passage discusses the early development of nonviolent civil rights protest strategies in the United States in the 1940s.

  • James Farmer, a young African American minister, organized one of the first civil rights sit-ins at a coffee shop in Chicago in 1942 to protest racial segregation. This was somewhat successful in challenging discrimination.

  • Farmer went on to establish the Committee of Racial Equality (CORE), one of the earliest civil rights organizations, which advocated for nonviolent direct action protests to promote racial equality and desegregation.

  • CORE’s strategy of active, disruptive but nonviolent protests went beyond the passive approaches advocated by pacifist groups like the Fellowship of Reconciliation, which was hesitant to condone strategies that raised tensions or disrupted order.

  • Farmer drew inspiration from theorists like Krishnalal Shridharani who analyzed the psychological impacts of nonviolent civil disobedience based on studies of Gandhi’s protests in India. This helped inform the early development of strategic nonviolent direct action in the American civil rights movement.

  • The passage discusses the views of Krishnalal Shridharani, an Indian Gandhian scholar, on the civil rights movement in the US. Shridharani played down the moral aspects of Gandhism and emphasized the strategic use of nonviolent direct action.

  • He was skeptical of how American pacifists portrayed the movement as mainly spiritual, arguing Gandhi adopted nonviolence for practical political goals as much as spiritual reasons. He also grew doubtful of pacifism after pacifist groups refused to confront Hitler.

  • The passage then introduces Bayard Rustin, a leader in the civil rights movement who saw how nonviolence could work strategically for African Americans. Rustin was involved in many campaigns and advised Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Montgomery bus boycott.

  • The boycott showed how direct action could create an economic and political crisis through noncooperation. Subsequent civil rights campaigns applied lessons of sustaining action, attracting media attention, and remaining nonviolent in the face of harsh responses. King and other leaders increasingly adopted Gandhian philosophy under the influence of advisers like Rustin.

  • Martin Luther King Jr. believed in the power of nonviolent protest through large, organized nonviolent demonstrations rather than through violence or small armed groups. He drew on the successes of nonviolent mass movements throughout history in achieving social change.

  • While King’s philosophy of nonviolence fit his role as a pastor, it was not universally accepted or understood among black communities who faced greater risks and hardships from protesting. The personal costs of going to jail or losing jobs were significant.

  • King’s philosophizing on nonviolence was not fully developed and he tended to borrow and plagiarize from others like Bayard Rustin who helped draft his early writings.

  • Under Rustin’s guidance, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was formed to provide institutional support for King’s leadership of the civil rights movement. However, the SCLC lacked a strong organizational structure and financial base.

  • The student sit-ins of 1960 and 1961 helped revive direct action protests and grew the movement. Soon, new strategies of large-scale community protests targeting all forms of segregation in a city were launched, putting greater pressure on authorities. While not always successful, these strategies evolved the movement’s tactics.

  • Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement used strategic nonviolence to generate crises, provoke police brutality via protests, and coerce white establishments through economic pressure. This put moral pressure on authorities while gaining sympathy from the media and northern politicians.

  • The Birmingham campaign in 1963 exemplified this approach. Led by King, it boycotted downtown businesses and used sustained demonstrations to disrupt the city. Police Chief Bull Connor then violently cracked down, capturing media attention and turning demonstrators into victims. This put pressure on Birmingham leaders to desegregate.

  • The strategy aimed to shift the Kennedy administration toward supporting civil rights legislation. It succeeded with the 1963 March on Washington and King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech putting civil rights at the top of the national agenda.

  • However, political rights did not guarantee improved economic conditions. Frustration over continued poverty led to urban riots after King’s successes. His attention then turned to issues of poverty, which proved more intractable.

  • The success of strategic nonviolence relied on clarity of the civil rights cause, local organization through churches, and maintaining the moral high ground against segregationist brutality. But future causes would not be as clear cut, posing new strategic challenges.

The 1960s was a decade of cultural liberation and challenging social conventions. A key concept was “liberation” - liberating groups like women and gays from social constraints. This challenged the role of the state and was more individualistic than collectivist.

The New Left student movement of the 1960s, represented by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), did not fit with the traditional left which was more collectivist and state-focused. SDS was suspicious of authority, theories, and organizational discipline. They valued authenticity, spontaneity, and engaging ordinary people directly.

The SDS clashed with older social democrats at its founding meeting, distrusting the representatives of liberal and labor groups. The SDS was influenced by existentialist philosophy rather than socialism, prioritizing convictions and feelings over rational analysis or long-term consequences.

This “existential strategy” ultimately failed because its anti-rational, spontaneous approach made compromises and coalitions difficult to sustain over the long run. Without clear direction or organization, the movement became isolated and ineffective at enacting change. While culturally liberating, the approach proved politically limiting.

  • C. Wright Mills was a controversial American sociologist who played a key role in developing radical thinking in the 1960s New Left movement.

  • He was influenced by pragmatist philosophers like John Dewey but was skeptical of Dewey’s non-confrontational view of power. Mills focused more on power structures and how elites used power.

  • His books like “The Power Elite” critiqued the pluralist view that power was widely dispersed in a functioning democracy. Mills argued elite corporate, political, and military leaders formed an entrenched power bloc.

  • He took a more Marxist view later in his career and defended radical causes like the Cuban revolution. Mills saw himself as an activist intellectual seeking to challenge the forces of inertia and conservatism.

  • His work combined subtle analysis with searing social critique, arguing mainstream sociology failed to address the big structural questions of the day. Mills sought to connect “private troubles” with their broader social and political roots.

  • He had a large influence on radical thinking of the 1960s New Left through his confrontational view of power structures and call for intellectuals to dissent from the status quo.

This passage summarizes Tom Hayden’s early involvement with the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and his views on developing a strategy for social change “from below.” Some key points:

  • Hayden was influenced by C. Wright Mills and his critique of bureaucratic power structures that disempowered ordinary people.

  • He helped author the Port Huron Statement of 1962, which articulated the emerging New Left’s rejection of passive conformity and call for political participation.

  • Hayden joined a community organizing project in Newark to establish ties with disadvantaged communities rather than liberal groups seeking reforms.

  • He was skeptical of liberal strategies that depended on leadership and didn’t empower ordinary people. However, finding a “workable strategy” from below that avoided manipulation proved mysterious.

  • Hayden aimed for a “thoroughly democratic revolution” but acknowledged the difficulties of finding leaders committed to grassroots goals rather than their own power or a mobilized rank-and-file with a shared understanding of broader goals.

So in summary, it outlines Hayden’s initial existential and grassroots approach to social change, as well as some of the strategic dilemmas he faced in operationalizing this vision.

  • While Hayden struggled to sustain participatory democracy in SNCC, the organization was moving away from it under pressure. James Forman argued in 1964 for a stronger, centralized mass organization rather than loosely coordinated individuals.

  • Many activists were reluctant to give up local control and autonomy to a distant central leadership, which could be insensitive to local issues and engage in empire-building. It also went against SNCC’s founding principles of participatory democracy.

  • In practice, participatory democracy was frustrating and exhausting. It was difficult to find and maintain local leadership, and constant discussions risked paralysis without action. Demands to “let the people decide” also came up against people’s moderate, risk-averse tendencies.

  • There were also issues around patronizing attitudes from educated northern activists towards local southerners. By 1966, black power had taken over SNCC and the new leadership wanted a tougher, more militant approach distinct from northern liberals.

  • Saul Alinsky took a different approach to community organizing, drawing in existing local groups and power structures like the Catholic Church and unions to form a community council. This was aimed at tackling common problems rather than scrapping existing hierarchies.

This passage summarizes Saul Alinsky and his strategy and approach to community organizing:

  • Alinsky’s role model was John Lewis of the United Mineworkers union, who led the CIO labor movement in breaking away from the AFL and forming a more inclusive union. Lewis combined militancy, centralized economic planning beliefs, and negotiating skill.

  • Alinsky admired Lewis’ ability to provoke opponents, control conflict, and negotiate resolutions while using power strategically. He also liked how Lewis framed the CIO’s goals in terms of American values.

  • In his 1946 book Reveille for Radicals, Alinsky proposed applying union-style organizing techniques in urban communities, beyond just factories.

  • Alinsky promoted a heroic view of organizers and the goals of achieving full individual freedom, equality and eradicating problems like war.

  • He organized campaigns in Chicago and Rochester focused on improving Black employment opportunities and ending discrimination.

  • Alinsky’s 1971 book Rules for Radicals listed tactics like pressuring opponents, using ridicule, keeping up constant pressure, targeting individuals, and providing alternatives.

  • His approach emphasized hit-and-run tactics, small victories, building solidarity, and not engaging in battles where weaknesses were exposed. Some controversial tactics were proposed but not actually implemented.

  • Saul Alinsky had a results-oriented approach to community organizing. He focused on small victories through forming coalitions and deals.

  • He recognized minorities as his natural constituents. He understood the need to get support from those who may otherwise be uninvolved spectators.

  • He was willing to get funds from wealthy liberals. He looked for vulnerabilities in targets to apply outside pressure like from customers or stockholders.

  • Tactically, he focused on sustaining campaigns and keeping them in the public eye through his own notoriety. He recognized the organization required and issues with outside “agitators”.

  • He believed in drawing out a latent political consciousness in communities to create awareness of injustice and possibility of change. Communities should be self-reliant with local leadership.

  • However, the poor faced many daily struggles coping with existence. This made them unreliable for organization work requiring commitments. Only a small percentage of communities were actively involved.

  • Alinsky relied more on strong leadership and careful organization given this reality, rather than more participatory models. He focused on campaigns he believed could win to enact meaningful change.

Here is a summary of the provided text:

The passage discusses the evolution of more radical black political views within the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Initially, groups like SNCC affirmed nonviolence, but activists grew impatient with the lack of progress and limits of their inclusive political approach. They were frustrated at being told to restrain themselves to maintain liberal white support.

In the North, Malcolm X provided a contrast to Martin Luther King Jr.’s Christian message of love and nonviolence. He promoted black separatism and did not reject violence, arguing that self-defense was intelligence. While rebuked for racial hatred, he later moderated his views.

Frantz Fanon’s book “Wretched of the Earth” also had influence. It emphasized violence as the only language colonizers understood. Fanon argued that colonizers had psychologically “created” the colonized and that violence was a means of escaping this psychological condition imposed by colonization.

Overall, the passage discusses how more radical views emerged within the civil rights movement due to impatience with lack of progress, limits of inclusive approaches, and influences like Malcolm X and Fanon who emphasized black empowerment and saw a role for violence in confronting oppressors.

  • Fanon argued that violence is a way for colonized peoples to overcome feelings of inferiority and regain their dignity and freedom. Sartre agreed that violence allows the colonized to “cure” themselves of colonialism and create themselves anew.

  • Hannah Arendt criticized this view, noting that Fanon acknowledged total brutality would only lead to quick defeat of any movement. She found Sartre’s embrace of “mad fury” and violence troubling.

  • Fanon’s arguments resonated with young black activists who felt nonviolence was pointless in dealing with white power structures. The civil rights movement was becoming disillusioned and radicalized.

  • Figures like Stokely Carmichael and the Black Panthers advocated for black power and the potential use of violence, seeing it as necessary self-defense against white oppression. This marked a break from the nonviolence of Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Bayard Rustin disagreed with the turn to violence and separatism, arguing coalitions with whites were still needed for meaningful progress. He felt economic issues should be prioritized over protest, putting him at odds with the direction of the movement.

  • The anti-war movement in the late 1960s became a dominant force within the New Left as opposition to the Vietnam War grew significantly. This shifted the focus from local issues and grassroots organizing to broader themes of imperialism and systemic change.

  • Figures like Tom Hayden took trips to places like North Vietnam and Cuba, seeing them as models of revolutionary struggle against American imperialism. However, this downplayed criticisms of those regimes and undermined efforts to build a broad anti-war coalition.

  • Influenced by theorists like Herbert Marcuse, the New Left adopted a more explicitly anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist ideology that located American struggles within a global context of oppression by the “first world” capitalist countries. They saw themselves as allied with the global “third world.”

  • This perspective embraced Marxism-Leninism more fully and rejected efforts at reform, instead arguing that more radical systemic change was needed to overcome the new “liberal totalitarianism” of Western capitalist societies. Nonviolence was declining as a tactic.

