[Ads-l] Clausewitz Quote

Chris Waigl chris at LASCRIBE.NET
Sun Jan 22 12:27:50 EST 2017

On 1/22/17 7:17 AM, Dave Wilton wrote:

I agree. The "nothing" is important.

I would use "policy" rather than "politics." The latter tends to refer
to the overall system of governance, exercising power, and
distributing resources. "Policy" is a specific implementation of
politics, and that's what Clausewitz is getting at.

I would go with a slightly more literal translation (although "nothing
but" is fine too):

"War is nothing other than the continuation of policy by other means."

Well, he's getting at political goals (ends, objectives) as opposed to the
means employed to achieve these goals. For me, "policy" alone doesn't
capture all that is contained in "Politik".

Didn't my long message go through? It's not in the archives, so let me copy
what I wrote again below. (I just changed email clients. Probably something
to do with that...)



Wilson is correct that *die Politik* in German sometimes translates as
policy and sometimes as politics. Conversely, politics is pretty much
always appropriately translated as *Politik, *while policy can be *Politik
("*the Obama administration's environmental policy" -> "die Umweltpolitik
der Regierung Obama"), but can also be something non-political, like
*Regel(ung)* or *Leitlinie* whenever the policy-maker isn't a government.
(And that's leaving aside insurance policies.)

Which one is it? The quote is from sub-chapter 24, chapter 1, book 1 of *Über
die Natur des Krieges (On the Nature of War). *Here's the whole sub-chapter
plus my (gloss-leaning) translation, with some alternative options in

>      Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung
>      der Politik mit anderen Mitteln.
>      So sehen wir also, daß der Krieg nicht bloß ein politischer Akt,
> sondern ein wahres politisches Instrument ist, eine Fortsetzung des
> politischen Verkehrs, ein Durchführen desselben mit anderen Mitteln. Was
> dem Kriege nun noch eigentümlich bleibt, bezieht sich bloß auf die
> eigentümliche Natur seiner Mittel. Daß die Richtungen und Absichten der
> Politik mit diesen Mitteln nicht in Widerspruch treten, das kann die
> Kriegskunst im allgemeinen und der Feldherr in jedem einzelnen Falle
> fordern, und dieser Anspruch ist wahrlich nicht gering; aber wie stark er
> auch in einzelnen Fällen auf die politischen Absichten zurückwirkt, so muß
> dies doch immer nur als eine Modifikation derselben gedacht werden, denn
> die politische Absicht ist der Zweck, der Krieg ist das Mittel, und niemals
> kann das Mittel ohne Zweck gedacht werden

> .

24. War is a mere continuation of politics [policy] by other means
> We see therefore that war is not merely a political act, but a true
> political Instrument, a continuation [extension] of the political commerce,
> an execution of the same through [by, via] other means. That what remains
> particular [proper, peculiar] to war only refers to the peculiar nature of
> its means. The art of war [military strategy? military study?] in general
> and the field commander in every particular case can demand that the
> directions [course] and objectives of politics do not come into conflict
> with these means, and this stipulation [requirement, demand] is truly not a
> minor one; but however strongly it [antecedent: the stipulation] affects
> political goals in particular cases, it always must be thought as a mere
> modification of these [antecedent: the political goals], as the political
> goals are the end [objective] while war is the means, and never can the
> means be thought separately from their end.

So, I think it's more than just policy. It's "political ends". The thing is
similar to other cases where one word in one language covers two words in
another that can be thought as separate concepts: the speaker of the first
language tends to use the word in a way to cover *both. *If pressed, I'd
use politics, or "political goals [ends, objectives]".


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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