The Instigator
Fogofwar
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Gileandos
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

War is the continuation of politics by other means.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Gileandos
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/26/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 13,140 times Debate No: 17275
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)

 

Fogofwar

Pro

"War is the continuation of politics by other means." This is the definition of war in which Carl von Clausewitz presented in his book Vom Krieg, "On War". On War is considered the standard text to military doctrine; and is still required reading in almost every military leadership school of all civilized nations. There are examples in modern times that would demonstrate religion as the root cause of war; thus proving Clausewitz wrong.

Pro: will defend Clausewitz's definition by providing examples that even religious wars are fought for political means; or the continuation of politics by other means.

Con: will attempt to prove that wars have been waged over differing circumstances; and not solely a political agenda.

Good luck. I look forward to an intellectual debate. There will be three rounds of debating; the first round will be for accepting.
Gileandos

Con

I thank my opponent for this debate.

I will point out for the acceptance piece of this round that my opponent has not defined and clarified certain key aspects of the debate.

I will proceed to do so.

My opponent is clearly not restricting his definition to the standard definition of politics. (the art or science of government as given by Webster dictionary).

http://www.merriam-webster.com...

Rather for this debate the definition of Politics will be (as laid out by my opponent in round 1)

Politics defined as = a decision with the advancement/benefit of the welfare of the national state solely in mind.

I accept this more refined and contextual definition for the purpose of this debate.

Pro: My opponent will work to prove that all wars have been purely for the advancement of the nation. My opponent will have the burden of proof due to the fact that majority of the authority of historians do not hold a view of my opponents “interpretation” of Clauswitz’s statement.

Con: I will work to show that indeed there are clear examples where other motivations rather than just the advancement/benefit of the nation was in view concerning wars in which nations found themselves involved.


I await my opponent's argument proving his position.
Debate Round No. 1
Fogofwar

Pro

Politics is taken from the Greek word Politikos meaning "of, for, or relating to citizens". It is a process in which groups of people (i.e. government as my opponent points out in his limited definition) make collective decisions. All warfare is based on the process of making decisions; in which the actions are carried out in battle; stand-offs, or even presence in the Area Objective (AO). Therefore war is not separate from politics; it is in fact; a continuation thereof.

If we are to define politics; we need more than a simple phrase taken from a long list of definitions. Meriam-Webster elaborates on what my opponent defined it as; saying:

"The art of or science concerned with guiding or influencing the governmental policy/The art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government."

If we are to apply these definitions; then we can clearly see examples that point to what Clausewitz was saying.

However; we first must reject the idea that my opponent requires I must prove that politics is the ONLY cause for people; as the soldiers fighting war do not fight for the same reason as a governing body in most every case. Neither should I have to prove that wars were fought for the advancement of a nation; as politics can govern many other groups; and not just sovereigns. Worker's Unions are political groups; these are not nations. Religious groups (such as the pope) are political groups; and do not necessarily require a sovereign government.

We should also understand that his statement "I will work to show that indeed there are clear examples where other motivations rather than just the advancement/benefit of the nation was in view concerning wars in which nations found themselves involved" still negates to disprove the 'continuation of politics by other means'. The 'other means' may often take the form of 'other motivations', including many that will be discussed here. So for my opponent to disprove the 'continuation of politics by other means', he must then show examples of wars that have had NO political aspect; as this would be the continuation thereof. He must also prove that such motives were not for the purpose of achieving one's agenda; as this would be an act of politics.