This passage summarizes Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s views and influence as a symbol of resistance against US imperialism. Some key points:

  • Che fought with Fidel Castro in the Cuban revolution and became a minister in Castro’s government. He then sought to spread revolution to other countries like Congo and Bolivia but was unsuccessful.

  • His iconic image of the handsome revolutionary in beret became widely known.

  • He advocated for “armed propaganda” and creation of “second and third Vietnams” to drain US resources by forcing it to fight in unwelcoming regions.

  • His theory of the “foco” proposed small dedicated groups could stimulate insurrection and force states to reveal brutality, demonstrating an alternative government.

  • His theories were more influential in the West than third world. He simplified the Cuban revolution and downplayed urban/political aspects.

  • Figures like Regis Debray and Carlos Marighela propagated versions of his ideas especially the focus on urban guerrilla warfare, though with an emphasis on terrorism rather than popular support.

The passage discusses the debates around the legitimacy of violence as a political tactic in the late 1960s in the United States. Tom Hayden argued that violence had been successful in Cuba and that acts like providing goods to impoverished communities could be a form of “constructive” violence. Hannah Arendt disagreed that violence was an effective means to power.

Some radical groups like the Black Panthers and Weathermen took inspiration from Latin American guerrilla movements and hoped to spark armed insurrection in the US. They suffered disastrous failures. The Weather Underground in particular formed with the aim of organizing youth for armed struggle but their numbers never exceeded a few hundred and key leaders died or were imprisoned.

The passage argues that while the counterculture and radical politics were influenced by opposition to Vietnam, there was no inherent connection between them. Gentle hippies embracing “love and peace” emerged in 1967 offering an alternative to both nonviolence and armed struggle. Figures like poet Allen Ginsberg expressed anti-war views through exploration of consciousness rather than political activism or rebellion.

  • Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin were influential hippie activists in the 1960s. They had been involved in protests against the Vietnam War since the start of the decade.

  • Rubin helped organize “teach-ins” against the war and moved further left politically. Both concluded standard forms of protest were losing impact and new theatrical styles were needed to gain attention.

  • They came up with the idea of a “Festival of Life” counterculture event to coincide with the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and turn it into a “circus.”

  • The Yippie manifesto envisioned celebrations in parks and mocking the convention. However, the tense climate and Mayor Daley’s orders to police ensured confrontation instead of festivities.

  • The demonstrations turned violent as police attacked protesters. While this gained media attention, it marked a turn away from early nonviolent protest styles and fueled working class anger at privileged youth mocking traditional values.

  • Figures like Saul Alinsky warned the New Left that alienating ordinary people could drive them further right. While the war eventually ended, the student movement’s radical phase faded, though it left lasting impacts on culture and social issues.

  • In the 1960s and 1970s, many young women became dissatisfied with their subordinate roles and lack of opportunities in leftist political movements like SNCC and SDS. They noticed the contradiction between male leaders decrying oppression but expecting women to play supporting roles.

  • In response, feminist consciousness and activism developed among these women. Groups started pushing a more overt feminist agenda in 1967-1968. Unlike organizations like NOW, these feminist groups had experience with grassroots organizing and protest from their involvement in other movements.

  • An influential essay by Mary King and Casey Hayden highlighted the problems women faced. Carol Hanisch later wrote that the personal problems women experienced were actually political issues requiring collective action, helping establish the view that “the personal is political.”

  • Over time, as women continued facing sexism and condescension from male activists, their anger grew. From relatively tentative early statements, the feminist movement asserted core principles of gender equality and women’s worth more strongly. A variety of feministviewpoints and issues emerged without a single defined leadership or direction.

The passage discusses different ways that activists can shape public discourse and influence policy debates through framing issues and narratives. It argues that simply expressing dissent from outside the existing system is not likely to be effective.

Instead, it recommends that civil disobedience campaigns be strategic and farsighted, operating within the existing political and social landscape rather than trying to impose radical change from the outside. Such campaigns should appeal to latent public values and sentiments, seize opportunities, and make persuasive arguments rather than merely expressing grievances. The overall message is that effective activism requires understanding history and political realities, not just expressing dissent or hoping to abruptly change the world through willpower alone.

  • The passage discusses sociologist Todd Gitlin’s analysis of how the media framed and reported on the 1960s student protest movement, SDS (Students for a Democratic Society).

  • Gitlin was influenced by Gramsci’s theory of hegemony and how the media can shape popular acceptance of the status quo. He argued the media undermined SDS through how it ignored, trivialized, marginalized and disparaged the group.

  • The concepts of “frames” and “paradigms” are discussed. Frames are principles that guide what is selected and emphasized in communication. Paradigms are embedded systems of ideas that influence political and intellectual realms.

  • Thomas Kuhn’s idea of paradigms from his influential book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” is described. He argued sciences go through periods of “normal science” within accepted paradigms, but anomalies can build until a “scientific revolution” overturns old paradigms.

  • Kuhn’s work was heavily cited and had an impact beyond just science, with the idea of “paradigm shifts” entering popular discourse, though often oversimplifying Kuhn’s more nuanced arguments.

  • Michel Foucault was a French social philosopher whose ideas shaped contemporary social thought and the study of strategy.

  • Like Kuhn, Foucault drew attention to how claims about truth are contingent and dependent on structures of power.

  • Where Kuhn talked about paradigms, Foucault talked about “epistemes” - the apparatus that determines what can and cannot be considered scientific knowledge at a given time.

  • For Foucault, epistemes were initially unique, dominant and exclusive frameworks that defined the boundaries of all possible knowledge. Only one episteme could exist at a time.

  • Both Kuhn and Foucault argued that knowledge production and truths are determined by social and power relations, not just objective scientific inquiry. This opened up questions of knowledge, science and power to political analysis and debate.

  • Foucault’s ideas, though difficult to summarize fully, significantly shaped social and political thought, including the study of strategy, by emphasizing the role of power in constructing truths and framing debates.

This passage discusses differences between Kuhn’s paradigms and Foucault’s theories of power and knowledge (“power/knowledge”). Some key points:

  • Kuhn’s paradigms were conscious frameworks for scientific research, while Foucault’s epistemes could operate unconsciously and invisibly shape thought and action.

  • Foucault saw all forms of thought as inherently linked to power struggles. He described historical sequences of different power systems (feudalism, bourgeois society’s “disciplinary domination”).

  • Power for Foucault was diffuse through discourse and institutions, not concentrated. It shaped what was considered true/false and normal behavior through “regimes of truth.”

  • Foucault linked power and knowledge together as “power/knowledge.” Considerations of truth were really about power - who benefited from certain truths.

  • Foucault argued strategy was intrinsically linked to power struggles. Analyzing discourses could undermine established power structures by locating connections and mechanisms of power without direct physical challenges.

  • While influential, Foucault’s theories raised questions about precision of concepts like power and strategy when everything could be considered an expression of them. His downplaying of coercion and agency was also problematic.

So in summary, it contrasts Kuhn and Foucault’s differing views of how scientific/intellectual paradigms change, with Foucault emphasizing the diffuse and unconscious nature of power struggles underlying such changes.

  • In the late 1960s, the concept of narrative began expanding from literary theory into wider social theory, influenced by French post-structuralist thinkers like Roland Barthes.

  • Barthes argued that narratives were present in all forms of communication, not just written texts, and could be found in all times, places and societies. He helped move narrative away from just literature into all communication.

  • Other theorists like Tzvetan Todorov contributed to the development of “narratology” which analyzed the component parts of narratives.

  • By the late 1970s, there was a “narrative turn” in social sciences as scholars believed analyzing stories people tell could provide insights into how they live.

  • Narratives were seen as simple ways to make sense of information and predict events. They helped explain lives and relationships and understand the world.

  • Interest in narratives spread from academia to areas like law, politics and social movements as a way to mobilize support and form common identities around shared experiences.

  • Marginalized groups used counter-narratives to challenge dominant narratives and recast their experiences in a political light. Over time, all political actors employed narratives as strategic tools.

  • After Kerry lost the 2004 election, Democrats blamed a lack of coherent narrative. Republicans were seen as better at crafting simple yet compelling narratives.

  • Republicans had worked with consultants like Frank Lutz since the 1990s to craft language that framed issues in their favor (e.g. “death tax” instead of estate tax).

  • Democrats like George Lakoff urged focusing on reframing issues rather than rational debate, as frames influence perceptions more than facts.

  • Psychologist Drew Westen argued Democrats lost by not appealing to emotions. Republicans tapped into patriotism and security while Democrats relied on tired economic rhetoric.

  • Westen said Democrats must develop a simple grand narrative linking policy to principles in an emotionally compelling way. They must use negativity and define rivals rather than just issues.

  • Views like Lakoff’s and Westen’s placed faith in controlling public opinion through skilled use of language, narratives and emotional appeals. But some saw this as exaggerating rhetoric’s power and viewing voters as manipulable.

  • Political campaigns were becoming more sophisticated and professionalized, utilizing new techniques in polling, advertising, messaging and targeting specific constituencies.

  • Early political consulting firms like Whitaker and Baxter pioneered many modern campaign tactics like negative campaigning, communications strategies, and fundraising operations. They helped turn campaigns into competitive industries.

  • As primaries replaced party bosses in nominating candidates, campaigns had to engage more directly with voters, fueling the growth of the consulting industry. By the 1960s-70s, campaigns were often between competing firms rather than just candidates.

  • However, new messaging and framing techniques alone could not guarantee electoral success if candidates failed to connect with voters or history intervened against them, as shown by George Romney’s failed 1968 campaign utilizing new methods. Television also emerged as a pivotal new medium that could decisively impact close races.

  • In summary, political campaigning was professionalizing through new techniques but focused messaging and circumstances still played major roles in determining electoral outcomes. Consulting became core to the process but could only do so much.

  • The passage discusses Roger Ailes’ efforts in the 1960s to market Richard Nixon positively on television through tightly controlled imagery and messaging. The goal was to portray Nixon as representing competence, tradition, calmness, and faith in American values and prosperity.

  • It discusses how Kevin Phillips argued in his 1967 book The Emerging Republican Majority that demographic shifts were creating an opportunity for Republicans by mobilizing white voters concerned about issues like race, crime, and unrest. Phillips saw this as a chance to build a new conservative majority.

  • The passage then covers Ronald Reagan’s political rise in California in the 1960s. It notes how he moderated his messaging to appeal to the center when running for governor, presenting himself as a citizen politician rather than a professional one to mitigate concerns about his inexperience.

A key theme in many American elections in the late 20th century was the rise of the religious right and social conservatism as political forces. Ronald Reagan strategically appealed to these constituencies in his successful 1980 presidential campaign. He portrayed himself as a champion of social conservatism who would oppose abortion and support issues like prayer in schools. Groups like Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority mobilized evangelical voters and promised Reagan millions of votes if he supported their agenda. Reagan embraced this alliance, cementing the new role of religious conservatives in Republican elections going forward. Lee Atwater further refined these Southern and religious conservative strategies, helping Reagan and George H.W. Bush consolidate the “Reagan coalition” that dominated 1980s elections. Race, religion, and social issues became increasingly important wedge strategies pursued by Republican strategists like Atwater.

  • Lee Atwater believed in thorough opposition research to understand weaknesses and developing strategies tailored to exploit those weaknesses.

  • In helping Bush win the 1988 Republican nomination, Atwater angered Bob Dole and confounded Dukakis by attacking him in Massachusetts on the environment issue.

  • Atwater was a master of “spin” who could frame any situation to serve his preferred narrative. He exploited innocent labels and shielded guilty parties through confusion.

  • Atwater had a strategic understanding of American politics and demographics. He identified swing voter groups like “populists” and libertarians that could be appealed to.

  • The Willie Horton ads attacking Dukakis on crime and implicating race issues were devastatingly effective for Bush. Atwater maximized the impact of this weak issue for Dukakis.

  • Atwater also played the religion card to help Bush gain evangelical support by having Bush emphasize his personal relationship with God.

  • Atwater pioneered relentless negative campaigning, opposition research, and spin that targeted opponents’ weaknesses to gain strategic advantage.

  • The period between the end of the primary elections and the start of the general election is often referred to as the “invisible primary” or the “money primary” as candidates focus on fundraising.

  • The concept of the “permanent campaign” emerged in the 1970s, with the idea that governing requires an ongoing engagement with the public through political campaigning tactics. This was driven by the intensifying news cycle and importance of shaping daily media narratives.

