Sunday, September 28, 2008

strategy vs. tactics

I'm sure people have weighed in on strategy and tactics. Tactics is what wins battles; strategy is what wins wars.

It's not a minor topic, really. George Washington wasn't a great tactician. I just read he never beat a British army one-on-one (without the French.) (That gibe doesn't seem to count the battle of Princeton; but maybe the writer is counting it as a draw.)

But he was a great general because he understood strategy: He understood that the Americans could win if he kept the continental army alive until he could deliver a crushing blow.

Ditto for Lincoln. At the very beginning he saw the Union could win if it strangled the South with a blockade, then Union armies moved in concert to attack the South, preventing the South from using its interior lines to move its armies back and forth to meet disconnected Union threats.

Same for FDR. He understood how a global war had to be fought and won.

I should add that it also includes all the political, psychological and financial factors. Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points were a strategic move; ditto for the Emancipation Proclamation, and FDR's Four Freedoms.

One could say Obama doesn't see the strategic problem: who is our enemy? How do we defeat them? Obama would say it's al-Qaida. But it might be Islamofacism. It might even be wider: the whole world that's being left behind (the Mideast, but also Latin America (from narco gangs in Mexico to Chavez) to Putin and Russia.

Anyway, it perhaps is the question.

No comments: