III. Strategies of War

Strategy 1: Alliances

Bring your friends to the party.
The first task of diplomacy in war is to ensure other countries do not side with the enemy, remaining at least neutral and hopefully sympathetic to your cause.
The next step after making friends is to get them militarily involved. A classic mechanism for this is mutual defense agreements that broadly say 'If you are attacked I will leap to your defense (and vice versa)'. Such agreements can extend across many countries.
Once your allies have joined the fray, the next step is to agree who does what, who commands what and work together as a single coherent unit.
War is an expensive business. Transporting troops and weaponry requires a massive logistics exercise. Every gun fired, every bullet shot has to be paid for and individual missiles can cost millions. Having allies reduces your cost significantly.
War can also be tricky around friendships.

Countries who you think are neutral or even friendly towards you may speak out against you.

They may even, heaven forbid, help your enemy in any way from intelligence to joining in with troops and weapons.
When bystanders are on your side, they at least will provide moral support and perhaps more than that.

Friends in war can and often must be bought and there may be much horse trading with export quotas, technology access and so on.
Alliance agreements are not always honored, but they do lead to a strong defensive position that says to the aggressor 'If you attack me then all of my friends will attack you'.
When joined with allies, political in-fighting can easily muddy the waters as jostling for control leads to arguments about which general is controlling what.
In the 20th century communist-capitalist Cold War, the Eastern European Soviet bloc and the opposing Western NATO countries formed alliance groups.
It doesn't always go well though.

Sometimes there's leadership struggles.

In the Second World War the exiled Charles DeGaulle fought hard to retain control of the Free French whilst American and British commanders decided who would do what.

In negotiations, combine with other parties to provide negotiating strength. Leverage other friendships as well, for example showing how an unsatisfactory conclusion will make many enemies.
III. Strategies of War

Strategy 2: War of Attrition

Wear them down.
A war of attrition works through steady erosion.

As you wear down the other side they will hopefully realize that they are slowly being annihilated and will eventually capitulate.
This may be done through a series of open battles where you gradually exhaust and kill their military forces.

It may also be done through multiple covert actions that slip in and cause limited mayhem time and time again.
The goal of this strategy is that repeated defeat, even on a small scale should lead the enemy to forecast eventual total loss and so submit.

However, the sting of defeat and the cost of capitulation may be such that commanders fight on to the very bitter end. Against this, ...
...troops who also realize the inevitable may mutiny, desert or fight without spirit and so accelerate their doom.

Attrition also affects public opinion, which often the military resolve, and sentiment can turn against continued fighting.
A war of attrition can be very costly, especially where both sides are of similar size and neither will give in.

This can easily lead to a Pyrrhic victory where the cost to the victor leaves little to celebrate.
A war of attrition is thus more common in asymmetric war where either side may use it, albeit with different tactics.
In the Iraq war, continued bombing and killing of troops turned public and eventually political opinion against continued American involvement, who sought to withdraw as soon as they could.

Like the Vietnam war, where the great American army sought to wear down their enemy,...
... they eventually struggled against an invisible, distant enemy and vanishing support at home.

In a negotiation wear down the other side by constant attacks and few concessions. Stress their negotiators until they have to retire, then do the same to the next one and the next until you get what you want.
III. Strategies of War

Strategy 3: Blitzkrieg

Power and speed.
Make lightning attacks, overwhelming the enemy with speed and concentrated fire-power. This is typically led by tanks which combine weaponry with speed.
The basic principle is to bombard a designated weak point (schwerpunkt) in the enemy defense, followed by feints and probes to find a breakthrough point, plus a follow-up encirclement (kesselschlacht) to prevent flanking and capture remaining forces.
When the enemy is defeated, the position may be held by a follow-up force whilst the main force moves on quickly to the next target.
Blitzkrieg works first and foremost by shock. When the enemy arrives at speed you may well not have time to get ready. And when they have strong weaponry they can create physical shock in the noise and damage that leads to rapid collapse and giving in.
Blitzkrieg is not war of attrition, depending more on maneuver and surprise than wearing them down by long bombardment or pitched battles. It is thus not a method for attacking a major army it is a technique for conquering large tracts of relatively lightly defended land.
Blitzkrieg can also distract an enemy who has to dispatch forces to deal with your attacks. If, however, you are nimble enough, they will never be able to catch you.
Note that although the term comes from the German strategies of the second world war, much of their ideas for this came from Napoleon's successful mobile attacks against the Prussians.
In German, Blitzkrieg means 'Lightning War' or 'Flash War'.
The Germans made great use of Blitzkrieg in World War 2, initially using it to defeat Poland in which tanks and armored columns raced many miles ahead of the main force.