  • The Clinton campaign in 1992 drew lessons from previous Democratic losses, emphasizing the need for an aggressive response operation to deflect attacks from opponents. James Carville described running the campaign like a “war room.”

  • The permanent campaign prioritizes speed, accuracy, flexibility to shape the initial media narrative, which defines the debate. It relies on simple repetitive messaging and “stories that sell.”

  • Negative campaigning grew due to its effectiveness, as people tend to pay more attention to negative information that raises risk concerns about candidates. But attacks must be handled carefully and not appear too extreme.

  • Bush’s embrace of religious rhetoric backfired in 1992 by making the Republican platform seem extreme and outside the mainstream on social issues like abortion and same-sex rights.

  • Dan Quayle criticized the TV show Murphy Brown in 1992 for depicting the character becoming a single mother, arguing it diminished the importance of fathers. However, this line of attack was misguided as it risked attacking many voters, including single mothers and the divorced.

  • By 2008, the traditional nuclear family model only accounted for about a quarter of American families. More women, including mothers, were working. This cultural shift benefited the Democratic party.

  • In the 2008 Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton lost to Barack Obama despite having more experience. Obama ran a grassroots campaign focused on early voting states and leveraged digital tools like the internet more effectively.

  • Obama’s victory reflected broader demographic trends in America toward a more diverse, less white and male population. This posed a challenge for Republicans if they couldn’t appeal beyond their traditional base.

  • Both Clinton and Obama had links to the community organizer Saul Alinsky and represented a more pragmatic, system-working approach compared to revolutionary styles preferred by some in the 1960s that risked calamity.

  • The rise of large corporations led to the emergence of management as a distinct profession, with managers wielding effective power despite nominally reporting to boards of directors.

  • Early business schools like Wharton aimed to teach “labor discipline” as industries organized under single employers. Harvard Business School opened in 1908 seeking an “applied science” for business.

  • Frederick Taylor’s ideas on “scientific management” were influential, seeking to optimize workforce efficiency. He claimed management could be a true science based on clear laws.

  • Taylorism appealed to business cultures wanting practical solutions and academic cultures seeking teachable systems. It resolved tensions between vocational training and disinterested scholarship for early business schools. The first international conference on scientific management was held in 1911.

Overall, this discusses the emergence of management as a professional class wielding strategy and effective control in large organizations, and the development of business education influenced strongly initially by Taylor’s ideas on optimizing workforce efficiency through scientific principles of management.

Taylor’s scientific management promoted the idea that there is an optimal “one best way” to perform every task, which can be determined through careful analysis and measurement. His method divided work into planning and execution. Planners, who he saw as highly educated, would analyze tasks and set standards for workers to follow. Workers were seen as interchangeable “doers” who simply follow the planned tasks without needing to think. Taylor believed breaking down jobs into simple, standardized steps would allow workers to be treated more like machines. This prioritized efficiency and pay-for-performance over worker autonomy and control over their work. Although Taylor exaggerated some claims, his ideas promoted a new class of efficiency experts and the systematic study of work. His scientific management approach was controversial but influential in promoting rationalized factory management.

  • Mary Parker Follett was a social theorist and philosopher who advocated for more participatory and group-oriented approaches to management and organizational decision-making.

  • She opposed domination or “power over” others, instead favoring “power with” that mobilizes all individuals towards shared goals. This integrates individuals into a unified group.

  • Follett saw organizations and democratic societies as integrations of groups, with authority emerging from shared problem-solving rather than individuals.

  • She challenged business leaders to consider informal social dynamics within organizations and take a broader social view, using groups and participation rather than top-down delegation and control.

  • While she did not directly challenge scientific management, she advocated flatter structures and saw management role as enabling people through group processes rather than arbitrary control.

  • However, her framework did not fully address how to resolve conflicts between groups with differing situations and interests, where strategy would be needed. It assumed willingness to cooperate that may not always exist.

  • Other theorists like Elton Mayo of the “human relations school” took a harder line, emphasizing social control within organizations and opposing worker democracy that Follett supported. They focused more on elite leadership and social engineering within firms.

This passage summarizes the views and career of Elton Mayo, a psychologist who helped establish the field of human relations within management studies. Some key points:

  • Mayo had little understanding of business, but believed psychology could address why economics/rational thinking failed to understand human/irrational factors in work.

  • He saw unrest as expression of “hidden fires” rather than real grievances, and agitators as neurotic. He felt democratic processes made things worse.

  • Mayo was recruited to Harvard Business School by Dean Donham, who wanted to improve relations with business and address the school’s radical reputation.

  • Mayo gained prominence from his interpretation of the Hawthorne Experiments as showing social/psychological conditions mattered more than physical ones. He advocated good worker relations to increase productivity.

  • Mayo had a conservative viewpoint seeing conflict as a “social disease” rather than legitimate grievances. He felt the role of management was to train workers’ minds and values to cooperate rather than pursue their own political ends.

So in summary, Mayo helped establish the new field of human relations but did so from a paternalistic, anti-worker perspective that saw unrest as psychological rather than rational responses to real issues.

  • John D. Rockefeller took advantage of post-Civil War economic expansion to consolidate control over the fragmented and chaotic oil refining industry in the late 19th century.

  • Rockefeller believed enforcing cooperation through integration and vertical control was necessary to stabilize an otherwise wasteful and disruptive competitive market. His tactics included aggressive price-cutting of competitors.

  • By 1870, Standard Oil controlled 10% of U.S. refining capacity, growing to 90% by the end of the decade through acquisition and coercion of other refiners.

  • Standard Oil gained further dominance by controlling the pipeline network transporting oil. Legal challenges to its monopolistic practices revealed its aggressive consolidation methods.

  • Rockefeller incorporated the companies under a secret “trust” agreement in 1882 to escape antitrust scrutiny, giving the appearance that Standard Oil did not own the other companies directly.

  • By the late 1880s, Standard Oil had integrated further to control a third of U.S. crude oil production in addition to its dominance in refining and marketing petroleum products. It effectively set market prices as both producer and distributor.

  • The US oil industry was developing substantial overseas interests in the late 19th/early 20th century. Kerosene was replaced by electricity for illumination, but the rise of automobiles and gasoline engines transformed refineries to focus on gasoline production.

  • By the early 20th century, Standard Oil had reached its peak influence but faced growing competition internationally. Its dominant position was further threatened by substantial political opposition stemming from its use of dubious business practices to gain wealth and dominate the industry.

  • Investigative journalist Ida Tarbell published exposés of Standard Oil’s unethical methods in McClure’s Magazine from 1902-1904, increasing public outrage. President Theodore Roosevelt pursued an antitrust case against the company. In 1911 the Supreme Court ruled Standard Oil be dissolved into 34 new companies.

  • Henry Ford pioneered the development of affordable automobiles for mass consumption. He sought to liberate himself from creditors and shareholders and take on the powerful automobile manufacturers cartel (ALAM). Ford developed the assembly line process to produce the Model T affordably at scale for mainstream buyers. This strategic vision made Ford a celebrated businessman for a time.

  • Henry Ford introduced a $5 per day wage for workers at his factory, seeing it as a cost-cutting move because it would enable the workers to consume Ford’s products.

  • Ford understood that treating ordinary people as consumers and meeting their aspirations could be good for business. He focused on improving production methods and had little competition initially.

  • Ford claimed he was developing not just car manufacturing but industrial society as a whole, offering an alternative between socialism and crude capitalism. Paying higher wages turned workers into consumers, fueling mass production and consumption.

  • Ford portrayed himself as ordinary and looking out for people’s interests, but he ran the company as an autocrat and intensely monitored workers’ private lives. Over time, his approach showed flaws as consumer and worker demands evolved.

  • While Ford was once hugely successful, he refused to change his methods as competition emerged. He resisted unions and New Deal reforms as government regulations increased. The company struggled and was slow to accept needed changes.

  • Ford was a great innovator but a poor strategist, refusing to accept challenges or advice in running the massive business he had created. His inflexibility ultimately limited the company’s ability to adapt over time.

  • Alfred Sloan transformed General Motors through his “organization study” in 1920 which proposed dividing the company into autonomous divisions while still maintaining central control over finances and policy. This established the model of decentralized and controlled operations.

  • A major challenge was how to compete against Ford, which dominated the market with 60% share and its affordable Model T. Sloan devised a strategy of targeting different price classes with a range of GM models “for every purse and purpose.”

  • Specifically, he targeted the $450-$600 price segment where the Model T competed, but aimed Chevrolet higher in quality to “take a bite from the top” of Ford’s position rather than compete directly on price. This allowed Chevrolet to grow profitably without triggering a price war.

  • Ford was complacent and did not respond at first, but eventually lowered Model T prices which only furthered Chevrolet’s gains as it drew customers from above. Sloan understood the market had changed in ways Ford failed to grasp.

  • Sloan’s carefully devised strategic approach through product positioning and decentralized operations transformed GM and provided a model widely adopted in corporate America.

  • Alfred P. Sloan led General Motors to become the largest automaker by 1927, surpassing Henry Ford’s Model T dominance.

  • Sloan deeply objected to FDR’s New Deal policies and interference in business. He campaigned vigorously against FDR.

  • Sloan took a hardline stance against unions, seeing them as a challenge to company authority. GM spied on and fired union organizers.

  • In late 1936, the United Auto Workers union launched a major strike against GM through sit-down protests in factories.

  • The strike escalated tensions and clashes with police. Governor Murphy brokered negotiations while avoiding use of force.

  • UAW president John Lewis threatened to stay in factories even if forcibly removed. Murphy didn’t want violence on his watch.

  • In February 1937, GM finally signed an agreement recognizing UAW and its collective bargaining rights, marking a major victory for organized labor.

  • Though tensions continued, the strike established the principle of union rights in the auto industry and was a pivotal event in American labor history.

This passage discusses the emergence of large corporations as powerful economic entities competing with political states in the early 20th century. It describes how corporations like General Motors achieved significant economic power and influence under the leadership of Alfred Sloan, but that Sloan struggled to deal with government regulation and unions toward the end of his career. This led management theorists like Drucker to study corporations and develop strategies for managing them effectively in this new environment defined by relations with government and labor. The passage focuses on how disaffected Marxists and others developed theories of managerialism and strategic planning to understand the new power dynamics between large corporations, the state, and other groups in society.

This passage summarizes Drucker’s interactions with and observations of General Motors management in the mid-20th century, as well as how the concepts of corporate strategy and structure evolved. Some key points:

  • Drucker criticized GM management for being too focused on short-term profits over long-term investments, which they resisted as criticism of their successful principles.

  • Antitrust issues made GM wary of Drucker’s view that big businesses were “affected with the public interest.” He also critiqued GM’s strategy of keeping market share below 50% to avoid antitrust suits.

  • Drucker observed the legacy of labor tensions at GM and urged greater integration and empowerment of workers.

  • GM was irritated by Drucker’s book “The Concept of the Corporation.” Alfred Sloan then wrote his own book “My Years with General Motors” to respond, though the passage provides context challenging Drucker’s view of why Sloan wrote it.

  • Alfred Chandler introduced the concept of corporate strategy and defined it in terms of long-term planning and goals. This influenced how strategy was understood in business.

  • Chandler emphasized the multidivisional structure and separation of strategic planning from operations, though the relationship between strategy and structure was more complex.

So in summary, it traces the early development of concepts of corporate strategy and structure through the interactions and works of Drucker, Sloan, and Chandler regarding General Motors.

  • The historian Alfred Chandler generally considered business behavior in isolation from broader political and social contexts. He downplayed the significance of labor issues.

  • Access to GM archives was limited due to fears of antitrust action. This narrowed the scope of his scholarship.

  • Early business strategy focused narrowly on internal corporate issues like structure, products, and costs. It shied away from questions of power and relations with external stakeholders.

  • The “Sloan model” reflected strong leadership but was criticized for allowing bureaucracy to dominate over customers.

  • In the 1960s, the word “strategy” became popular in management circles due to writings by Igor Ansoff and the Boston Consulting Group applying strategic frameworks to business.

  • Early strategy teaching concentrated on case studies, emphasizing unique situations over general theories. Kenneth Andrews at Harvard stressed multidimensional thinking over singular goals.

  • Igor Ansoff sought to systematize strategy into a comprehensive science, incorporating all relevant internal and external factors through planning models. This specialized the strategy function.

  • Robert McNamara taught accounting at Harvard Business School before joining the Army Air Corps during WWII to help impose order and efficiency on their accounting and operations.

