I used to think that the causes of war were predominantly economic. I came to think that they were more psychological. I am now coming to think that they are decisively "personal," arising from the defects and ambitions of those who have the power to influence the currents of nations.
Direct experience is inherently too limited to form an adequate foundation either for theory or for application. At the best it produces an atmosphere that is of value in drying and hardening the structure of thought. The greater value of indirect experience lies in its greater variety and extent. History is universal experience, the experience not of another, but of many others under manifold conditions.
The most consistently successful commanders, when faced by an enemy in a position that was strong naturally or materially, have hardly ever tackled it in a direct way. And when, under pressure of circumstances, they have risked a direct attack, the result has commonly been to blot their record with a failure.
In strategy the longest way round is often the shortest way there- a direct approach to the object exhausts the attacker and hardens the resistance by compression, whereas an indirect approach loosens the defender's hold by upsetting his balance.
A commander should have a profound understanding of human nature, the knack of smoothing out troubles, the power of winning affection while communicating energy, and the capacity for ruthless determination where require by circumstances. He needs to generate an electrifying current, and to keep a cool head in applying it.
An army should always be so distributed that its parts can aid each other and combine to produce the maximum possible concentration of force at one place, while the minimum force necessary is used elsewhere to prepare the success of the concentration.
The blurring of the line between policy and strategy] encouraged soldiers to make the preposterous claim that policy should be subservient to their conduct of operations, and (especially in democratic countries) it drew the statesman on to overstep the definite border of his sphere and interfere with his military employees in the actual use of their tools.