Text: In a now famous response to Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud developed an analysis of human nature under the title WHY WAR / We pacifists, he claims, share a potent human trait: a kind of ALLERGY TO WAR / It is a weak force against the OMNIPOTENT AGGRESSION, he says, but a long-lasting one / Social scientist and philosopher Professor Dr. Oskar Negt reports - -
Text: WHY WAR? / War and Human Aggression
Alexander Kluge: You brought a few books. On the one hand the “Iliad”, “Odyssey”, on the other Freud’s “Why War?”, “Reflections on War and Death.” One of them he wrote … when?
Oskar Negt: 1915, that’s the first ...
Kluge: “Reflections on War and Death.”
Negt: During World War I. And the other one, “Why War?”, in 1932/33, before the beginning of World War II.
Kluge: In response to Einstein. Einstein conducts a survey. Freud thinks at first: Here’s the greatest scientist and physicist in the world that he knows, and he wants his opinion on a scientific problem. But then he realizes that it is a request for an anti-war statement.
Negt: It’s a project commissioned by the League of Nations that encourages intellectuals to exchange ideas about the nature of war. Einstein is asked to correspond with someone, and he chooses Freud. At first, Freud is not happy about this at all, because he doesn’t know what to say about it. But then it develops into a correspondence, even though we don’t know what kind of questions Einstein asked specifically.
Text: Professor Dr. Oskar Negt, philosopher
Kluge: His heirs didn’t authorize their ...
Negt: They didn’t authorize their publication. And Freud’s answer is somewhat surprising, because he says basically: There is no point in creating cultural institutions, legal regulations against war, no point in constantly polemicizing against war. Perhaps we simply have to accept that war exists, and understand human aggression as a normal part of social life.
Kluge: And he says this, signs this, as a pacifist.
Negt: As a pacifist.
Kluge: He says, we pacifists have within us, essentially under our skin, in our nervous system, culturally determined idiosyncrasies. That means we have a kind of distaste for war, you could say that, right?
Text: Idiosyncrasy / Distaste for War
Negt: Well, and for Freud, and Kant says the same thing, people who have grown up in and become civilized by a specific cultural context, develop a dislike, an idiosyncrasy towards the dirtiness, the loss of their abilities, the destruction of their natural talents.
Kluge: And that’s the one thing we might be able to rely on.
Negt: There’s a material motivation at work here.
Kluge: If you try to distinguish between good and evil, to establish exclusions, to basically exclude war …
Negt: Yes, that’s Freud’s main point in this essay: he says that the preaching and the moralistic demands are not enough – not even the legal securities, as the League of Nations shows. We have to penetrate the fundamental human drives and study them, and sublimate these drives into a kind of balancing act that carries the potential for peace.
Text: Culture as Catalyst for War
Kluge: Especially the puritan movement, especially the French Revolution, the people’s war, any distinction between good and evil, new and old, any partiality that excludes others around the globe, is a source of war. That means morality is one of the most important reasons for war. That’s his thesis.
Negt: Yes, well, when morality leads to an excess of energy that is used to suppress the drives, or when the drives are not sublimated anymore; when they cannot be cultivated anymore, so that the energetic components of the drives still contain a primal element; basically when the drives’ ratio is imbalanced, all that leads to war. That’s when humankind starts to destroy their own cultural accomplishments.
Kluge: That means that exercised morality, practice, life practice, would not cause war; what leads to war is hoarded morality, morality that is expressed rhetorically, that is enforced, accumulated through exchange, condensed into nationality, into theatricality, into a consensus, like for example: Primitivity must be eliminated in the world.
Negt: And if the super-ego, the monitoring authority, turns terrorist; if it takes over and renders the ego functions powerless, that’s when it gets dangerous.
Kluge: I have to make the world a better place on behalf of others – that would be a reason, one of the conditions for terror and war.
Text: The Same Sources for Terror and War
Kluge: Aside from Freud, you specifically brought this heavy volume by Kant, because if you take these two thinkers from different centuries, you end up with different layers: for Kant, the great accomplishment pertains to international law. There are sovereign entities around the world, people, nations, and they can get along, and therefore they have to get along. That’s one of his main ideas. He doesn’t yet refer to the individual, and certainly not to human interiority. Although for him, morality and conscience are analogous to international law.
