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Chapter 1 Truth and the Rational

The Art of Strategic Agency: Part 1 Truth and the Rational

The American military adventures are the key contact zone for the great ideas of America and the cruel, brute material reality. The interplay of ideas and the actors within the US national security complex determines if victory-- as declared-- is achieved. Although not yet apparent, Afghanistan was won in December 2010. This observation requires an understanding of the origins of ‘Victory!’ and the strategies of agency to predetermine the outcome. Afghanistan, as a limited, messy war, required the armed forces to coagulate and congeal into new ‘poses’ of agency to ensure the ‘event of victory’. The pose was found in the breaking down of the wall of romance and the wall of science.

The USA must negotiate for peace, although it can hardly be said that negotiation is one of the options for America, it is simply the only process for the limited number of options open to it. This is a war with limited political will, with no possibility of a Clausewitzian total victory, so it must ultimately be determined by talking to the enemy. Petraeus succeeded by following the insight of Clausewitz in understanding how people believe they know what they claim to know. It is a victory if Americans believe it. The victory is inter-subjectively determined and the enemy is ontologically generated by its enemy. The enemy is defeated if the enemy believes it. The insight of Petraeus reveals that whilst the American military is positioned to despise post-modernism, it simultaneously is structurally infused to behave and think as a postmodernist. Petraeus is the hero figure in Clausewitz’s writing.

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