Lectures of Opportunity: "Clausewitz and Alliances: The Defensive Ally Difference"

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Thursday, June 09, 2022
12:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
U.S. Naval War College, 686 Cushing Road, Newport, RI 02841

U.S. Naval War College, LOO Coordinator

This event is for U.S. Naval War College students, faculty and staff.

Clausewitz and Alliances: The Defensive Ally Difference

In On War, Carl von Clausewitz devotes the most attention to understanding the nature of the defensive form of warfare. Balancing the material, historical, and political aspects of war, Clausewitz weaves an analysis of the defense’s inherent potential strength. The ultimate means of support for the defense, Clausewitz argues, are allies. He goes so far to distinguish defensive allies from ordinary allies, which an attacker might also have. But identifying what, in particular, makes defensive allies so potent is wanting in his analysis. In an attempt to fill the gap, I contend that a philosophical account of friendship clarifies Clausewitz’s distinction between ordinary and defensive allies. What does it mean to conceive of an alliance as a kind of friendship—or to see an ally as a friend?

About this Lecture

Lectures of Opportunity offers U.S. Naval War College (NWC) students, faculty, and staff an opportunity to learn more about national and international socio-political subjects that may be of relevance to the NWC community.

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