  • After the war, McNamara and his team (called the “Whiz Kids”) were hired by Ford Motor Company to modernize their financial systems and processes. They analyzed everything quantitatively and asked lots of probing questions.

  • McNamara emerged as the leader and helped turn Ford around. He later became Secretary of Defense under JFK and tried to apply the same analytic, quantified approach to managing the Pentagon and military programs.

  • By the 1960s, large corporations and governments were adopting formal strategic planning processes centered around detailed plans, budgets, targets set by central offices. This strengthened central control but weakened implementation.

  • By the 1980s, many companies like GE abandoned strategic planning as too rigid and disconnected from markets. Jack Welch embraced a more adaptive, decentralized approach instead of rigid plans.

  • Authors like Mintzberg later argued strategic planning failed to achieve much and strategic management needed to be more flexible and adaptive to changing circumstances. The rigid, quantified approaches fell out of favor.

This passage discusses different approaches to developing business strategies, including those that viewed business as analogous to war. Some key points:

  • Centralized “planning models” of the 1950s-60s proved unrealistic, as environments became less predictable and processes too slow.

  • Alternatives considered how to cope with internal conflicts and competition/cooperation between organizations.

  • Some saw parallels between intense business competition and war, using military tactics/leadership as strategic inspirations. However, direct analogies have limits given diverse market dynamics.

  • “Business as war” books often cited historical military figures selectively to illustrate varied business theories, with questionable practical value. Military experiences like “friction” warned of flaws in perfect plans.

  • Some conceptual strategists did draw on military ideas like concentrating on competitors’ weaknesses, though direct analogies have limits given psychological/territorial differences from war.

  • Marketing books in the 1980s proposed offensive/defensive/flanking “marketing warfare” strategies based on market share, drawing on military strategists like Clausewitz. But markets involve continuous competition rather than decisive victories.

So in summary, it discusses the limitations of top-down planning models and considers alternative strategic approaches, including those drawing loose inspiration from military ideas, though direct analogies to war have flaws given business environment complexities.

  • Small firms were advised to adopt a guerrilla-style strategy, avoiding direct competition with larger firms and staying nimble to take advantage of opportunities. Approaching enemies indirectly and attacking weaknesses, as per military theorists Liddell Hart and Clausewitz, were seen as effective principles.

  • In the 1980s, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War became influential in business strategy. Popular films like Wall Street and The Sopranos referenced it.

  • Sun Tzu promoted intelligence, deception, and indirection over direct confrontation. His works were applied to business concepts like gaining market share without provoking retaliation or attacking competitors’ weaknesses.

  • Figures like the Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, author of The Book of Five Rings, were also studied for insights into Asian strategic thinking and flexible, intuitive approaches.

  • Some consultants promoted “indirect attack” strategies inspired by military concepts like getting inside an opponent’s decision cycle, to gain competitive advantages through speed and surprise rather than direct confrontation.

  • There was debate around how directly applicable military strategy was to business competition. Some areas like rapid market changes could resemble warfare, but direct comparisons had limitations.

  • The passage discusses how military strategy concepts and ideas were adopted and applied to business strategy starting in the 1970s and 1980s. American military strategists began exploring the works of Sun Tzu and Liddell Hart.

  • They looked at ways to get inside the decision cycles of opponents, leaving them confused based on the ideas of John Boyd. Business strategists later picked up on these themes as well.

  • Military strategies were tested occasionally in isolated encounters, while business strategies were tested daily through ongoing market competition.

  • A key difference is that states tended to remain fixed entities, while companies were much more dynamic - able to break up, be acquired, or form new companies. This interaction of organization and environment was complex.

  • Strategic literature at the time paid little attention to this interaction between internal organization and external environment. Economics focused on firm-market relationships, while sociology provided tools to understand organizations but not their environments.

  • The passage then discusses how economics came to take a dominant position in strategic management due to promotion by organizations like RAND and the Ford Foundation. It encouraged embracing economics as the foundation of a new “science of decision making.”

The rise of economics in business strategy and management occurred for several reasons in the mid-20th century:

  • Foundations like Ford focused on applying social science, including economics, to improve management practices and decision-making. This led to increased funding of business schools.

  • Chicago School economists like Friedman argued markets worked best when unregulated, influencing how economics was applied.

  • Business environments became more competitive internationally, driven by companies like Japanese firms. This made competition a larger focus.

  • Consultants like BCG’s Bruce Henderson applied microeconomic theories to strategy, seeing it as comparing competitors’ costs and disrupting market equilibriums.

  • Economists brought quantitative models, testable hypotheses, and assumptions of rational actors that appealed to how managers wanted to think of themselves.

Overall economics rose as it offered a science-based, theory-driven approach compared to past more experiential business education and strategy. This had widespread effects on business schools and practice.

  • BCG’s experience curve theory suggested that company costs would systematically decline as market share and production experience increased. However, this could be misleading in mature industries where cost reductions level off. It also risked a “race to the bottom” on prices.

  • BCG’s growth-share matrix classified businesses based on their market growth and share. This was an oversimplification that could substitute analysis for “common sense.” Market positions are more flexible than implied.

  • Michael Porter introduced a rigorous framework for analyzing competitive forces in an industry and developing strategies to gain advantage. He argued companies should pick one of three generic strategies - cost leadership, differentiation, or market focus.

  • Porter’s structural view was criticized for being too deductive and not accounting for strategic transformation of industries. It also had political implications in how it suggested exploiting market power and imperfect competition, including through government relations.

  • His advice to the NFL in its dispute with the USFL was found to promote anticompetitive practices, demonstrating limitations in seeing markets as rigid structures to exploit rather than ecosystems to cooperate within.

  • Agency theory examines the relationship between principals (owners) and agents (managers) in situations where work is delegated. It considered how principals can ensure agents are working in their best interests and not pursuing their own goals.

  • Michael Jensen and William Meckling applied agency theory to the relationship between shareholders and corporate managers. They argued managers’ interests may diverge from maximizing shareholder value.

  • They claimed efficient markets provide a better guide to a company’s value than individual managers. This challenged the concept of managerialism.

  • Agency theory prescribed giving owners more control over managers through monitoring, incentives, and making managers more accountable to shareholders.

  • It supported deregulation, hostile takeovers, and other measures that put pressure on managers to deliver value or risk losing their positions. The goal was realigning manager and shareholder interests around profit maximization.

  • Jensen claimed this would spark a “revolution” in understanding organizations as systems of contracts between self-interested individuals and agents.

  • In the 1980s, academics warned that American managers had abdicated their strategic responsibilities and sought short-term gains over long-term innovation. Theories emphasizing analytical detachment and quantifiable methods were favoring a “shallow concept” of management.

  • By the 1990s, theories were developed portraying managers as virtuous heroes focused on profits, market share, and stock prices. Management was becoming a “dangerous profession” requiring ruthlessness and a focus on shareholders over other stakeholders.

  • Attitudes toward finance transformed, with more capital raising through debt and an emphasis on mergers, acquisitions, and extracting value from assets. Management buyouts further liberated executives to pursue initiatives for profit.

  • Businesses and managers were now judged primarily by market value and short-term stock performance, incentivizing hype over long-term development. This focus on quantification and detachment was creating risks of misassessment and even fraud.

  • Business Process Reengineering (BPR) emerged in the 1990s as a response to growing competition from Japanese companies. It aimed to radically redesign business processes using new information technologies.

  • BPR was promoted by consultants like Michael Hammer and James Champy. Their book popularized the idea and over 75% of Fortune 500 companies engaged in some form of BPR.

  • BPR argued that companies should start with a “clean sheet of paper” rather than incrementally improving existing systems. All processes and structures could be redesigned, with new technologies enabling flatter hierarchies and networks.

  • While originally focused on efficiency gains, BPR took on a transformative rhetoric. Proponents claimed it would revolutionize how people work and see themselves, comparable to the Industrial Revolution. This dramatic language helped drive its widespread adoption.

  • However, BPR often focused more on technology-driven efficiencies than strategic needs or competitive challenges. Many reengineering projects struggled or failed to achieve their goals.

  • Business process reengineering (BPR) started as a modest idea but grew into a “Reengineering Industrial Complex” involving major companies, big consulting firms, and large IT vendors. It was in all their interests to hype up BPR and make it seem essential and successful.

  • Specific projects were “repackaged” as BPR success stories to get approval. Consultants rebranded their existing offerings as BPR expertise. Continuous improvement initiatives were all folded under the BPR label.

  • A “feeding frenzy” ensued as consulting firms routinely billed clients $1 million per month for BPR work. Companies also rebranded layoffs as “reengineering” to justify job cuts.

  • Eventually the hype bubble burst as too many promises were made but not achieved. Most reengineering initiatives produced mediocre or failed results. Companies touted as examples also ran into trouble or abandoned BPR.

  • This led to an atmosphere of fear and anxiety in companies as most sought to cut around 20% of jobs on average through reengineering. The consulting industry that promoted BPR became dependent on hype to drive new business and stayed “ahead of the latest fashion.”

  • The passage discusses theories of business strategy, particularly the distinction between “red ocean” and “blue ocean” strategies put forth by Kim and Mauborgne.

  • Red ocean strategies see the market boundaries as fixed, and involve competing within the existing market for customers. Blue ocean strategies aim to reconstruct market boundaries by creating new market spaces through innovative offerings.

  • Kim and Mauborgne argued that successful strategies require aligning the value proposition, profit proposition, and people proposition. Only senior leadership can develop this holistic alignment.

  • Critics argued existing strategy theories did not adequately address complexity, non-linearity, and uncertainty in the business environment. Equilibrium economic models were not as relevant as models of complex adaptive systems.

  • A strategy cannot be a fixed plan but must be adaptive and evolve over time in response to changing circumstances and unexpected events. Moments of decision provide opportunities to adjust direction rather than settle matters definitively.

  • In summary, the passage discusses evolving perspectives on business strategy theory, particularly regarding how to address uncertainty, complexity, and the need for strategic flexibility and adaptation over time.

This passage discusses the sociological challenge to managerialism and the influence of human relations studies on organizational theory from the 1950s to the 1970s. Some key points:

  • The human relations school in the 1950s started to view organizations as social systems rather than just means to a management goal. This opened up questions about how organizations could be arranged to better fulfill people’s lives.

  • Scholars like Douglas McGregor, Herbert Simon, and Karl Weick challenged standard models of rational management and decision-making. McGregor presented alternative theories of motivating workers (Theory X vs Theory Y).

  • Weick introduced concepts like “loose coupling”, “enactment”, and “sensemaking” to describe how organizations functioned in uncertain environments. His work focused on communication and meaning-making within organizations.

  • Tom Peters and Robert Waterman published the influential book “In Search of Excellence” which promoted focusing on softer aspects of organizational life. They developed the “7-S framework” to look at various interacting elements like structure, strategy, style, skills, etc.

  • The book was influential in signaling a shift away from purely rational, hierarchical views of management towards more flexible, socio-cultural understandings of organizations. However, Peters later acknowledged the research was not very systematic.

  • Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman wrote the bestselling business book “In Search of Excellence” which took aim at traditional management models based on Taylorism and hierarchy championed by thinkers like Peter Drucker and organizations like the Pentagon under McNamara.

  • They argued for a more people-centric approach focused on relationships, customers, and empowering employees rather than bureaucracy and metrics. However, the book relied more on anecdotes than research.

  • Peters in particular had a colorful, dramatic speaking style and wanted to provoke change, though his prescriptions were not always consistent. He left McKinsey before the book was published due to tensions.

  • The book was a huge commercial success due to its story-telling style and positive message. However, some of the ‘excellent’ companies it highlighted later struggled, showing the lack of a reliable framework.

  • Peters and others like Gary Hamel took on the mantle of management “gurus” through influential speaking circuits, though some saw their ideas as impractical or quasi-religious in nature. They aimed to challenge traditional strategic thinking and help companies adapt to new competitive landscapes.

  • Strategic concepts developed by thinkers like Porter in previous decades were no longer valid, as they assumed stable industries, separated strategy design from execution, and focused on business units and economics rather than politics/policy.

  • Hamel and Prahalad argued for an approach recognizing major industry changes, the interplay of economics/politics, and involvement of executives in strategy design.

  • Hamel later called for a more revolutionary approach, invoking figures like MLK and likening strategy to revolution. This challenged incrementalism and the status quo.

