Friday, April 25, 2008

On Political War

Made a quick stop at a used bookstore yesterday and was very happy to find a copy of On Political War by Paul Smith:

Political war is the use of political means to compel an opponent to do one's will, political being understood to describe purposeful intercourse between peoples and governments affecting national survival and relative advantage. Political war may be combined with violence, economic pressure, subversion, and diplomacy, but its chief aspect is the use of words, images, and ideas, commonly known, according to context, as propaganda and psychological warfare.

This book presents an overview of the elements making up political war. It includes discussion of war aims; the possible actors in the drama, and the ethics which inform them; the scope available to them in space and time; the resources they must command; and the outcomes they expect or fear. It seeks to make clear how the elements of political war relate to one another and how, taken together, they fit within the larger context of wars which may or may not include physical violence.