Angelo M. Codevilla

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Squaring Ends And Means

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Self-determination for countries that had been occupied by Nazi Germany—Poland in particular—was foremost of the common objectives to which President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winton Churchill committed on August 14, 1941 after meeting on the British battleship Prince of Wales off Newfoundland. Germany’s invasion of Poland had been the reason why Britain had declared war. Restoring Poland’s freedom was the war’s first-order objective. The Soviet Union’s 1939 partnership with Germany in that invasion and, by August 1941, its alliance with Britain, added a layer of difficulties. 

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Nuclear Birthday

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Wednesday, August 8, 2018

On August 6 and 9, the popular mind recalls the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by nuclear bombs, congratulates itself that no such weapons have been used since, and pleases to imagine that none will be used ever again. Never mind that they have ceased to be exotic, that nine governments now possess them (Iran is on the cusp of joining them), and that just about any government so inclined can have them. There is near-unanimity that nuclear power “changed everything, forever.” Not quite.

Rabaul, August 1943

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The naval and air bases that Japan established at Rabaul on the eastern edge of New Britain Island in 1942 became the leading edge of its resistance to America’s return to the Western Pacific. Five hundred miles from the nearest Australian air base and supported by nearby Japanese naval and air power, Rabaul almost prevented America’s power, projected as it was from across the Pacific, from gaining a toehold in Guadalcanal, on the easternmost edge of the Solomon Islands. That notwithstanding, Rabaul continued to dominate the Southwest Pacific.

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Do Economic Sanctions Work?

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Strategika
Thursday, March 29, 2018

Economic strictures are acts of war. Throughout history, the starvation and disease they have caused have killed more people than all other instruments of war. But like all other instruments, their effectiveness depends on the circumstances in which they are used and on the policies of which they are part.

Related Commentary

Is North Korea’s Threat Unacceptable?

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Strategika
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The question, “Are both North Korean possession of nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles and the threat of a North Korean conventional strike on Seoul unacceptable risks in dealing with Kim Jong-un?” is phrased badly. The U.S government has accepted, accepts, and gives no sign of ceasing to accept 1) North Korea’s capacity to deliver nuclear warheads onto U.S soil, as well as to devastate Seoul.

Featured CommentaryAnalysis and Commentary

What Can We Expect From Trump’s Foreign Policy Of “Principled Realism”?

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Strategika
Thursday, September 28, 2017

Since the Trump team labeled its foreign policy “principled realism” before carrying out much of it, the term is not a description of things accomplished. Instead, it tells us how the Trump team wants to regard the policies it may pursue and, above all, what it wants others to think of them. Being a label applied to an as-yet largely empty container, it is advertising.

Military HandbooksAnalysis and Commentary

The Art Of War, By Niccolò Machiavelli

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Classics of Military History
Tuesday, June 6, 2017

In this, the least known of his works, Machiavelli gives straightforward advice on organizing and conducting military operations. The Art of War’s clear, and concise style is diametrically opposed to that of The Prince. The book is wholly practical, considers contrasting arguments, and even includes illustrative diagrams. Its format is that of a conversation between a military expert and interested citizens. Although the expert, Fabrizio, is obviously Machiavelli himself, the format provides at least an arguable degree of separation between Machiavelli and his advice.

Military HandbooksAnalysis and Commentary

Discourses On Livy, By Niccolò Machiavelli

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Classics of Military History
Monday, June 5, 2017

Consisting of three books, of sixty, thirty-three, and forty-nine chapters respectively, the Discourses contains the bulk of Machiavelli’s teachings. Unlike The Prince, the chapters are written plainly, headlined in Italian rather than in Latin, and addressed to persons he deems sympathetic to those teachings. The subject is nothing less than what makes for successful states and individuals, as well as for success in war. It is covered on high, low, and intermediate levels of specificity. The format is a series of observations apparently chosen almost at random.

Military FictionAnalysis and Commentary

The Romance Of The Three Kingdoms, By Various Authors (17th Century)

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Classics of Military History
Friday, June 2, 2017

This massive fictionalized history of the struggles attendant to the death the Han dynasty and the establishment the Jin dynasty (circa AD 169-280) is akin to Shakespeare’s historical plays as well as, in some respects, to Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War. It is to be approached in the same way, for what the dialogues tell us about a civilization’s understanding of conflict, of statecraft, as well as of virtue.

Military HandbooksAnalysis and Commentary

The Prince, by Niccolò Machiavelli

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Classics of Military History
Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Prince, Machiavelli’s best known and least understood work, consists largely of anecdotes of victory and defeat in conflict. It is neither a set of recipes for success, nor an argument in favor of harsh methods. That is because Machiavelli’s anecdotes suggest that different—indeed opposite—approaches to conflict are likely to bring victory or defeat according to how well they fit the particular circumstances in which they are used.