Anda di halaman 1dari 10



INTRODUCTION Highly advanced technology is been commonly used in modern warfare and the usage keeps on increasing. The rising of global terrorist attack has also changed the current strategic planning and defence of a country. Sophisticated technologies are also been introduce to almost all the countries in the world to enhance their defence. These drastic changes are taking place in the security environment since the September 11 attack in United States of America (U.S) The philosophies of war introduce by Karl von Clausewitz and Sun Tzu is still being thought in this modern warfare. Their idea of strategy is still valid although the defence technologies are expanding rapidly. These great legends have also influenced the modern warfare studies and there are lots of lesson can be learned from these two philosophers. Both of them have their own ideas in war fighting concepts and philosophies eventually which, some of these thoughts are to be similar. Their thinking are basically are separated in history by over two thousand years. There are also some differences

regarding on their concepts and philosophies which will be an added advantage for future studies. This paper will examine the philosophies and concept of war introduce by Sun Tzu and Carl Von Clausewitz which will focus on relation to the evolution of modern warfare. This also includes the impact on the modern warfare and how the new generation can be benefited from their views. In order to achieve this, an analysis can be done on war of philosophies and concept proposed by each of them. Although this process will require a thorough analysis but it will us a give better understanding and interpretation.

By evaluating and considering each category, it provides a better understanding of the subject; this paper will focus on the core value provided by these two masters in their respective war philosophies. This is can be achieved by using practical examples to evaluate them in relation to modern warfare tactics and strategic analysis. The analysis will focus on the key differences on how these two legends operate with their own concepts and ideas in warfare. Sun Tzu takes a more holistic approach1 and Clausewitz focuses on war, once it has started, while. The understanding of these key differences will help guide in this analysis. DIFFERENCES ON PHILOSOPHIES OF WAR PROPOSED BY SUN TSU AND CLAUSEWITZ Clausewitz and Sun Tzu have different ways to achieve victory and these differences are valued and are used in modern warfare. Apart from that it is an added advantage for those can master their way of thinking. Sun Tzus philosophies are based on winning the war without fighting it or in a simple manner, using ideas and concept to create fear. In a practical way, it is achieved by preventing the enemy before the fighting begins. The best course of action is selected to isolate the enemy from their allied forces. This strategy is done by using secret propaganda, agents and diplomacy. Basically, the need for actual battle becomes unnecessary when the enemys plans are being jeopardize by Sun Tzus tactics. Meanwhile, Clausewitz has different concept and philosophy to strike a victory. His main idea is to attack enemys centre of gravity so that the entire enemy system will collapse. These include attack on of the enemys key elements such as main base, arm and allied forces. Clausewitz said that the enemys centre of gravity is the point which all our energies should be directed.2 Clausewitz also believes that work of diplomacy including spying defence of a country can be vital to strategize and formulate war plans. He
1 2

Sawyer D Ralph (2007) The Seven Military Classics Basic book, US. Clausewitz, Carl Von (1997) On War Wordsworth Editions Ltd, Hereford, UK

stressed that there is a relationship between politics and war, which is not the same thoughts as Sun Tzu. In Vietnam, although the American has the technological advantages, which they prefer a conventional but the Vietcong instead using desired, psychological war in which the centre of gravity was the American publics support for the war. The war was in the favour of the Vietcong in which they played their desired game despite losing the tactical engagements. This shows that there are two different ideas between Clausewitz and Sun Tzu. Clausewitz believes when in battle, winning a battle by fighting is much more effective rather than not fighting the battle. Apart from that, both Clausewitz and Sun Tzu have different view on predictability of war. Sun Tzu has the ability to imagine a war can take action accordingly and his words are valuable for his followers. In contrast, Clausewitz has different view on prediction of war. Since his early days, Clausewitz has been a solider and this gave him more experience in the war zone. There are some uncontrollable factors that prevent own forces plan to be executed. For example, a commander may have the best plan, but the fog at the battlefield can render own forces plans. Some the hiccups that can be happen is communication failures, logistics breakdown, enemy cannot be detected on time, failure of guns and many others. Sun Tzu and Clausewitz have different thinking when engaging with the enemys army. Sun Tzu praised victory without fighting as the acme of skill.3 He is more diplomatic and will try to find solution as possible as he can to solve before deciding to fight the battle. This victory here is achieved by without fighting. Meanwhile, Clausewitz main goal during a war is to destroy enemys army as fast has he can. One of the factors that will determine victory is chance. Chance is an extremely important element of war. Clausewitz believes that not all events can be predicted and some unexpected event may occur during a war. For