I would like to start by addressing the post of my opponent:"My opponent will have the burden of proof due to the fact that majority of the authority of historians do not hold a view of my opponents "interpretation" of Clausewitz's statement." This is a double standard, as virtually every historian does not hold the same view of 'interpretations' from Clausewitz. This is due to the lack of clarity of his work. Clausewitz died before completing the revision of his book. The only part of On War that was complete was Book 1; and Clausewitz said in a side note left on his deathbed; that this should be considered as the basic backbone of his work; in which all the other Books should be interpreted by this view. Historians alike disagree on meanings of the book; and sadly very few have a military history of their own to apply this book to. On War is mandatory reading in virtually every leadership school in almost all modern militaries. The professionals in Clausewitz's subject should be considered as the most knowledgeable on the subject; as they have applied his teachings to the real world. To understand this better; I will use the copy of On War that I have; which is the Infantry Journal Press, translated by O.J. Matthijs Jolles; published by the US Army Infantry Journal. It is the standard text for many NATO nations; and is considered to be the most accurate English translation in the world. Such a translation shall help to clarify much confusion among historians; who have edited and even gone so far as to take out portions of Clausewitz's work.

"The art of or science concerned with guiding or influencing the governmental policy"

If we look to our current operations in the Middle East; we can clearly see the examples of this applied to real life. The governing policy in which we are introducing to Afghanistan and Iraq is our own; and the use of military force to guide these governments is evident in our actions and in our strategy. Although these operations are not formally declared wars; they are acts of warfare; and are evidence of this political involvement.

"The art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government."

Again; our actions can clearly see this set into motion. The art of war is defined by Clausewitz as an act "to compel our adversary to do our will". Such agenda is a political objective. Our "will" is our policy. Our policy is achieved through enforcing it upon our enemy. These are the words of Carl von Clausewitz. The objective in war is to win and hold control over our enemy forces; and of our enemy government. So again; the act of war is to 'compel our adversary to do our will" meaning it is to obtain political control.

Rules of Engagement; Law of Armed Conflict; Code of Conduct; Geneva Conventions:
Although Clausewitz said these do not belong to war itself; but are separate; as they themselves do not affect the method of war; they do serve to demonstrate a continual increase in the political involvement in our military. Soldiers today are required to be more professional and extremely higher trained than ever; because they have to deal with continually changing political laws set out for combat. The Geneva Conventions are a set of laws a soldier must adhere to in the treatment of Prisoners of War and Non-Combatants. The Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) is a set of laws he must adhere to in the method of conduct in the battlefield. The Code of Conduct is a continuation of the LOAC. The Rules of Engagement (ROE) is a political method in which he must act in combat. It is the rules to define when and how he can take action; and what his limit of force is. Laws are a set of legal policies; and as we know what the act of policy lies under is politics.

Religious fundamentalists:
Although religious beliefs are the root cause of these movements; they are rooted 100% in a political agenda. Take for example Iran, whose religious stance against non-Islam has set forth a national policy of refusing to acknowledge the existence of Israel. Their government fronts billions to international terrorist organizations; whose religious policy is the global control under their rule. To rule; even under the laws of one's religion, is an act of policy or politics. These actions are still the continuation of politics by other means.

We should also address the definition of policy; a word derived in Middle English meaning government (pertaining to the Greek word Politikos). Meriam-Webster defines policy as:
-A prudence or wisdom in the management of affairs/management or procedure based primarily on material interest/a definite course or method of action selected from among alternatives and in light of given conditions to guide and determine present and future decisions/a high level overall plan embracing the general goals and acceptable procedures especially of a governmental body.

So we can see that politics is the act of implementing policy. Policy is the act in which war is conducted; and which war is fought to set; and which war is declared; and which war is won. A war ends when one nation's government signs an accepted policy given by the victorious government. Thus; war is the continuation of politics; by other means.
Gileandos

Con

My opponent is hopelessly lost within a quagmire of semantics on this over arching “philosophy” of why nations go to war.

I will side step the absurd semantics debate he was engaging in with his first round.

Though my opponent has the burden of proof as pro and instigator, I will cut to the chase and succinctly prove his assertions dead wrong and the resolution is clearly false.

It is clearly evident that love of war and not politics is the reason for war politics are an active pretext to the warmonger.

Contention 1:
Humans love to war, whether in a first person aspect or in a strategic/tactical command situation. This desire can take many forms but the pinnacle is to have “high combat” in commanding national war.