  • He criticized strategic planning for taking boundaries as given and not tapping creative potential. He advocated democratic strategy-making involving lower levels.

  • Hamel celebrated Enron but had to remove it from his work after its collapse into fraud. He continued advocating for flexibility, creativity, innovation over control and stability.

  • However, his vision exaggerated democratic possibilities in business and presumed participatory democracy would lead to progressive policies. Organization still requires structure, discipline and accountability from senior leadership.

  • Henry Mintzberg challenged the “deliberate” model of strategy which saw strategy as a precise plan handed down from senior management. He argued strategies are often “emergent” arising from on-the-ground decisions rather than meticulously planned.

  • Mintzberg advocated for a more learning-oriented approach where organizations adapt and learn over time in response to changing environments. He saw this as more realistic given the uncertainties organizations face.

  • The concept of the “learning organization” grew in popularity, seeing organizational learning and continuous knowledge development as key to success. This also framed work as a fulfilling experience.

  • However, some theorists like Chia and Holt took the emergent approach too far, advocating “strategy without design” and passively “going with the flow” without consideration of power dynamics.

  • Theories of strategy need to incorporate an understanding of power and how strategies often result from negotiations, deal-making, and coalition-building rather than purely natural emergence. Too focus on emergent strategies alone could overlook real power dynamics.

Here is a summary of the key points about dress issues of power from the passage:

  • Organizational politics and power plays by individuals promoting themselves were seen as disruptive and detrimental to efficiency and morale. Power could become an end in itself as a way for people to boss others around.

  • However, having some power was also seen as necessary to move organizations towards goals and accomplish things. Without power, potentially good decisions may not be implemented.

  • Power structures within organizations depend on personalities, cultures, social networks, budgets, and how expenditures are monitored. Addressing power issues is an unavoidable part of strategy formulation and implementation.

  • Some writers like Jeffrey Pfeffer advised on understanding power dynamics, building alliances, positioning oneself on committees, and framing issues strategically.

  • Later thinkers criticized the more optimistic views of management for being naive about power dynamics and issues like worker exploitation. Shared values and cultures could reflect the perspectives of senior management.

  • Some viewed corporate strategy as concealing more than it revealed in order to support existing power structures. Strategy became a way for managers to legitimize their power and sense of purpose rather than a rational approach.

  • There were debates around whether strategy was a conscious concept or just discursive practices used to transform people and legitimize elites. Strategy was seen by some as an ideology or “technology of power” rather than an objective management approach.

So in summary, the passage discusses how issues of power are an important but complex part of organizational strategy and decision making, and have been analyzed and critiqued in various ways by different theorists and perspectives.

  • This passage discusses the field of research around management fads and fashions - Management approaches come and go frequently, with new ideas promoted through books, seminars and consultancies. This creates a “cacophony and inconsistency” for managers.

  • There are various explanations for why management fads proliferate. Gurus help managers make sense of uncertainty and legitimize their work. Managers are anxious about missing out on important developments.

  • However, not all ideas are useless. Some approaches like SWOT analysis became widely accepted over time.

  • Research found adoption of fads influenced reputation more than performance. Firms sought external legitimacy rather than technical efficiency.

  • Successful ideas seemed to capture the “spirit of the times.” Analysis of strategy definitions found changing emphases over time, like a decline in “planning” and rise of “environment” and “competition.”

  • This led to a view of strategy as an ongoing practice undertaken by many in an organization, not just a top-down product or output. But decisions by senior managers still had more significant influence due to their resources and reach.

  • The passages describe how business strategists found that stories worked better than charts and diagrams when presenting to business audiences. Successful companies were described as “rich collectors and tellers of stories.”

  • Stories came in many forms, from unstructured anecdotes to deliberate narratives, and could be found in meeting minutes, presentations, business plans, and analytical frameworks.

  • Academics began recognizing the importance of narratives and storytelling in leadership, strategy formulation, communication within organizations, and shaping institutional culture.

  • However, stories are also subject to being controlled and manipulated to present certain views in a favorable light while criticizing opponents. Even accurate stories may not apply in different contexts.

  • The passages discuss how business strategists would use stories to illustrate points, but sometimes selected only cases that clearly supported their views, without considering alternative outcomes. Stories were also sometimes embellished or contrived.

  • Two of Mintzberg’s favorite stories - about a lost military unit and Honda’s entry to the US market - are presented, but critiqued for how strategists drew broad conclusions from them without considering other context or possibilities.

  • Honda and Yamaha engaged in a fierce battle for market leadership in motorcycles in Japan in 1981 known as the “H-Y war”. Honda launched a strong defensive response to Yamaha’s new factory plans.

  • Honda cut prices, boosted advertising, and introduced new products to make their motorcycles a “fashion necessity”. Yamaha’s bikes were left looking outdated and demand dried up, forcing Yamaha to eventually surrender.

  • While Honda’s victory came at a high price, it deterred other competitors. Analysts were impressed by Honda’s acceleration of production cycles to head off competition.

  • However, Honda’s strategy was also brutally attritional, relying on heavy price cuts and promotions. And its diversity was still limited despite exploiting its engine technology across various product lines.

  • In the 1990s, Honda showed “a narrow self-definition and technological stubbornness” lacking responsiveness to consumers. Its expensive NSX sports car failed due to factors like currency changes and choosing the wrong market.

  • Analysts are criticized for one-sided, reductionist views of companies like Honda that focused only on successes and ignored failures or inconvenient data that didn’t fit their theories.

  • There were calls to return to basic strategic principles focused on a company’s capabilities and situation rather than grand visions of control and success formulas. Strategy needs to be adaptive and realistic given inherent complexities and uncertainties.

Here are the key points about the more proximate a strategic objective must be:

  • Strategic objectives need to be specific, concrete goals that can realistically be achieved within a set timeframe, usually 1-3 years. They should not be overly broad, vague, or long-term.

  • More proximate/specific strategic objectives are better than less proximate/broad ones because they are more actionable and measurable. Management can better align actions and resources to achieve well-defined near-term goals.

  • Distant, long-term objectives are not true strategies on their own - they need to be broken down into a series of shorter-term strategic objectives that build upon each other over time towards achieving the ultimate long-term goal.

  • Setting objectives that are too distant/ambitious runs the risk of being unrealistic and unachievable within the planned timeframe. It also makes it harder to measure progress and hold management accountable.

  • Strategic objectives need to be practical and within the organization’s ability to achieve. They should stretch the organization but not be impossible. Proximate objectives help ensure they are realistic.

  • The more proximate a strategic objective, the more likely it is to actually influence and guide decisions, resource allocation and day-to-day operations in a meaningful way. Distant objectives are too vague.

So in summary, the strategic objectives that form the basis of a strategy need to be well-defined, near-term goals in order to be truly actionable and allow for effective implementation and monitoring of progress. The more proximate, the better.

  • William Riker was a prominent political scientist who advocated applying game theory and rational choice modeling to the study of politics. He saw this as a way to establish political science as a more “scientific” discipline.

  • Riker was drawn to game theory’s assumption of rational actors making strategic choices to achieve their goals, free from irrationality or determinism. This matched his view of traditional political science focused on human decisions.

  • However, he acknowledged tensions in applying rational choice theory descriptively given the variability of human choices. Still, he believed the theory could balance generalization with free choice by assuming same rational choices in same circumstances.

  • Under Riker’s leadership, the University of Rochester political science department promoted rational choice modeling. His students then spread this “rational choice paradigm” at other universities.

  • By the 1980s and 90s, rational choice had come to dominate American political science, though critics argued this was due more to strong promotion within the field than clear advantage of the approach.

  • While not a simple economic model, rational choice struggled to explain political phenomena with many variables or uncertainty about options and outcomes. Empirical validation was also difficult given limitations of available data.

  • The passage discusses the limitations of rational choice theory and game theory when applied to political science. Specifically, it addresses issues with using these theories to explain voting behavior, coalition formation, and cooperation.

  • When applied to voting, rational choice theory offered no good explanation for why people voted in large numbers if voting was not expected to have a meaningful impact on outcomes. Explanations had to be found outside the theory.

  • Theories of coalition formation based on game theory produced too many possible solutions, and it was difficult to verify the theories empirically. More work was spent elaborating the theories than verifying them.

  • Applying rational choice to cooperation raised issues like the “free rider” problem, where it is irrational for individuals to cooperate to achieve collective goals unless compelled to do so. This helped explain limitations of large, dispersed groups to act politically.

  • The passage discusses several scholars who analyzed these issues, like Olson on free riders, Gamson on coalition theory, and Riker’s work emphasizing winning over other motives like power. It notes limitations in narrowly conceiving interests and problems with making assumptions about cooperation.

  • The book discusses how game theory and iterated prisoner’s dilemma games can provide insight into the development of social cooperation and behavior.

  • Anatol Rapoport helped promote experimental game theory research to test theoretical solutions. Robert Axelrod organized a prisoner’s dilemma tournament where programs played repeated games.

  • Rapoport’s simple “tit-for-tat” strategy of cooperating initially and then reciprocating the other player’s previous move won the tournament. This showed how cooperation can be rational through reciprocal behavior.

  • Axelrod analyzed the results and developed rules for cooperation like not being envious, not defecting first, reciprocating defection, and not being too clever. Cooperation is more likely in long-term repeated interactions.

  • However, iterated prisoner’s dilemma games may not fully capture real-world situations where positions are asymmetric and benefits exchanged differ. Cooperation develops through exchange and relationships over time rather than single encounters.

  • Strategies also need to be judged over multiple engagements rather than a single interaction, as behaviors become difficult to interpret without the full context. Leaders play an important role in starting collective movements.

  • Rational choice theories rely on exogenously defined preferences and utilities, but understanding where alternatives come from and how preferences change is also important to fully analyze strategic behavior and cooperation.

  • William Riker developed the concept of heresthetics, which refers to strategic manipulation of political situations and decision-making processes to gain advantage. Some heresthetic strategies he identified included agenda setting, strategic voting, trading votes, altering the sequence of decisions, and redefining issues.

  • Initially, Riker saw heresthetics as separate from rhetoric. However, in his later work he focused more on the persuasive and rhetorical aspects of manipulation and acknowledged the limitations of applying a strictly scientific approach.

  • Riker was interested in understanding why some political actors seemed smarter and more persuasive than others, even though explaining persuasion involves factors beyond strict rational choice models.

  • Rational choice theory assumes individuals act rationally to achieve their goals in the most efficient way. But critics argue actual human behavior involves more complex motivations and cognitive limitations than rational choice allows.

  • For behavior to truly be rational according to rational choice standards, it would require hyper-optimal actions based on complete information and mathematical analysis of probabilities - an unrealistic standard for real people.

  • Rational choice theory uses rationality as a methodological assumption rather than attempting to accurately describe human cognition and behavior. It focuses on developing deductive theories and models rather than inductive understanding of actual behavior.

  • Herbert Simon first proposed the concept of bounded rationality in the 1950s. He criticized mainstream economics for assuming perfectly rational decision-making and argued people have limited cognitive abilities and information.

  • At Carnegie Graduate School, Simon clashed with economists who ignored human psychology. He later moved into psychology and AI research.

  • Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman introduced further psychological insights into economics through experiments showing cognitive biases and heuristics. This led to the field of behavioral economics.

  • Experiments challenged rational choice models, showing people consider fairness over self-interest in ultimatum games. Offers were often around half the amount rather than small as rational choice predicts. Responders would reject unfair offers.

  • Factors like reputation, social norms, altruism particularly within families, and punishment of unfair behavior further influenced results over narrow self-interest. Children became more other-regarding with age.

  • The work established bounded rationality and heuristics provide a more accurate description of human decision-making than assuming perfect rationality. It incorporated important psychological and social factors mainstream economics previously ignored.

  • Experiments showed that individuals are willing to punish free-riders and enforce sanctions against them to promote cooperation within a group. Over time, people prefer to join groups that have sanctions against free-riding.

  • Free-riders and unfair proposers in economic games like the ultimatum game tend to be stigmatized. People also form negative impressions of those described as untrustworthy, even if their actual behavior is the same as others.

  • Responses from rational choice theorists were that this behavior didn’t disprove rational choice theory since the experiments involved small groups like students. Studies found people with economics/business backgrounds acted in a more self-interested way in games.

  • However, this still showed some socialization is required to behave in a purely self-interested way. Cooperation is actually quite rational within complex social networks where trust and reputation are important.

