Military Strategy Magazine  /  Volume 7, Issue 2  /  

A Note From The Editor

I believe the edition you are about to read is particularly strong in terms of the content we seek to progress for Military Strategy Magazine. That said, we are not a publication for beginners, but we should avoid becoming an elitist academic journal with little relevance to all, bar academia. Beginners do not really need content adjusted for their level of knowledge. Strategy is not chemical engineering. As a social science, simple familiarity with language should be enough to get most through the door. The only limiting factor in being conversant with Strategic Theory (thus “Strategy”) is the amount you have read combined with the quality you understand. There is no quantity versus quality debate. Both are required.The real problem is that Strategic Theory will only take you so far. To really see the theory work you need Strategic History, which is really nothing more than history understood with the lens of Strategic Theory. There is no magic here. It is all brutally simple stuff, albeit simple stuff that can be hard to understand.

Simple stuff that is hard to understand? Yes. The greatest insights and most useful understanding come from deep knowledge. Deep knowledge is what creates the levels of understanding that enable application in the real world. To this end, I would ask our readership to point out sophistry, pseudo-intellectualism and faux complexity should they see it in our publication, or anywhere else. If nothing else this is a useful antidote for those of us who are standing too close to the elephant to see the elephant. If anyone supposes I am offering this challenge because I see such digressions commonly occurring in the field of Strategic Theory, then you may be right. Was Infinity Journal ever guilty of such issues? I hope not, but it never hurts to look in the mirror. To those readers who are wondering what I am wittering on about, I would simply say that, for example, Clausewitz is not inherently complicated or complex. The ideas are pretty simple. Did Carl explain his ideas clearly and simply? Not always, but this is not about debating Clausewitz. It is about clarity, so if you want to write about Clausewitz, write to make his ideas clearer, and not debate him using the lens of some abstract French or German philosopher people only pretend to have read.

Strategy needs simple and clear writing where an extensive vocabulary is only employed to create greater and more useful precision of expression. Likewise, ideas and concepts that are not easy to explain and demonstrate need to be held to rigour and assayed in the fire of common sense. Also, call out pompous editors who stretch analogies too far! To paraphrase the much-maligned but skilled Tactician and Strategist, Bernard Montgomery, “if the thinking is clear, the doing is clear.”

 

William F. Owen
Editor, Military Strategy Magazine
September 2020

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