Sun Tzu (1998) The Art of War Wordsworth Editions Ltd, Hereford, UK.Taylor, A P (1995) Bismarck Penguin books, England

example, when the fight becomes so intense, some of the communication between the troops and generals could be hampered due to congestion or enemys attack. In such situations, only the more experience commanders and troops will be able to achieve victory. Sun Tzu, on the other hand, claims that chance does not play a role in war; victory can be predicted based on a number of characteristics of both sides. Sun Tzu offers a strong focus on Deception and Foreknowledge. As previously said, intelligence is an area where Clausewitz offers some degree of scepticism; suggesting information in war may be not right. It would certainly be foolish not to heed these concerns over the reliability of intelligence even with contemporary technological achievements. Intelligence in war plays a significant role in assessing the enemy and their centre of gravity. In World War Two, the British Intelligence played a significant role by gathering information on their enemy. The hacking done by British Signals Intelligence on the German Enigma code, had a huge impact on Britains and Americas ability to plan operations.4 Sun Tzu believes that intelligence plays an important role in a warfare that goes above and beyond the future. SIMILARITIES ON PHILOSOPHIES OF WAR PROPOSED BY SUN TSU AND CLAUSEWITZ Sun Tzu and Clausewitz have some differences and several similarities between them regarding on philosophies of war. Both of them believes that morale is a key element for victory in war. Morale of the soldiers should be kept as high as possible and it is the duty of commanders to maintain the morale of the soldiers so that they can keep on fighting. Sun Tzu and Clausewitz also have some similar thinking duration of war. Both of them believe that every war should be end in a short period of time. This is because if a war is being extended, it will not only tax the soldiers but the home front as well. Clausewitz recognized the importance and expressed it by saying, to paraphrase, a good general can give the orders, but the soldier must have the

Ross, Stewart (2004) The middle east Hodder Education , UK

ability to follow them. Another area in which they both would agree is the idea on strength. Not just strength in the general sense, but specifically at the decisive point. Both, Sun Tzu and Clausewitz believe that war is a political game which has a political motive behind it. This element of uncertainty is key in both philosophy; they believe strongly that war is in large part determined by chance and possibility, that the individual nature of war makes it inherently unpredictable. Both of them feel that war is at its most basic level, an individual activity.

Clausewitz supports in total fighting, the enemy must be defeated until he is unable to fight back. When a victory is uncertain, he should inflict maximum casualties to the enemy. Based on Clausewitzs theory, the losing enemy should not be trapped, instead he should be given a way out a means of escape, for men on the losing side would rather retreat then be slaughtered. War is an experience that requires infinite patience, effort, and trouble. While Clausewitz says that war itself requires hearty reserves of strength and perseverance, he claims that often times a war is decided in a single battle. 5 Base on Clausewitzs theory, the individuals who fought a war play an important role. They are the ones who determine how the war can be in order to achieve a countrys political goals and win the battle.

Like Clausewitz, Sun Tzu also believes that war is a tool of the nation. He sees that war is an art in which minimum force is being used, ideally as a series of bilateral and non-military attacks. Sun Tzu supports that with essential preparation, a war can be succeeded. The commander of war plays an important role in winning a battle and deception is the key to success. Deception must be always used and fully exploited during a war. Intelligence or spies could be used to achieve deception by disrupting enemys plan and

Gladwell Malcolm (2005) Blink Penguin Books Ltd, London, UK

sabotaging enemys key elements. The enemy also can be lured into ambush by own forces appearing as a week force though in reality they are not.