Video Games:

Multitudes simply conduct war for fun; at least this is a less harmful or non-harmful expression of the innate desire for war regardless of the pretext. This also shows that it is not just a love of violence, though that may exist, the complexity of war is loved and born out in strategy games such as Total War.

“Give me a nation I will conquer the world.”

http://www.totalwar.com...

Paintball:

Multitudes here again conduct non-lethal war proving that there need be no political motivation to conduct war only the love of war for itself. Again the love of the complexity resulting in the fullness of war is born out in the fact that Paintball “events” become larger and more complex as it develops.

A foot note: this video is great. At minute 1:50 there is a brilliant collision. It is why you must 180 your field of view lol…

Alexander the Great:

For a real world example of pure love of war…

My Opponent himself is an example:

Despite how he may respond to win the debate his love of war has lead him to even have this debate on military philosophies of war.

Culture is irrelevant:

Even in peaceful societies and settings we see paintball and Video games “sate” this lust for war. It is an innate and inherent love “wired” within humans.

***********************************************************************

In the end politics has proven to be pretext for many a communist dictator, monarch etc.

The burden of proof lies entirely on my opponent. He is pro and instigator.

He would have to prove that people do not love war and do not use “pretexts” for war despite obvious and clear evidence to the contrary.

Explaining Clausewitz:

Clausewitz did not have the advantage we do today in seeing the “love of war” expressed in Paintball and video games. Any children playing “war” in his day would have been largely lacking in complexity and could have been chalked up to children looking to role models, war cultures, etc…

Men that loved war joined the military where their love of war could be expressed if fear and danger did not win out first and turn “off” their love of war.

Clausewitz was wrong.

Here is a snippet articulating on this “sick love of war” we all humans possess.

As an aside, I do not necessarily agree with the articles desire to “stop” war.

http://www.utne.com...

I look forward to my opponent’s change of philosophy.
Debate Round No. 2
Fogofwar

Pro

Fogofwar forfeited this round.
Gileandos

Con

I shall extend my arguments then!
Debate Round No. 3
Fogofwar

Pro

I will take it from my opponent's comment that I am lost in the 'philosophy' of why humans go to war; that my opponent has neither ever seen a war; nor seen a military conduct themselves in battle. As a soldier in the Canadian Forces; I am more than awe of why nations go to war; but my opponent's argument is invalid anyways. Whether humans love war or not is not the question. The question is whether Clausewitz was right in his statement of war being a continuation of politics; and the means of war to gain victory over our rivals so as to either control their policy; or prevent it from interfering with ours is a continuation of politics entirely.
Clausewitz was well aware of human's fascination with war in his time; and my opponent is completely wrong in saying that he could not see the love of war expressed in games or other cultural behaviours. His statement that Clausewitz was wrong is more than damning to his argument; as Clausewitz was a General in the Prussian army who rose through the ranks from a Private; where he saw his first action in war at the age of thirteen. Clausewitz knew more about war than any person today could dream of learning in their lifetime; and Clausewitz knew more about politics than many could achieve today. War is a means to protect our interest from rival states; and preserve our governance. It is the continuation of politics; by other means.

While I do applaud my opponent for keeping the rounds even in my absence from posting last round. I was busy on training exercises, and unable to make it to my computer...however debates are won on facts; not personal mockery like the last line of his previous round. I look forward to my opponent sticking to the facts of this debate and not resorting to smart a$$ personal remarks; as they are not a sign of a successful debate.
Gileandos

Con

I thank my opponent for his reply but a factual sourced rebuttal would have been nice.



I wish to cite for everyone what clearly my opponent stated was my responsibilities. In his first round he stated my burden of proof was:


Con: will attempt to prove that wars have been waged over differing circumstances; and not solely a political agenda.”


With my one round of argumentation I have shown that war did not have solely a political agenda.


I clearly laid out a case where now today, we can know that indeed sheer love of war has driven both soldiers and world leaders such as Alexander the Great.