Negt: Analogous to international law, because he actually sees the human conscience as a court of law, the conscience, the individual conscience as a court of law that puts questions on trial and imposes sentences. For Kant, the conscience is a form of internalized public sphere.
Kluge: So there are soldiers ... at Valmy, in a military sense; but there are also soldiers serving the sense of justice, and that could actually be any citizen. And that’s why, according to Kant, there is no federal government, no world court, no armed security council overseeing the league of nations; it is possible for the people to protect this freedom themselves.
Negt: Yes. But within the same humans exists something like a damned inclination, as he calls it, to violate rules and laws, even self-imposed laws. This is really the aggressive element, he says: War does not need a reason. It is grafted onto human nature. That does not mean that it is an anthropological trait. Rather, it is an inherited animal trait in mankind that … the need to live and to express the drives, the energies, that is what in his opinion constitutes the aggressive element that has to be counteracted both internally and externally.
Text: Professor Dr. Oskar Negt, philosopher
Kluge: And then humanity might simply lose sight of war. War might be forgotten: If I respect it, but let it dissolve into a trickle, so that aggression cannot build up and does not have any reason – because people are satisfied, because they are working – to turn against another nation … then war could be forgotten. And that would mark the abolishment of war.
Negt: Well, war also has a positive function for Kant. He says for example: War brings nations together; by means of shipping, by means of global connections, war brings forth something like a positive public sphere that supersedes the local. And he says, the social unsociability of mankind, this … they want to live in peace, but another side of their nature also makes them compete with others and fight.
Kluge: He witnesses the Seven Years’ War. He lives in Königsberg; apparently he never left the city …
Negt: Only within the range of a few kilometers, only 20, 30 kilometers.
Text: Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
Kluge: And now there’s the Seven Years’ War, and other wars before that. Is he involved in that? Those are cabinet wars.
Negt: They are cabinet wars.
Kluge: There’s no motivation from the side of the population.
Negt: He studies them and observes them very carefully, and always considers it an occurrence that destroys human nature, the technical, pragmatic, ethical aspects of human nature, in an impermissible way. He sees it as a pointless slaughter of human beings, and he particularly speaks up against sovereigns who sell or trade or extradite people. That is a prohibition he makes in his work “Perpetual Peace.” That means, the functionalization, the exploitation of people for certain purposes during wartimes …
Kluge: Like the Elector of Hesse who sells soldiers to America.
Negt: Sells them to America, exactly, and he observes this very intensely. He does not only rely on morality, however, but says, we have to somehow try to establish peace-promoting measures, both within the individual – by means of their conscience with its similarity to a court of law –, and in regard to external circumstances.
Kluge: Does he think a just war is better than an unjustifiable one?
Negt: Well, he has got a very, very explicitly positive understanding of the French Revolution. So for him is ... he would consider that a revolution. He says, this revolution is …
Kluge: … allowed to go to war.
Negt: ... allowed to defend itself. He also says a revolution – in the sense of the realization of a constitution based on natural law – has the legitimate right to defend itself against tradition. He prohibits wars of aggression, however. No matter what kind.
Kluge: If, in the course of this defense, foreign countries are forced under French rule, or practically all of Europe, as it happens under Napoleon – would that still be considered a defensive war in the broad sense?
Negt: No, that wouldn’t be the case for him. He wouldn’t see it that way. He didn’t experience them personally, of course, but he would have said that these Napoleonic Wars are defensive wars up to a certain point, and after that they turn into wars of aggression, no matter the motivation behind them. The overall goal and the purpose don’t matter in the face of the mass destruction that comes with these wars.
Kluge: Once, he experiences being overrun by the Russians in Kaliningrad or Königsberg.
Kluge: Those are the armies of Tsarina Elizabeth. And 1757, when the Encyclopedia published its article on war, that’s precisely the time of the Battle of Großjägersdorf, where an army of Frederick II under the leadership of his favorite general was utterly defeated. And afterwards the Russian commander retreats. That is a cabinet war. That means, somehow this kind of warfare appears to the people as … they endure it but no one asks about the motives.
