Over the course of the next few posts, excluding interruptions for more random musings, I'll be exploring the application of my brand of Clausewitzian strategic thinking to the race for the White House.
From war to politics, this is how I break down the steps in analyzing the formulation of strategy:
1) Establish the political object (the overall purpose of the conflict)
2) Establish the 'military' object (the 'military' purpose of the conflict)
3) Establish the negative object (that which is currently possessed that must be protected)
4) Establish the positive object (that which is not currently possessed that is sought)
5) Identify the centre of gravity: is it a traditional search for the equivalent of the "forces in the field" or is a more complex search for some kind of political goal (hearts and minds, a single leader, an economic resource etc?)
6) Brainstorm on the many and varied elements of strategy
7) Group the elements into a small number of broad angles of approach, heeding the concerns of both the positive and negative objects.
8) Manipulate the angles of approach so as to combine their effects in such a way as to smash the centre of gravity, thus delivering the political object.
In 2008, the political object is the winning of the White House, the 'military' object is the struggle for 270 votes in the electoral college, the negative object is the retention of the 2004 states and the positive object is the gaining of new states. That leaves the question of identifying the centres of gravity for the two campaigns. This must be dealt with before the other issues of elements, angles and the achievement of the positive object (also known as, victory) can be explored.
Thus, the focus of my next post with which I hope to spark something of a discussion, will be the question of identifying the centres of gravity in the 2008 Presidential election.