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Dead Carl's Laws for Campaigning in Competition




What if Clausewitz was alive today? What advice would he give us about great power competition? Perhaps it would be something like this...


  • Protect National Interests to survive, advance Interests to thrive.

  • Don’t pick a fight with a nuclear power, everyone will lose.

  • If you’re not first, it doesn’t suck to be second.

  • The only thing that defines a threat is the thing threatened.

  • National power means DIME, not M with the others in tow.

  • Best friend and worst enemy still applies.

  • Balance Power in the Geo-Political environment with your thumb on the scale.

  • National interests can be turned into objectives. Try to have a purpose while making friends and killing people.

  • Competition is a team sport, so don’t crap on your team just because you are bigger.

  • Just because the great power game never ends doesn’t mean you can’t win.

  • Just because you win, the game is not over.

  • Military activities executed do not necessarily equal results against a peer power.

  • If you play your game and the enemy his, one of you is losing.

  • National interests are unachievable, but if you don’t campaign to advance them the enemy will beat you.

  • The status quo is undefendable over time.

  • Wars of choice are usually a strategic dead end that limit future choices and risk power balance.

  • Power is a means, not an ends: It’s about Interests dummkopf.

  • Leverage power & influence to defend homeland, promote prosperity, and protect values.

  • Not everything a hostile nation does is a problem, not all friendly nations advance your interests.

  • There is no such thing as a contained conventional war between great powers, especially if they have nukes.

  • Competition is campaigning in peace with others who are friends against those who are foes.

  • International Relations theory applies even when the metallic density of the air increases.

  • War is politics by other means, but politics and economics are typically better off without war.

  • Static deterrence is losing while believing your winning.

  • Advantage is found by leveraging power and influence to shape positive outcomes.

  • Be ready to fight anywhere at any time but try to win without fighting when possible.

  • Once violence is engaged the laws of chance take over.

  • The more debt a nation has, the fewer the strategic options available.

  • Seeing everything as a threat will lead to strategic exhaustion.

  • Don’t let internal squabbles take your eye off an existential threat.

  • Winners campaign globally and continuously.  Losers campaign regionally with uncoordinated efforts and little integration with other elements of power.

  • Losers believe all high-end conflict in competition ends just like WWII.

  • All Empires collapse from within, but some are dealt a death blow from without.

  • If you only look for threats in competition, you will chase your tail. 

  • Hey dummkopf, opportunity is active and defense reactive.

  • The strategist derives objectives from national interests and higher strategy, then networks operations with interagency.  The dummkopf, pursues one off tactical victories that are not connected to any higher purpose.

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