Edward N. Luttwak

Strategy The Logic of War and Peace Publication date : October 1, 2002

“If you want peace, prepare for war” and “the best form of defence is attack”: these clichés recognise the paradoxical nature of strategic logic. In war, what at first seems best often proves disappointing in the long-term. A deliberate weakening can lead to success, while a great victory in a battle can result in the loss of the war. Superior war materiel can be a handicap, while a numerical disadvantage can ultimately be advantageous.
The study of military history could have led Edward Luttwak to conclude that the experience of each conflict is unique. Instead, he became convinced that he had found a number of recurring patterns. As these patterns emerged for him, he discovered that, rather than consisting of a jumble of clichés, they were made up of paradoxes, irony and contradictions. It seemed to him that strategic logic developed in two directions: in the horizontal confrontation between opposing forces, and through vertical interaction at the various levels — technical, tactical, operational, etc. — in which a conflict unfolds. This book can be regarded as the mapping of the author’s exploration.
Illustrated with numerous examples from classical and recent history, Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace reveals the universal logic that underpins war in all its forms as well as relations in peacetime between rival nations.
An internationally recognised authority on strategic studies and geopolitics, Edward Luttwak is a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in Washington, D.C. He is the author of Coup d’Etat, The Endangered American Dream and Turbo-Capitalism.