Amazing what you can find on Google

Like an essay by an Israeli general that originally appeared in Hebrew in an Israeli defense journal in September 1949 (that would be coming up on 66 years ago).

Boyd extracted a paragraph from it as Chart 99 of Patterns of Conflict. Chuck Spinney, some 35 years after Boyd incorporated it, got worried about the source and after a few minutes, found the original.  We have now added a citation to that slide.

Chuck made the following observation:

If you think about it, this is Israel’s strategy — as well as its grand strategy — to this day: Divide up its opponents. This becomes clear in the use of settlements and Israeli-only roads to carve up and control the West Bank and in its failing effort to isolate Iran. Of course, strategy is destructive and these ideas work to destroy your adversary, but grand strategy should be constructive, it should end the conflict on favorable terms that do not also sow seeds for future conflict. Applying concepts from strategy, such as these from Gen. Yadin, to shape a grand strategy is a prescription for perpetual conflict and destruction (ultimately your own)!

Chuck, incidentally, is echoing Boyd’s observation that strategy is destructive while grand strategy should be constructive, which Boyd put on Chart 142 of Patterns. The notion that grand strategy should “end the conflict on favorable terms, while ensuring that conflict and peace terms do not provide seeds for (unfavorable) future conflict” is from Chart 139.

Chuck has a nice treatment of grand strategy on his Blaster blog, and all of Boyd’s briefings, including the newly revised Patterns of Conflict, can be downloaded from our Articles page.

One thought on “Amazing what you can find on Google

  1. “Chuck, incidentally, is echoing Boyd’s observation that strategy is destructive while grand strategy should be constructive, which Boyd put on Chart 142 of Patterns.”
    Ultimately and in strategy, the goal should be the destruction of your enemy. But there are two “ends” in strategy, and an adaptation may only mean the picture just needs to change a little, in tempo if nothing else.
    So the difference between, if I got this correct (and that is a pretty big if), strategy and Grand strategy is the amount of change? Grand strategy means less change and strategy more. Strategy is destructive, because all that “more” change is on the destructive side? Strategy is a way of building a picture (end), and your enemy isn’t in that picture.
    So, as the Sunni were in a weakened position in Baghdad during their civil war, and the US military laid down barriers instead of fences, that was Grand Strategy? A barrier isn’t made to apply force to your enemy (unless they try to go over or under the barrier). A fence would have for ever separated them.
    In other words, a barrier is created to give your enemy time to think about their actions, and destroy their focus (tempo).
    But these drone strikes Obama is laying down is really only strategy. Does anyone but my stepson believe that when we get these drones perfected, the war will be over?
    I mean in the Grand strategy of keeping our enemy in the picture off-balanced, by laying down barriers to their command and control, and not giving them a moment’s peace is very destructive, but maybe we are always really just looking for ways to keep them off balanced, by laying down more barriers?
    So drones may soon become obsolete or used for some type of constructive job’s bill, and give those people like my stepson some feeling of accomplishment. My stepson is a gamer and still believes, at middle age, that he gets something out of just playing the game. So may be he is right?
    You know, I should add, tech does seem to be working, since the first expeditionary force came out of Africa to reach out to touch someone, and in ways we humans probably couldn’t have dreamed to use technology for. I am not sure how you would rate that first expeditionary force, i.e. constructive or destructive?
    Or how did that S.O.F guy say it during a TV interview? I think it went something like, “Just put an x on the ground and we will be there.”
    Pretty awesome sounding high-tech words coming from a Navy man. 🙂

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