My opponents claims of insults:


I would also like to clarify for my opponent. Nothing I stated was meant as an insult. I am sorry he read it that way. I believe anger at the fact my that my round “trashed” his entire viewpoint caused his sensitivity. I believe that my opponent had a genuine belief that was fundamental to his existence. He came with his gameface on to win the debate and with just a few short snippets I was able to win the debate.



My first statement:


My opponent is hopelessly lost within a quagmire of semantics on this over arching “philosophy” of why nations go to war.


I will side step the absurd semantics debate he was engaging in with his first round.”



This is not an insult but a factual reading of my opponent’s first post. He had set up the debate that at any point he could redefine the following words, based on any example I had given:


- Political entity


- Politics


- War


- Means


My opponent proceeded to start to give personal definitions for these words in his post. This is an invalid approach to a debate on the veracity of a given viewpoint.


Let me give a convoluted example of how he set this up in his second round (I will summarize):


-The pope is no longer a religious entity but is now more broadly defined as a political entity. Anything Christianity has done has been political.- It has been a recent development that the pope has his own sovereign nation (1929), you cannot overlay this over all of the history of the office of the Pope.


-Politics are anything a political entity can do- (circular)


Means can be more than means and actually be other motivations!


No person would define ‘means, the way in which you do something’ = ‘other motivations, the why you do something’


This is just a waste of time to argue with my opponent about semantic definitions.


I have met my burden of proof as specified by my opponent:


“Con: will attempt to prove that wars have been waged over differing circumstances; and not solely a political agenda.”



Second perceived insult:


Additionally, the last statement from my round was merely a closing statement whereby I hoped my opponent would come to see that my argument is superior.


Here are some of my example debates where this has happened. This was my hope. I was not insulting him:


http://www.debate.org...


http://www.debate.org...


I am still hoping that my opponent realizes that Truth is found through debate.




Rebuttal on Clausewitz knows more than Gileandos:


We are in fact debating whether Clausewitz’s philosophy, was accurate. It is invalid to attack your opponent by saying “how dare you peasant to state Clausewitz was wrong!”.


It is like stating the William Lane Craig has no right to discuss scientific evidence in his debates.


There are several fallacies here:



Fallacy 1:


“As a soldier in the Canadian Forces; I am more than aw[ar]e of why nations go to war; but my opponent's argument is invalid anyways.”


This would be a fallacy of composition:


“Soldiers fight wars therefore they know why all nations fight all wars everywhere…”


Historians and philosophers are more able to make such assertions. A soldier holds no special authority and credibility to assert what is or is not political and the political reasoning for historical wars.


Fallacy 2:


“His statement that Clausewitz was wrong is more than damning to his argument; as Clausewitz was a General in the Prussian army who rose through the ranks from a Private; where he saw his first action in war at the age of thirteen. Clausewitz knew more about war than any person today could dream of learning in their lifetime; and Clausewitz knew more about politics than many could achieve today”


Clausewitz’s military record is not suspect. Nor is his ability as a politician. His ability as a historian and philospher is being discussed.


Additionally, we are discussing that we today have scientific information that was never available to Clausewitz.



My opponent gives the military record of Clausewitz and while pointing to my “assumed” lack of military record.


This is a fallacious appeal to authority. We are not discussing command strategy or tactics. We are discussing a historical view of political entities and the reasons they go to war. Historians and philosophers are more apt to make assertions in this arena, not a war general who had limited access to resources and historical viewpoints, compared to what is available even today.



Fallacy 3:


“While I do applaud my opponent for keeping the rounds even in my absence from posting last round. I was busy on training exercises, and unable to make it to my computer...however debates are won on facts; not personal mockery like the last line of his previous round.”



A clear Ad Hominem abusive. I merely extended and never took advantage by adding more information than my opponent could handle.


I could have continued on to Hitler as another proof of zero political agenda and pure “end game” war machinations etc….


My opponent also puts himself in a positive “cheap shot” as he was busy with a noble pursuit of military actions.


