[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/OPINION/06/28/frum.war.mcchrystal/tzleft.david.frum.ckennedy.jpg caption="David Frum: You win or lose wars by using violence to shape global public opinion " width=300 height=169]
"War is politics by other means," wrote the Prussian philosopher of war Carl von Clausewitz. The career and resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal drives home an updated and equally profound truth: "War is PR by other means."
Von Clausewitz's famous dictum was meant as a corrective to obsolete ancient ideas. Primitive warriors might fight for glory, or for booty, or to fulfill a divine commandment. Modern states must think about war and peace more rationally and pragmatically.
My update of von Clausewitz is also a corrective to an obsolete idea. In the modern media age, you no longer win wars by killing maximum numbers of the enemy. You win (or lose) wars by using violence to shape global public opinion.
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