One of the most powerful tool in war as mentioned by Sun Tzu is espionage which has a great influence in a war. These elements if employed accordingly will provide victory without going into fighting. If this cannot be achieved, then the forces should be employed with minimal timing to achieve their mission to avoid loss on both sides. Sun Tzu favours efficient war over Clausewitzs total war. According to Sun Tzu, when a war occurs, the people in the nation is in distress, difficulties of logistics elements and burdened by inflation. Therefore, wartime expenditures should be limited. Casualties should be kept low, monetary contribution should be minimal, and strain on alliances should be as modest as possible by not requesting outside help. 6 Sun Tzu stresses that a nation should fight a reserved war, not a total war.

Lastly, there is a doctrine or method of war that must be learned from experience. When an army possesses all of these qualities, Sun Tzu assured victory. Once these requirements are met, and the army is entrenched in battle, Sun Tzu offers guidelines for fighting. He suggested that when an army outnumbers the enemy ten to one, they should surround the victims; when it is five to one, they should attack from all sides; when they are twice the enemys numbers, they should divide the enemy. When two armies meet in equal numbers, the victor will engage the enemy on his own terms. When the army is outnumbered, they should be able to withdraw and elude the enemy. 7 LESSON LEARN AND THEIR IMPACT ON THE EVOLUTION OF MODERN WARFARE Base on the philosophy of war analysis for both Clausewitz and Sun Tzu, there are some similarity and differences. From this we can learn and apply their ideas in wartime and peacetime. The ultimate goal of war is to completely defeat an enemy force. There are four key elements in a war that

6 7

Handel, Michael (2001) Masters of war Frank Cass Publishers, London, UK Kam, Ephraim (1988) Surprise Attack Harvard University Press, London, UK

must taken into account and given importance so that victory is in our side. First, the tactical planning must be directed towards succeeding a battle. This must be able to change according to the fluidity of war. Second, terrain must guide a commander as to the nature of an attack or withdrawal. Terrain dictates what kind of force must be used, whether it is a siege or a surprise attack. The composition of forces on both sides must be taken into account at all times. The war fighting machines (armament, manpower, transportation) must all be considered for planning an attack. As a result of Sun Tzus is more uses holistic approach and he is able to consider the ability of forces in the inter war period to form ones opponent and thus create a situation whereas one can win without fighting. This hes primary ideal. Alliances are clearly a way in which this can be achieved. Sun Tzu looks at the period outside of war; he can see that it is possible to win war without fighting it. There are several steps that are necessary to take when preparing for war with a scientific rigor. Sun Tzu sees that attacking the enemy without actually fighting should be the aim of an army. Espionage should be employed to gather information about the enemy, to create havoc within the ranks of the enemys army, to break up the enemys alliances, and to generally isolate and demoralize the enemy. Knowledge of ones self is just as important as the sizes of two armies. Sun Tzu says an army will be successful if it knows when it can and cannot fight, when it should use large or small forces, how to lie in wait for an approaching enemy. It must have united ranks and a strong and able general. Sun Tzu predicts the following situations: if an army knows itself and the enemy, it will be victorious; if it knows only itself, but not the enemy, then it has a fifty percent chance of winning; if it knows neither itself nor the enemy, it will most definitely lose. Sun Tzu has a very idealistic, rational outlook of war, where the victor can be predicted based on a set of met requirements.

The commander is obviously the lead individual in an army, and it is often a question of his moral, physical, and psychological capacities as to whether an army can be victorious. These qualities must also trickle down

through the ranks to the corpsman, for they are the ones who fight. These military virtues of an army are all-important, whether a nation wins or loses if often determined by the spirit of the army. If morale is low, a force cannot win. A defeat causes a loss of self-confidence, and this in turn leads to fear, a horribly destructive element for an army to have.