  • True self-interested behavior is irrational in everyday life where normative and social pressures promote trust, cooperation, and punishment of free-riders. Behavioral economics made limited progress incorporating insights about actual human behavior.

  • Understanding human behavior is better studied in social context, not just as individuals. Mentalizing, or theorizing about other minds, and developing concepts like trust, deception, and scripts, are important for social interaction and predicting behavior.

  • The passage discusses the concept of a “script” as developed by Schank and Abelson in the field of artificial intelligence. A script refers to common patterns or sequences of events that people unconsciously expect or follow in familiar social situations. Examples include scripts for activities like dining at a restaurant.

  • Scripts help people anticipate what is likely to happen next and provide a framework for interpreting others’ behaviors. However, scripts are not always followed exactly and can be adapted based on unique situational features.

  • The ability to mentalize or understand others’ minds varies between individuals. Better mentalizers tend to be more cooperative, emotionally intelligent, and social. However, studies found those with manipulative or “Machiavellian” personalities have limited ability to mentalize.

  • This suggests manipulative people find it easier to exploit others because they lack empathy or insight into how their actions might prompt guilt in others. However, strategies involving deception differ from instinctive manipulative traits.

  • Understanding in-group members is usually easier than out-group members, as more background is shared. Mentalizing out-groups is challenging due to preconceptions and lack of direct communication.

  • The passage then contrasts intuitive, instinctive decision-making involving mental shortcuts with more deliberative, rational decision-making modeled in theories. It outlines research on the dual cognitive systems in the brain involved in these different processes.

  • The passage discusses a “dual-process model of reasoning” that identifies two distinct processes for processing information and making decisions - System 1 and System 2 thinking.

  • System 1 processes are intuitive, unconscious, automatic and fast. They draw on past experiences and learning to quickly evaluate situations and prompt appropriate behavior. However, they can be biased.

  • System 2 processes are conscious, deliberate, analytical and slower. They allow for analyzing novel situations, correcting biases, and considering longer time horizons. However, they are also more demanding cognitively.

  • There is a tension between the two systems as intuitive thinking can overwhelm deliberate thinking unless controlled. Strategy involves a tussle between the two, with System 2 seeking to correct biases from System 1.

  • Strategic thinking, like game theory, relies on System 2 processes. But people are not naturally strategic - they must understand they are in a strategic context for their thinking to become more strategic. Otherwise their thinking may be inconsistent, focused on the wrong factors, and misunderstand opponents.

  • Learning and experience can influence the balance between the two systems and improve intuitive decision-making, but deliberation is also needed to correct biases from intuitive thinking.

  • Early theories of strategy confidently believed rationalism could help achieve objectives through well-planned strategies. But experience showed strategies rarely work out as planned due to uncertainties and uncontrollable factors.

  • Strategies are not designed or implemented in controlled environments. Even small failures in initial moves can cause strategies to go awry as situations become more complex. It’s difficult to influence all the institutions, personalities and perceptions involved.

  • History teaches skepticism about people’s ability to control their own destinies through purposely designed strategies. Strategies are better seen as ways to cope with situations where no one is fully in control.

  • While fixed plans are unlikely to succeed, planning is still valuable to consider alternatives, challenges assumptions, and allow flexibility to changing situations. Strategy requires recognizing its limitations in predicting outcomes.

  • Boundaries are needed for strategy - it only applies where elements of conflict are present. Overtly strategic behavior within familiar environments can backfire without real gains in power.

  • Strategy comes into play during periods of conflict, instability or changing contexts that undermine previously stable situations. This induces a sense of conflict between different groups.

  • Documents labeled as “strategy” often avoid actual conflict and focus more on long-term orientation or positioning. They lack sharp focus on problems and have short shelf lives. True strategy is only needed during unstable environments when real choices must be made.

  • Strategy starts from the current situation and aims to progress to the “next stage” rather than a definitive end state. It involves reassessing means and ends as situations change. Victory does not end strategy as new challenges will arise.

  • Strategy must address relationships with colleagues, opponents, and potential allies. It requires balancing cooperation and conflict, seeking conciliation or coercion depending on strengths. Coalition building is important.

  • Strategic thinking originates from both conscious “System 2” thinking but also subconscious “System 1” intuitive judgments drawing on experience. Great strategists have an ability to quickly grasp unique situations and anticipate consequences through a “semi-instinctive” political intelligence.

  • In summary, true strategy emerges during conflict and aims to progress situations through a series of stages, requiring balances of relationships and reassessments of means and ends as environments change unpredictably. Both conscious deliberation and subconscious intuitive skills are important for strategic thinking.

  • Stories are a natural way for humans to understand and explain events, but they have limitations as analytical tools due to various cognitive biases. They tend to oversimplify causal relationships and neglect unintended consequences.

  • Well-constructed stories can seem very plausible and satisfying, but may overlook impersonal/collective forces and alternative explanations. They promote the idea that events were inevitable outcomes of rational choices rather than recognizing available alternatives.

  • Business histories in particular sometimes exaggerate the role of leadership and present decisions as though there was no possibility of different outcomes. They understate the role of luck and external factors.

  • The biases involved in storytelling lead to overconfidence in our ability to predict the future based on past patterns. Unexpected “black swan” events are underestimated.

  • To counter these issues, stories need to be placed in more context and analyzed critically rather than taken at face value. We should also tell “stories about stories” to examine how they are constructed and shaped by cultural and cognitive factors. The goal is more nuanced explanatory frameworks rather than simplistic narratives.

  • The passage discusses how different thinkers have sought to validate their own ideas by selectively using or twisting stories and historical examples. This includes philosophers, military strategists, political thinkers, and business gurus.

  • It notes the human tendency to seize on specific incidents and overstate conclusions based on them. Stories are open to interpretation and different audiences may focus on different aspects.

  • While storytelling can be an effective persuasion tool among similar audiences, it risks appearing forced or propagandistic with more skeptical audiences. The meaning and messages of stories can also be ambiguous.

  • The passage then introduces the concept of “scripts” - stereotyped understandings of situations that shape expectations and responses. Internalized scripts can be limiting but may also be deliberately developed and used to orient groups to new situations.

  • Scripts related to concepts like honor, dignity and retaliation helped propel the major powers into World War I despite uncertain outcomes, by providing a narrative framework for decisions.

The passage discusses strategies and scripts, comparing strategic scripts to dramatic scripts. Strategic scripts should be more deserving of the term “strategic” than established System 1 scripts, which can result in strategic failure by following routines without consideration of context.

Strategic scripts involve conscious communication and composition rather than subconscious routines. They should project possibilities into the future based on the present situation. Like drama, strategic scripts create expectations and guide interpretations through narrative logic rather than empirical facts.

The author discusses Jerome Bruner’s perspectives on effective narratives, including requirements of verisimilitude, guiding audience interpretation, and demonstrating principles through narrative rather than proof. Successful strategic narratives must engage audiences through coherence, consistency with their understandings, and breaching expectations while maintaining plausibility.

The passage addresses criticisms that stories exaggerate human agency and discount chance. While acknowledging these limitations for history, the author argues stories are necessary for strategy to envision potential futures dependent on human actions. Flexibility can accommodate unexpected events if provisions are made. Strategic scripts, like drama, involve improvisation within an anticipated sequence of events driven by multiple interacting actors over time.

In conclusion, the passage compares features of effective strategic scripts to principles of dramatic scriptwriting, noting similarities in constructing meaningful narratives through conflict, characters, chance events, and complexity beyond any single plan.

  • A good story or narrative needs compelling characters, clear and engaging plot lines, and coherence across events and perspectives to hold the audience’s interest.

  • Both strategists and storytellers craft narratives, but strategists face unique challenges due to real-world consequences and lack of control over other actors.

  • The example of the Teapot Dome scandal shows how strategic success depends on meticulous investigation rather than dramatic plot turns.

  • The movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington contrasts naive idealism with political manipulation, corruption, and suppression of debate. It implies the need for strategic thinking to enact positive change.

  • While Smith appears unstrategic, his aide Clarissa provides strategic advice that allows him to temporarily overcome obstacles through a filibuster tactic.

  • Ultimately, success comes from the disintegration of alliances rather than any single strategic masterstroke. Real-world outcomes involve many contingent factors beyond one’s control.

  • Strategists must operate without knowing all plot points and character motivations in advance, and cannot rely on dramatic climaxes to achieve goals. Success is harder to achieve or portray.

  • It is tempting but dangerous to depict opponents as truly monstrous or egocentric when involved in a conflict. Doing so risks escalating the conflict into an unnecessary confrontation between good and evil.

  • Exaggerated caricatures of opponents and glowing portrayals of allies can cause misunderstandings and surprises about others’ actual behaviors.

  • Strategies that depend on others acting irrationally or against their interests are gambles that often do not pay off. Instead of assigned roles, others will pursue their own goals and scripts.

  • The essence of strategy is to influence those who are hostile or unsympathetic to act differently than their current intentions, through force or persuasion. However, outcomes may be messier than anticipated and plans can fail or lead nowhere.

  • Strategists must consider multiple audiences but managing different versions of events for different groups increases risks of confusion.

  • Unlike dramatists, strategists cannot rely on last-minute saves or force decisive endings and must accept open-ended outcomes requiring ongoing management.

  • Chance events disrupting plans are an inevitable risk strategists face but cannot control like dramatists using plot devices. Plans must allow flexibility.

  • The more definitive early choices are, the greater the commitment but less ability to adapt to surprises. Strategists cannot rely on dramatic rescues to bail them out.

In summary, it cautions against oversimplified portrayals of opponents, notes the challenges strategists face in implementation compared to creative control of dramatists, and emphasizes remaining adaptive to an open-ended, uncertain process rather than seeking definite endings.

Here is a summary of the key points about the dynamic interaction between military strategy elements according to Arthur F. Lykke, Jr.’s article “Toward an Understanding of Military Strategy”:

  • Military strategy involves the dynamic interaction of ends, ways, and means. The ends and objectives should drive the ways and means.

  • There is constant interaction between the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of war. Events at the tactical level can influence operations and strategy, and vice versa.

  • Domestic, economic, political, and social factors all influence and interact with the military instrument of power. Military strategy cannot be separated from these other national elements.

  • Technology developments can introduce new strategic options or render old strategies obsolete, so there is a dynamic interaction between technology and strategy.

  • The characteristics of an enemy and the nature of a specific conflict also interact with one’s choice of ends, ways, and means. Strategy must account for the actions and reactions of intelligent opponents.

  • Luck, chance, uncertainty, and the “fog of war” create complex dynamics that challenge linear thinking about strategy. Strategic interactions are iterative and complex with many feedback loops.

So in summary, Lykke argues that military strategy involves the dynamic, complex, and interconnected relationship between multiple strategic elements and factors, not a simple, static, or linear relationship between ends, ways, and means. A full understanding of strategy requires appreciating these dynamic interactions.

Here is a summary of paragraphs 35, 49-50 from the passage:

  1. Discusses John Lynn’s criticism that claims of a single “Western Way of Warfare” over 2500 years are more fantasy than fact, as no overarching theory can encompass all of Western combat and culture.

49-50. Introduces Beatrice Heuser’s book The Evolution of Strategy, which discusses Vegetius’ late Roman military manual Epitoma Rei Militaris. The manual was influential in the Middle Ages and discussed in several articles by scholars including Rogers, Morillo, and Gillingham.

Here is a summary of Chapter 7, pages 119-120 of Book 1 in Clausewitz’s On War:

  • Clausewitz addresses the view that war is a pure act of force that should require no theory. However, he argues that war involves a complex interplay of interacting forces and affects that require careful understanding. It cannot simply be left to instinct or emotion.

  • While war has an element of pure chance and uncertainty, it also involves definite laws that can be studied. There are patterns to the chaos of war that allow commanders to understand it and operate successfully within its bounds. Warfare is a business of serious importance that requires the rigors of theory.

  • Commanders must make practical use of theory to deal with the uncertainties of war. Theory helps marshal resources effectively and make prudent decisions even when facing an unpredictable enemy and the so-called “friction” of reality diverging from plans. It provides a compass even when lost in the fog of war.

That covers the key points from the specified pages in summary form. Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions.

