Liddell Hart on strategy: The synaptic lapse twixt conception and execution

By Mike Fogarty*

“The difficulty lies in operating the policy rather than in conceiving it. Policy, like strategy, is an art in which everything depends on execution. Or to quote Clausewitz (pictured) rather than Napoleon: Everything about it is simple, but the simple is always difficult.”

Errors at the tactical and operational level may be redeemable, but those at the strategic level are usually catastrophic. This observation has been sourced from readings below. Consider Liddell Hart. ‘As regards the relation of strategy to tactics, while in execution the borderline is often shadowy, and it is difficult to decide exactly where a strategical movement ends and a tactical movement begins, yet in conception the two are distinct. Tactics lies in and fills the province of fighting. Strategy not only stops on the frontier, but has for its purpose the reduction of fighting to the slenderest possible proportions.’ This over-states ‘indirect strategy.’

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