Thus it is the morale of the troops that greatly affects their performance. The commanders skill is also of paramount significance. A general cannot be weak, he must be strong for to lead the troops into battle; he must present an air of confidence that inspires the army. The general, as well as the troops, must be experienced. The commander must be intelligent and knowledgeable of the terrain, weather, the enemy, every aspect of the engagement. A commanders most dangerous weakness is cowardice, for this gives way to rashness, foolishness, and vanity. Thus both believe that war is greatly dependent on the individual. There are always uncertainties in war which cannot be accounted for and must be handled. If a commander or army lacks some of the military virtues, it must make up for them in other ways: simplicity or size. When an army cannot fulfil all of these virtues, it must rely somewhat on chance to swing in its favour.

A good nation must have a capable and understanding commander. Sun Tzu declares a commander must be able to understand a battle before he gets out there. For example, the commander must know the terrain and use it to his advantage to draw the enemy towards him. Planning is vital to strike only when we are assured a victory. This will be continue and falls back in as an offensive manner, enticing the enemy to follow in our way of thinking. The competent commander hates a static situation; he attacks a city only when there is no other alternative. A siege is the worst possible form of battle; it is expensive for both nations in terms of money, men, and supplies. Sun Tzu advises that a commander should shape his enemy to the form he wants, rather than be shaped by the enemy.

CONCLUSION In conclusion both Sun Tzu and Clausewitz have their own philosophy of war though there are some similarities and also differences. Both of their concepts are eventually to win a war. Sun Tzu believes that we can win a war without fighting it; meanwhile Clausewitz concept is more on war fighting thinking. Sun Tzu has given his arguments on psychology which it is one of the dominating factors for the Vietcong during the Vietnam War. Besides that Clausewitz believes that to win battle endurance combine with correct strategy is needed. Both Sun Tzu and Clausewitz suggested that the enemy should always give a chance or an avenue of freedom of fighting. This is to minimize death or casualties in a war. This is important as both parties deserve victory in different angle. Some of the two military strategists differences in concept also make war so distinct. Sun Tzu believes that war is a small-scale operation, while Clausewitz sees as war an overall process which involves the entire nation. It requires a combined effort of all resources to win a war. The other differences are Sun Tzu recommends the use of deception, meanwhile Clausewitz suggested that enemy should be evaluated in all aspects. This is to give a broader view on enemy and be alert the next course of action of the enemy.

Although Sun Tzu and Clausewitz have different perspective and concept on war, both of them also have some similar thinking in some aspects. Both of them agreed that a strong leader in mind and attitude is essential for winning a war. They also suggested that minimal use of force should be used and wanted a war to end in a short period of time. Generally, both of them gave a good lesson learnt from their similarities and their differences. This makes interesting and their knowledge is so useful for future strategists to learn and formulate new strategy derived from both of them. Hopefully, their idea and concept can be expanded and used for other defence studies to promote peace and harmony among countries in this world.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Books 1. Clausewitz, Carl Von (1997) On War Wordsworth Editions Ltd,

Hereford, UK.


Gladwell Malcolm (2005) Blink Penguin Books Ltd, London, UK.


Handel, Michael (2001) Masters of war Frank Cass Publishers,

London, UK.


Kam, Ephraim (1988) Surprise Attack Harvard University Press,

London, UK.


McNeilly, Mark (2001) Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern War Oxford

University Press, UK.


Ross, Stewart (2004) The middle east Hodder Education , UK.

7. State.

Sawyer D Ralph (2007) The Seven Military Classics Basic book, United


Sun Tzu (1998) The Art of War Wordsworth Editions Ltd, Hereford, UK.

Taylor, A P (1995) Bismarck Penguin books, England.



Russel H. S. Stolfi (1982) Barbarossa Revisited: A Critical Reappraisal

of the Opening Stages of the Russo-German Campaign (June-December 1941), The Journal of Modern History The University Of Chicago Press.