Here is a summary of the key points from 136–143, cited in Lucian Ashworth, “Realism and the S pirit of 1919: Halford Mackinder, G eopolitics and the R eality of the League of Nations , ” European Journal of International Relations 17, no. 2 (June 2011 ): 279–301 and other sources on Halford Mackinder:

  • Mackinder published Democratic Ideals and Reality: A Study in the Politics of Reconstruction in 1919. In it, he argued national self-determination could lead to conflict unless tempered by evolutionary change and international cooperation.

  • Geoffrey Sloan discusses Mackinder’s “Heartland Theory” which hypothesized Russian control of the Inner Eurasian Heartland as a pivot area would give domination of the world island (Eurasia). This theory is still discussed today in relation to geopolitics.

  • Mackinder published “The Geographical Pivot of History” in 1904 outlining the Heartland Theory.

  • Other sources that discuss Mackinder and provide context on his theories and influence include B. W. Blouet’s 1987 biography Halford Mackinder: A Biography and Colin Gray’s defense of Mackinder’s theories in 2004 article “In Defence of the Heartland: Sir Halford Mackinder and His Critics a Hundred Years On.”

  • This collection of notes cites various sources related to the development of game theory and concepts like the Cold War, nuclear deterrence, and arms control.

  • It discusses key figures like Thomas Schelling who helped develop concepts of deterrence and coercion through games of strategy. Schelling’s works like The Strategy of Conflict were influential in establishing this field of study.

  • Other sources cited examine nuclear strategy during the Cold War period from scholars at RAND corporation like Albert Wohlstetter. Works analyze deterrence theory, escalation dynamics, and arms control negotiations.

  • The notes trace the emergence of modern strategic studies as an academic discipline drawing on game theory, operations research, and other analytical approaches to understand nuclear confrontation and international security issues during the Cold War era. Key terms and frameworks from this period that still shape discussions today are outlined.

Here are the key points from the notes:

  • Notes 48 and 49 discuss Kennedy’s Wars by Bruce J. Allyn and Wizards of Armageddon by Fred Kaplan respectively.

  • Note 50 cites a letter from Kaysen to Kennedy regarding the Cuban Missile Crisis.

  • Note 51 discusses Thirteen Days by Robert Kennedy about the Cuban Missile Crisis.

  • Note 52 mentions The Kennedy Tapes by May and Zelikow about recordings from the White House during the Crisis.

  • Note 53 references a paper by Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter on controlling risks in Cuba.

  • Notes 54-56 discuss works by Herman Kahn on thermonuclear war and escalation.

  • Notes 57-58 discuss articles and books by McGeorge Bundy on nuclear weapons and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The notes provide citations and context for understanding works related to JFK, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and nuclear strategy/deterrence. They summarize key publications and authors relevant to these topics.

Here is a 332-word summary of the specified pages from The Wizards of Armageddon by Fred Kaplan:

This section discusses the RAND Corporation’s work on nuclear strategy and targeting in the 1950s and early 1960s. At this time, RAND was attempting to develop rational principles and strategies for nuclear war planning against the Soviet Union. However, the realities of nuclear war made rational planning extremely difficult. Some key challenges included determining how many Soviet cities to target to achieve military objectives without causing unnecessary destruction, and predicting the Soviets’ reactions to different levels of damage.

RAND analysts developed detailed models of the Soviet Union, considering economic and industrial factors, to determine which targets would have the greatest strategic impact if destroyed. However, they struggled with ethical questions about deliberately targeting civilian populations. Some suggested prioritizing strictly military and industrial sites, while others argued that the closed Soviet system meant the distinction between military and civilian targets was ambiguous. Overall, the targeting studies showed that defeating the Soviet Union would require attacking hundreds of cities and cause tens of millions of casualties, posing profound moral dilemmas.

By the early 1960s, many RAND analysts felt nuclear strategy had become detached from political and moral realities. While their quantitative analyses had aimed to introduce rationality into an insane realm, the problems seemed insoluble. Besides the enormous human costs, retaliation could lead to the destruction of both countries in a nuclear exchange that nobody could truly control. Overall, the passage examines some of the difficulties and limitations of rational nuclear planning during the early Cold War period.

Here is a summary of the sources in the given citation:

(1996): 3 - This cites source number 3 from 1996. No other details are provided.

J. Strange and R. Iron, “Understanding Centres of Gravity and Critical Vulnerabilities,” research paper, 2001, available at - This is a research paper from 2001 by J. Strange and R. Iron on understanding centers of gravity and critical vulnerabilities. It is available online.

John A. Warden III, The Air Campaign: Planning for Combat (Washington, DC: National Defense University Press, 1988), 9; idem, “The Enemy as a System,” Airpower Journal 9, no. 1 (Spring 1995): 40–55 - This cites two sources by John A. Warden III - a book published in 1988 and an article in the Airpower Journal from 1995.

Howard D. Belote, “Paralyze or Pulverize? Liddell Hart, Clausewitz, and Their Influence on Air Power Theory,” Strategic Review 27 (Winter 1999): 40–45 - This cites an article by Howard D. Belote in the Strategic Review from 1999.

Jan L. Rueschhoff and Jonathan P. Dunne, “Centers of Gravity from the ‘Inside Out,’” Jo int Forces Quarterly 60 (2011): 120–125 - This cites an article by Jan L. Rueschhoff and Jonathan P. Dunne in the Joint Forces Quarterly from 2011.

  • The article discusses how future warfare may involve cyberattacks like computer viruses, worms, logic bombs and Trojan horses rather than traditional weapons.

  • It argues that advances in technology have made it possible to inflict serious damage through attacks on computer networks and digital infrastructure.

  • Viruses, worms and other malware could be used to disrupt critical systems like power grids, air traffic control or financial networks.

  • Logic bombs and Trojan horses secretly embedded in networks could be triggered remotely at a later date to destroy data or infiltrate systems.

  • While the physical effects may be less than bombs and missiles, cyberattacks still have the potential to paralyze organizations and cause significant economic and social impacts through disruption of services people rely on.

  • The article suggests future conflicts may see more emphasis on this type of “asymmetric” or unconventional digital warfare compared to traditional armed engagement between states.

Here is a summary of the key points from 1309–1310:

  • Marx and Engels were influenced by Proudhon’s ideas about federalism and decentralization, though they ultimately rejected anarchism.

  • Bakunin was a leading anarchist thinker who argued for the destruction of the state and rejection of authoritarianism. He had disagreements with Marx over tactics within the International Workingmen’s Association.

  • After the Paris Commune failed in 1871, exiled Communards like Édouard Vaillant emphasized decentralization and federalism in opposition to Blanquism, which supported party dictatorship.

  • Marx was reluctant to fully endorse decentralization and federalism due to his belief that strong central organization was needed for a revolution to succeed. However, he acknowledged some value in federalist ideas.

  • Bakunin advocated for revolutionary activities like propaganda of the deed (terrorism), while Marx was more incrementalist and preferred open political agitation and mass organization. Their disagreement over tactics contributed to tensions within the International.

That covers the key points regarding Marx, Bakunin, anarchism and the development of federalist and decentralized ideas in opposition to more authoritarian conceptions of revolution from the summary text. Let me know if you need any clarification or expansion on these points.

The passage discusses Tolstoy’s aspiration to the holy fool (yurodivy), a peculiar form of Russian sainthood that is not found in any other religious culture. The holy fool was one who acted foolishly or insanely in the eyes of society in order to reveal spiritual wisdom. Tolstoy sought this view of sainthood, in which one renounces earthly attachments and comforts to live simply and focus on spiritual matters. The passage notes that this ideal of sainthood aspirated to by Tolstoy is uniquely Russian and not seen in other religious traditions.

It provides some context on Tolstoy’s view of simple, detached living for spiritual purposes by referring to the Russian concept of the holy fool, or yurodivy.

Here is a summary of the sources provided:

  1. The sources discuss how existentialist thinkers like Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus influenced American intellectuals and youth culture in the 1950s-60s. This contributed to the sense of frustration and idea that individuals could revolt against societal norms.

  2. C. Wright Mills was an influential sociologist who criticized conformity and the “organization man” culture of the post-war era. He advocated for political and social activism and freedom of thought. His works were widely read by the New Left.

  3. Theologian Paul Tillich introduced existentialist concepts to American audiences. Works by Sartre, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche were also influential on the intellectual scene and many saw affinities with Christian existentialism.

  4. Theologians like Reinhold Niebuhr shaped how Americans conceptualized power dynamics. Niebuhr critiqued illusions of complete objectivity and beliefs in human progress. He explored concepts of sin, virtue and moral complexity.

  5. Figures like Thomás Hayden, founder of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and sociologist C. Wright Mills inspired younger Americans to focus on individual authenticity and revolt against bureaucratized organizations and societal conformity in the 1950s-60s period. This influenced the rise of the New Left.

Here is a summary of the notes:

  • Notes 14-15 summarize articles by Robert Dahl and Peter Bachrach and Morton Baratz on different conceptualizations of power.

  • Note 16 references C. Wright Mills’ book The Power Elite.

  • Note 17 references Theodor Roszak’s book The Making of Counter-Culture.

  • Note 18 references C. Wright Mills’ book The Sociological Imagination.

  • Note 19 discusses the Port Huron Statement pamphlet produced by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1962.

  • Notes 20-22 provide context about Tom Hayden and the writing of the Port Huron Statement.

  • Note 23 references the text of the Port Huron Manifesto itself.

  • Notes 24-27 discuss subsequent SDS documents and positions taken by Tom Hayden.

  • Notes 28-29 provide context on democratic processes in social movements and Saul Alinsky’s approach.

  • Notes 30-33 discuss Alinsky’s education and background in Chicago.

  • Notes 34-42 discuss Alinsky’s early organizing work and approaches.

  • Notes 43-51 discuss Alinsky’s work with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers union.

  • Note 52 references an interview with Alinsky.

  • Note 53 references Martin Luther King Jr.’s work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Here is a summary of the key points from the quoted passages:

  • Thomas Kuhn’s concept of paradigms was influential in recognizing that scientific knowledge exists within broader conceptual frameworks or worldviews. His idea of paradigm shifts challenged the notion of purely incremental scientific progress.

  • However, Kuhn’s work was also subject to criticism, such as for overstating the extent and nature of paradigm shifts. Further, his ideas were sometimes misused by proponents of anti-evolution “intelligent design” arguments.

  • Other scholars like Erving Goffman explored how frames and perspectives shape understanding. Ideas around framing and agenda-setting also contributed to models of media effects on public opinion.

  • Debates continue over scientific and social concepts like paradigms, theories, worldviews and how knowledge and beliefs evolve or change over time within societies and intellectual disciplines. Kuhn’s work remains influential while also acknowledging its limitations and different interpretations.

This passage summarizes several key points about the evolution of political campaigning and consulting in the United States:

  • Modern campaign consulting began emerging in the 1960s with figures like Joseph Napolitan who wrote one of the first books on campaign strategy and techniques.

  • Political consultants helped pioneer new tactics like television advertising, opinion polling, message testing, and narrative/framing strategies.

  • Key Republican strategists in the 1960s-70s like Kevin Phillips and Lee Atwater helped develop the “Southern strategy” to appeal to white Southern voters on racial issues.

  • Ronald Reagan was one of the first to employ a professional campaign team using new tactics. His advisors like James Carville and Mary Matalin brought a new combative style of campaigning.

  • Negative campaigning became more prevalent, exemplified by the 1988 campaign where Lee Atwater played a major role for George H.W. Bush.

So in summary, it traces the evolution of modern political campaigning and consulting from the 1960s to present day with a focus on key strategists and the development of new tactics and styles of campaigning.

Here is a summary of the provided texts:

The first text discusses a 1992 presidential election campaign. It notes that independent candidate Ross Perot gained nearly 20% of the popular vote, which likely hurt incumbent George H.W. Bush more than it did challenger Bill Clinton. It also discusses a gaffe by Dan Quayle where he incorrectly corrected a student’s spelling of “potato”.

The second text is about a 1978 study on the impacts of negative campaign messages. It finds that negative messages can affect citizens’ evaluations of candidates.

The third text discusses feminist activist Phyllis Schlafly and her criticism of feminism and what she saw as the feminist agenda. It notes that televangelist Pat Robertson also made controversial claims about feminists.

The fourth text discusses a sociological analysis of the “ritual” aspects of presidential politics and references Dan Quayle’s aforementioned spelling gaffe.

So in summary, the selections discuss elements of the 1992 presidential election campaign including independent candidate Ross Perot’s impact and Dan Quayle’s spelling error, a study on negative campaign messages, criticisms of feminism by Phyllis Schlafly and Pat Robertson, and a sociological perspective on the “ritual” of presidential politics.