In an argument, suddenly change tack and strongly attack a minor point held by the other person. When they concede, rapidly move on to another point you can quickly win.
III. Strategies of War

Strategy 4: Cold war

Conflict without direct fighting.
A cold war is one where there is no direct fighting but where overt or covert conflict is carried out by other means.
One way to fight is to work on the principle that my enemy's enemy is my friend -- or at least could be a puppet I can manipulate. I can give them weapons and advice, winding them up to attack our common foe. Further, both sides can get involved in some foreign war, ...
...each supporting one side in a 'war by proxy'. In this way Capitalism vs. Communism was played out across the world with the backing of America and Russia on opposite sides.
Outright war may appear come close as threats and counter-threats fly across the table in managed sword-rattling exercises.

Arms races are a typical form of escalation as each side spends many fortunes on weapons which will most likely never be used.
The other characteristic of Cold War is the number of direct, but covert, operations that go on. Spies and surveillance are used to gather valuable intelligence and special operations may engage in unattributable sabotage and other mischief.
Thus you get bugging of embassies, agents and double agents, mysterious illnesses and the rest of the show.
All wars can be assessed by a temperature metaphor. A hot war is characterized by intense and frequent fighting. At the other end of the scale there is no obvious fighting, yet there is much conflict.
So why do the antagonists just 'duke it out'? Why not do battle and sort out a victor?

There can be many good reasons not to fight. In the famous American-Russian cold war that occupied the latter half of the 20th century, the symmetry of a nuclear stand-off and the threat ...
... of the aptly-named Mutually Assured Destruction kept the two sides from going the full distance.

To fight you also need lots of money and other resources, as well as a political mandate from your country.
If both sides lack the will or the wherewithal, then a cold war by other means may ensue.

An arms race is good for the arms manufactures but it is crippling for the governments who must pay.
Despite the sword-rattling that it permits, the simple economics of escalation is also good reason to quit. (This, arguably, was a key reason why the Soviet communist system collapsed: by the very money-generating nature of capitalism, it allowed the West to out-spend the USSR)
The spying of the US- and Russian-led cold war led to a whole genre of stories such as James Bond. In practice, spying is mostly very boring and although fantasy weapons such as guns in pens have been produced they are seldom used.


Rather than argue, find subtle means of getting at the other person, perhaps seducing their friends or finding secrets by which you might blackmail them.
III. Strategies of War

Strategy 5: Crippling

Take out key abilities.
Crippling takes away a critical ability, removing the enemy's potential for specific actions. Then exploit the weakness created.
Bomb their airfields.

Mine particular areas so they cannot be used.

Destroy power stations, pipelines, dams and other means by which they obtain basic utilities.

Take out their gun positions so they cannot fire back.

Destroy their telecoms stations so they cannot communicate.
When the enemy loses a particular capability they are weakened such that you can now use this as a strategic advantage.
If their airfields and aircraft are destroyed, this gives you air superiority by which you can attack targets at will.

If the weaponry in certain installations is disabled, you can mount frontal assaults.
If an enemy cannot communicate, it cannot report on your positions or actions. Nor can it send commands or requests between its various parts. It thus runs open loop ands effectively rudderless, allowing you to sneak up unnoticed, to divide and confuse and otherwise cause chaos.
In the 1990-1 Gulf War, the US forces started by disabling Iraqi communications systems. Later, they destroyed utilities for Bagdad, including electricity supplies.

In negotiations keep people in the negotiating room, stopping them from taking breaks and stepping out to call headquarters for advice and information.
III. Strategies of War

Strategy 6: Guerilla war

Asymmetric force.
Guerilla warfare is surreptitious and hidden. Guerillas hide secretly in the hills or jungle. They might also hide openly amongst the population, gaining local simpathy through sympathy that is diligently earned (for example by providing scarce food) or by fear of retribution.
Guerillas act in relatively small groups where they attack specific targets rather than engaging large forces.
Guerrilla warfare is a form ideally suited to a smaller, weaker group but who are far more familiar with the territory and culture than the enemy.

In traditional pitched battles they would quickly be overrun, but in guerrilla form they can deliver 'death by a thousand cuts'.
Guerilla warfare needs a suitable territory into which the fighters can melt after an attack, such as dense jungles or vast, impenetrable mountains.
In the Vietnam war, the Vietcong lived in the jungle and amongst the population, from which they harried the American forces and destroyed buildings and installations. Unable to defeat them, the Americans eventually left.