If you do not have time to debate in this format then you can choose another. You can set timeframes for response shorter than 3 days to be within your timeframes. I did not cause my opponents round forfeit and I treated him with respect by not dumping on more information than he could handle in one round.



My qualifications to discuss Clausewitz:


Despite my opponents claim that I have no military service, I have been a chaplain and worked with many soldiers with “end of life” issues. I am a civilian chaplain but worked with soldiers in that capacity.


I assure you that I have come to be far more intimate with the inner workings of soldiers than what can be garnered from hanging out with soldiers, drinking a beer and cigarette discussing how to best use our “guns” that night.


I am also a historian, mathematician, teacher, businessman running multi-million dollar companies, philosopher, a theologian and a pastor.


I have managed hundreds of people directly reporting to me and hundreds more through auxiliary means.


People fascinate me, as does history, God, math and conquest. My education has been and continues to be in that direction.



Summary:


I have clearly shown that “love of war” is a major factor in the very daily lives of ordinary citizens.


I have shown that indeed it has held a place as a driving factor in the life of Alexander the Great.


I have met the burden of proof as laid out by my opponent in his first round.


“Con: will attempt to prove that wars have been waged over differing circumstances; and not solely a political agenda.”


Indeed the resolution is false.


Though I do feel that my opponent could have done a better job for a more interesting debate, I do thank him for his service to the protection of the Canadian government.


I would love to have given more detail and flushed out my point had the last two rounds been a part of the debate on topic.

Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Dash-The-Philosopher 3 years ago
Dash-The-Philosopher
Not taking anything away from Fogowar but I wish he would have pointed out the sheer irrelevance of some of the points that Gileandos was trying to make. Specifically the points about video games and paintball. SMH at those completely irrelevant points.
Posted by Fogofwar 5 years ago
Fogofwar
...and Clausewitz never said war is nothing but a duel. He merely said that war can be broken down into the concept of a duel; as it is in essence; a duel on a larger scale. ;)
Posted by Fogofwar 5 years ago
Fogofwar
Ever read Clausewitz's book pal? I am not missing Clausewitz's argument. ;) I have read Clausewitz's argument. The reason for such confusion was in the fact that Clausewitz died before revising his work. Only book one was completed; and as Clausewitz said himself; book one was literal; as it was complete; and that it was to serve as the basis for the ideal of the rest of On War. This quote comes from Book one; the complete. His theory that war was the continuation of politics by other means is based on the premise that war is fought to change or define policy. Even religious wars are rooted in policy; as that is exactly what war is. ;)
Posted by joseffritzel 5 years ago
joseffritzel
According to Christopher Bassford (Wikipedia): One of the main sources of confusion about Clausewitz's approach lies in his dialectical method of presentation. For example, Clausewitz's famous line that "War is a mere continuation of politics by other means," ("Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln") while accurate as far as it goes, was not intended as a statement of fact. It is the antithesis in a dialectical argument whose thesis is the point – made earlier in the analysis – that "war is nothing but a duel [or wrestling match, a better translation of the German Zweikampf] on a larger scale." His synthesis, which resolves the deficiencies of these two bold statements, says that war is neither "nothing but" an act of brute force nor "merely" a rational act of politics or policy. This synthesis lies in his "fascinating trinity" [wunderliche Dreifaltigkeit]: a dynamic, inherently unstable interaction of the forces of violent emotion, chance, and rational calculation.[2] It seems you are misconstruing Clausewitz's argument. (http://en.wikipedia.org...)
Posted by Molzahn 5 years ago
Molzahn
At this time tomorrow I will accept your debate.
Posted by Gileandos 5 years ago
Gileandos
I will accept this but would like 3 rounds. This will avoid the ad naeseum examples and allow for reduced argumentation.
Posted by Fogofwar 5 years ago
Fogofwar
Why four rounds?
Posted by Cobo 5 years ago
Cobo
Switch it to four rounds.
Posted by Cobo 5 years ago
Cobo
hmmm. I might take this.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
ReformedArsenal
FogofwarGileandosTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: FF