Here is a summary of the notes:

  • There is a tradition of analyzing business through a ‘warfare’ lens that draws on military strategists like Sun Tzu. Bruce Henderson of BCG was influential in promulgating this view.

  • Marketing warfare emerged as a concept in the late 1970s/early 1980s focusing on competition between firms. Books by Kotler, Ries, and Trout helped popularize this approach.

  • Sun Tzu’s Art of War is frequently referenced and applied to business. Numerous books have been written drawing parallels between military strategy and management.

  • The Sopranos TV show depicts characters like Paulie citing Sun Tzu, though sometimes misunderstanding or misapplying the concepts.

  • While a popular metaphor, some scholars like Rindfleisch question the centrality and usefulness of military metaphors in business discourse. Kay endorses Sun Tzu’s work but is skeptical of the broader analogy.

  • The notes trace the lineage of strategic management thinking emerging from Chandler and Penrose’s work through Andrews, Ansoff, and others who systematized it as a field in the 1960s-1970s. Figures like Mintzberg later critiqued some of these initial approaches.

Here are the key points summarized from the passages:

  • Thomas A. Green edited the book Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia, published in 2001 by ABC-CLIO.

  • George Stalk Jr. wrote the article “Time—The Next Source of Competitive Advantage” published in the Harvard Business Review in 1988. He and Tom Hout later authored the book Competing Against Time: How Time-Based Competition Is Reshaping Global Markets, published in 1990 by The Free Press.

  • The works of George Stalk are brought together with the strategy of John Boyd in the book Certain to Win: The Strategy of John Boyd as Applied to Business by Chet Richards, published in 2004 by Xlibris.

  • A later book by George Stalk and Rob Lachenauer titled Hardball, Are You Playing to Play or Playing to Win? discusses taking advantage of competitors and leaving them “astounded.” It was published in 2004 by Harvard Business School Press.

  • Jennifer Reingold wrote a profile of George Stalk titled “The 10 Lives of George Stalk” published on in December 2007.

That covers the key details and publications summarized from the given passages. Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions.

Here is a summary of the key points about n Side of the Enterprise by Douglas McGregor:

  • The book introduced McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y model of management assumptions about human motivation and behavior. Theory X assumes people dislike work and need to be closely controlled, while Theory Y assumes people can exercise self-direction towards organizational objectives.

  • McGregor argued managers’ assumptions have a profound impact on how they manage people and design work. Theory Y assumptions lead to a more participative, trust-based style that motivates employees.

  • The book helped challenge traditional, authoritarian styles of management and shift thinking towards a more positive view of human potential in organizations. It highlighted the importance of psychological and social factors in management.

  • McGregor’s ideas were influential in advancing management approaches focused on empowering employees, granting autonomy, and involving workers in decision making. This helped pave the way for later developments like quality circles, self-managing teams, and workplace democracy.

  • The book is considered a seminal work that helped launch the field of organizational behavior and introduced new perspectives on motivation, leadership, and organizational design still influential today. It supported moving away from purely economic views of human behavior in work settings.

Here is a summary of the key points from the article:

  • The article examines how concepts from economics and rational choice theory were adopted by the field of administrative science/organizational studies in the post-WWII period. This reflected the increasing influence of behavioralism.

  • William Riker and others at the University of Rochester developed positive political theory, applying rational choice concepts to political science. They viewed politics as strategic behavior aimed at optimizing outcomes.

  • Mancur Olson’s work on collective action theory in the 1960s was influential, arguing groups will not act rationally to achieve their common interests.

  • Game theory concepts were introduced, seeing interactions as strategic situations where players make rational choices. This included studies of coalition formation by Riker and Olson/Zeckhauser.

  • Over time, rational choice theory and its assumptions of rational, self-interested behavior came under criticism for being too simplistic and not reflecting real-world political complexities. Critics argued it neglected contextual and normative factors.

So in summary, it traces the increasing adoption and influence of economic rational choice concepts in fields like political science from the 1950s-60s, but also notes the limitations and criticisms this perspective later faced.

Here is a summary of the notes:

  • Note 23 discusses Anatol Rapoport’s 1964 book Strategy and Conscience, and cites Robert Schelling’s review of the book in The American Economic Review in December 1964.

  • Note 24 discusses Robert Axelrod’s 1984 book The Evolution of Cooperation and references Chapter 12 of the book Machine Dreams by Mirowski.

  • Note 25 discusses Dennis Chong’s 1991 book Collective Action and the Civil Rights Movement and cites pages 231-237.

  • Note 26 discusses an article by Robert Jervis from 1988 on realism, game theory and cooperation, as well as another article by Jervis from 1989 on rational deterrence.

  • Note 27 cites an article by Herbert Simon from 1985 on human nature in politics.

  • The remaining notes 28-32 provide additional references on topics related to rational choice theory, such as commentary on the works of Riker, Downs, Elster and others. The notes examine debates around bounded rationality and psychological influences on decision making.

The passage summarizes several sources related to stories, scripts, and narrative approaches to understanding human behavior and decision-making.

Specifically, it cites sources on:

  • Script theory in psychology (Abelson)

  • Narrative approaches to studying strategy and organizations

  • The role of scripts and narratives in shaping political judgment, international relations theories, and social movements

  • Analogies between business planning/strategic decision-making and storytelling

  • The concept of “strategic scripts” and how narratives can critique dominant public discourses

  • Examples of narratives/scripts shaping historical events like WWI decisions and the Teapot Dome scandal

  • Filmmaker Frank Capra’s use of stories/scripts to shape American national identity and politics

So in summary, the passage reviews literature on how scripts and narratives can help explain human/group cognition, decision-making, strategy, politics, and social change. It cites sources using narrative approaches across various disciplines.

Here are the key points from the provided text:

  • Joseph Breen was the head of propaganda censorship in Hollywood during the 1930s and 1940s.

  • Breen imposed political censorship, including preventing anti-Nazi films from being made, at least until 1938. This suggests he initially censored any criticism of Nazi Germany.

  • The text does not provide much additional context about Breen or the exact nature and scope of the censorship. But it establishes that he engaged in political censorship that prevented anti-Nazi messages from being distributed through Hollywood films, at least for some period in the late 1930s.

Here is a summary of the relevant passages from pages 3-8:

  • China had a Warring States period in ancient times where various states battled for domination. It later experienced periods of foreign occupation, including by Japan during WWII.

  • The Communist Party came to power in China in 1949 after a long revolution and civil war against the Kuomintang (Chinese nationalist) party.

  • China underwent the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s-1970s, a social-political movement led by Mao Zedong that caused significant disruption.

  • Guerrilla warfare played a role in China’s revolution, with Mao utilizing guerrilla tactics against the nationalists and Japanese occupiers.

  • Key events and periods discussed in relation to China include the Japanese occupation during WWII, the Warring States period, the revolution, the Cultural Revolution, and the role of guerrerrilla warfare. The text provides brief historical context around the development of modern China and shifts in political power over time.

Here is a summary of the key points about war and military concepts in the index:

  • War has evolved throughout history from pre-modern eras (e.g. Ancient Greece and Rome) to modern forms (World Wars, Cold War, guerrilla warfare). Concepts like strategy, tactics, and leadership have developed.

  • Major conflicts include the World Wars, Vietnam War, Gulf War, with key developments in air power, tank warfare, nuclear weapons, and counterinsurgency approaches. Strategists like Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, Mao, and Galula helped shape thinking.

  • New forms of warfare emerged like guerrilla strategy used by various independence movements. Theories on crowd psychology and propaganda also informed modern war.

  • Game theory and systems analysis contributed to nuclear strategy and military planning during the Cold War at institutions like RAND. Concepts from fields like economics influenced strategic thinking.

  • Individual countries and leaders played significant roles across major conflicts, including Germany, France, Britain, the US, Napoleon, Hitler, and various guerrilla leaders. Military history shaped international relations and geopolitical thinking.

Here are summaries of the key passages:

  • Sinon in, 24–25: Discusses the character Sinon from Greek mythology and how he tricked the Trojans into accepting the Trojan Horse by telling them it was an offering to Athena.

  • holistic view of strategy, 238–239: Advocates taking a broad, interconnected view of all elements of strategy rather than focusing on any single aspect.

  • Trojan horse, 24–25: See above summary for Sinon in.

  • Holmes, Terence, 641n21: Provides a footnote or endnote citation for a source by Terence Holmes.

  • Trojans in, 24–26, 42: Discusses how the Trojans accepted the Trojan Horse according to Greek mythology, failing to recognize it as a trick despite warnings.

  • Holt, Robin, 556–557: Discusses a source by Robin Holt found on pages 556-557.

  • In Search of Excellence (Peters and Waterman), 545–547: Summarizes material from the book In Search of Excellence by Peters and Waterman found on pages 545-547.

Here are the key points from the summarized passages:

  • Charles Merriam (576) was a political scientist who studied power and developed empirical approaches to studying politics.

  • Robert Merton (319-320, 416) was a sociologist who focused on role theory and analyzed unintended consequences of purposive social action.

  • Mary Matalin (446-447) was a Republican political consultant and adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.

  • Me ̄tis refers to cunning intelligence or wisdom, especially in warfare. It was personified as the goddess Me ̄tis in Greek mythology.

  • Herbert Matthews (400) was a journalist who reported extensively on Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution.

  • Renee Mauborgne (537-539) is a business theorist known for her work on blue ocean strategy.

  • Steve Metz (229) is a military strategist who wrote about counterinsurgency and the revolution in military affairs.

  • Jeff Michaels (235) wrote about the importance of community for business strategy.

  • Robert Michels (321-322, 335) was a German political scientist who analyzed the “iron law of oligarchy” where power is concentrated within political parties and unions.

  • John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge (505) are journalists who wrote about the transformation of business management practices.

  • Campaigning refers to all the activities involved in getting a candidate elected, including voter outreach, fundraising, advertising, messaging, and get-out-the-vote efforts.

  • Modern campaigning utilizes techniques from fields like public relations, marketing, and polling to strategically frame issues, craft messages, and target voter emotions. Television has been particularly important to modern campaigning.

  • “Permanent campaigning” refers to constantly campaigning even between formal election periods. Issues are continuously framed and supporters engaged.

  • Negative campaigning attacking opponents is a common campaign technique, though it can backfire. Primary elections also shape general election campaign strategies.

  • Early innovators in political campaigning included figures like Lee Atwater who pioneered modern Republican campaign strategies emphasizing Southern states, religious conservatives, and emotional messaging.

  • The development of political campaigning is intertwined with the rise of mass media, consumer marketing, opinion polling, and an emphasis on framing issues and targeting voter emotions. It remains a complex strategic process at the heart of modern electoral politics.

  • Spain experienced civil war in the 1970s under the Franco regime. It also saw guerrilla warfare during the Napoleonic Wars.

  • Charles Mills wrote The Sociological Imagination, which discussed sociology and how business management has incorporated some of its principles.

  • Sociology examines society and social relationships. C. Wright Mills believed sociologists should study how historical forces shape personal experience.

  • The text does not provide enough contextual information to fully summarize sociology or Spain’s history. It lists some works and events but does not connect them in a cohesive narrative.

Here is a summary of the key sections and chapters in the provided table of contents for the book “Strategies”:

  • Part I covers the origins of strategy, including evolution, references in the Bible, strategies discussed by ancient Greek philosophers, and works by Sun Tzu and Machiavelli.

  • Part II focuses on military strategy, including the development of strategy as a science, works by Clausewitz, criticisms of rational strategy, approaches like annihilation/exhaustion, and more modern topics like guerrilla warfare and the revolution in military affairs.

  • Part III looks at non-military social and political strategy “from below,” including works by Marx, Herzen, Bakunin on working class strategy, and chapters on revisionists, vanguards, propaganda, nonviolence, and race/identity-based strategies.

  • Part IV covers strategy “from above” in organizations and businesses, including the rise of management as a field, business strategy, comparisons of business and war, the influence of economics, and sociological perspectives.

  • Part V discusses theoretical approaches to strategy, including critiques of rational choice theory and discussions of narrative/story-based concepts of strategy.

In summary, the book examines strategy from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, including military history, political theory, business management, and the social sciences. It traces the concept of strategy from ancient times through modern interpretations and applications.

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About Matheus Puppe