In negotiation, attack the person outside the negotiation room, destroying their credibility by nefarious means.
III. Strategies of War

Strategy 7: Scorched Earth

Retreat, leaving them nothing.
Retreat before an overwhelming enemy, but do not leave anything to the ravaging conqueror.

Destroy everything you own, from houses to crops, rather than let one morsel fall into enemy hands.
With no food left, the whole population must retreat as well, of course.

Rather than sustain enormous supply trains, conquerors far from home feed themselves on the food of their victims, plundering their food stores and drinking their best wine.
Finding the 'scorched earth' the conqueror is unable to feed the troops who become hungry, weakened and demoralized. This tactic also invokes mixed emotions, from futile and tiring anger to fear of an enemy ready to destroy everything rather than surrender.
Soldiers also tend to consider it their right to loot and pillage anything of value they can find. When their bounty is also denied them, they are likely to displace their anger onto one another in the form of petty in-fighting that loses focus on their true purpose.
When Napoleon attacked Russia, as the Russians retreated they burned all fields and destroyed all towns and villages so the French would not even have shelter.

When it looks like you are going to lose an argument destroy or trivialize all aspects of your own position, thus denying the other person the pleasure of taking you apart, bit by bit.
III. Strategies of War

Strategy 8: Trench War

Dig in and fight every inch of the way.
The two sides face one another in effective impasse. Trenches are dug for shelter allowing lateral movement of foot soldiers. They are deep enough to provide protection from snipers and explosions but also shallow enough to permit peering over the edge and getting out when needed
The distance between opposing trenches is determined by a complex mix of factors such as the ability to observe, attack and defend. Betwen the two sides is a 'no man's land' where mines, barbed wire and other dissuasions against a surprise attack may be placed.
At strategic moments, one side may go 'over the top' to charge the enemy lines in the hope of breaking through. Where this is successful, the enemy might then fall back to trenches further away.
A more extreme form of trench war may be found where underground tunnels are built, particularly to protect from aerial bombardment.
Trench war may be used when both sides have the symmetry of approximately equal force and in particular where the defense system of each is stronger than the attack force of the other.
The stalemate that this causes means that soldiers need semi-permanent shelter from opposing gunfire, particularly when they are in open countryside. These entrenched positions then become places of relative safety that, paradoxically, dissuade the soldiers from moving elsewhere.
Trench war becomes less effective when the trenches can be bombed or where other means allows forces to go around the trench system.
Trench war was particularly prevalent in the First World War in Europe where the recent invention of automatic weapons meant that an infantry charge could be mown down before it reached its target.

In an argument, dig in. Refuse to retreat. Snipe at the other person from a safe distance. Wear them down and then launch sudden attacks. If they repel your attack just return to your safe position.
III. Strategies of War

Strategy 9: Siege War

Taking out major citadels.
When the enemy has fortified positions that seem impossible to penetrate, first surround these positions so no-one can enter or leave.
Then try to wear them down so they surrender.

Use heavy fire at the walls, trying to make them crumble. Launch occasional attacks with battering rams and ladders. You can also try to entice them out.
Where your enemy has many castles and you have superior military force, defeating them largely means laying siege to each castle. If you have sufficient forces, you can do this to several castles at once.
Siege war is the natural response to heavy fortification, which itself is a response to regular conflict and lawlessness and where a small force can hold a much larger one at bay.
Fortified castles are often designed to withstand sieges, with all angles covered, moats, reinforced doors and traps for the unwary invader. They may have bigger cannons than you, forcing you back beyond firing range.
When expecting a siege they may lay in a large food supply, allowing them to be independent of external supplies for many months.
The greatest danger of laying siege is that you are in an exposed position and forces from elsewhere may come to the rescue, perhaps even sneaking up on an unprotected rear.
Fortified positions still continue to exist in present day, although the power and accuracy of bombs and artillery make them less relevant.
The siege of Alesia took place in September, 52 BC, around Alesia. It was besieged by Julius Caesar against a confederation of Gallic tribes united under the leadership of Vercingetorix of the Arverni. It was the last major engagement between Gauls and Romans, and is ...
... considered one of Caesar's greatest military achievements and a classic example of siege warfare and investment. The battle of Alesia marked the end of Gallic independence in France and Belgium.
Castles were built as impregnable defensive positions and defeat was only possible through siege. This was a very common form of war up until around the mid-eighteenth century.

In negotiations, do not allow people any breaks. Attack the walls of their arguments. Do not let up until they concede.
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