Negt: No, no one asks about the motives. And you have to say … this Seven Years’ War in particular, which … these wars are very bloody; but they concern the general population only in as far as they cause shortages. But the Russian invasion in Königsberg, for example, actually made people feel like they were being liberated from pietistic Protestantism. Even Kant comes alive during that time. The Russians are celebrating, and he is also … he is seen playing pool in Russian casinos, and he sends a loyal address to the tsarina, asking her for a position to fill a vacant departmental chair. That means, it’s actually as if everyday life hasn’t changed at all, except for the sovereign, the monarch.
Kluge: But they know what they have got in him as their new subject. They know that he’s a famous philosopher. They respect him. That’s an international dynamic, contrary to the war …
Negt: Well, there are … the officers attend his lectures. An entire row of Russian officers study with Kant.
Kluge: But he doesn’t speak French or Russian, so that they can understand.
Negt: No, but they speak German.
Text: Battle during the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763)
Kluge: That is an achievement of the French Revolution, the fact that absolutely deadly weapons now encompass everything. That entire battle fields can be destroyed; that human motives enter the equation.
Text: PEOPLE’S WAR / FRENCH REVOLUTION
Negt: Yes, and that starts with “levée en masse”, that is, with the French Revolution, where patriotism becomes the decisive motivation for the fight. It relates to man in his entirety, that means it relates to the human disposition, rather than a practical goal regarding, for example, the conquest of Silesia or something. They carry forth ideas. This kind of patriotism is suited for the dissemination of ideas.
Kluge: And that’s when war begins to turn really gruesome. That’s when it gets really gruesome, and the high point of this kind of mass war, of the people’s war, is the beginning of the war in 1914, which paves the way for Verdun. And that is what Freud, in … what was the title again?
Negt: “Reflections on War and Death.”
Kluge: He writes this short text in the middle of the war.
Negt: In the middle of the war. He writes this in 1915, when he ponders the immense degree of self-destruction that plays into it, the self-destruction of mankind, and the cultural hypocrisy. He speaks about cultural hypocrisy, that means, the peace flags that were raised before are now broken and tattered. Then he examines the human tendency towards strife from the perspective of the drives, and he says: We simply have to acknowledge that the repression of death in our everyday lives is an act of severe self-deception. We have to acknowledge death as a force that is part of our lives. Then we can deal with it as a material force and work to prevent it.
Text: Professor Dr. Oskar Negt, philosopher
Kluge: To create a counterweight, so to speak, in order to disperse it.
Negt: And that would mean to attribute more weight to the force of Eros. For Freud, even at that time, this is always tied to two elements: the human ability to work and to love, and the ability to bond, that is, the ability to work and to love.
Kluge: The more immediate human ability to bond there is, the lower the likelihood, the less potential feeds into war.
Negt: Into war and into the internal projection of an enemy, the idea that you need an enemy in order to stabilize your own position within this imbalanced state of stress, to be able to withstand the energy.
Kluge: So it is kind of a way of establishing a horizon, that means, to create concepts of the enemy, and thus to gain relief and balance in my own life: I endure something because of an external evil. And that’s the moment that brings forth the potential for war … fleets, armament, and so on. That means, for Freud war does not begin with the declaration of war, but in pre-war.
Negt: No, that becomes very clear in this text. The entire culture that leads towards it, in particular the Victorian Era, the Wilhelmine Era, is an era of repression. That’s the true reason behind the war and all the sadism and brutality and atavism that happens on the battle fields ... he uses all those expressions ... basically the return of the most primitive hostile convictions, destructive convictions, except now they are fought over with highly industrialized means.
Kluge: It is a time when the feature-length film emerges in America; when Puccini is writing operas, but so is Arnold Schönberg. Stravinsky composes “The Soldier’s Tale” in 1916 … 1915-16. That means, it’s a highly nuanced, culturally virulent time that brings forth a lot of new developments.
Negt: Yes, but the broken kind. Even Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale” already represents the broken soldier.
Kluge: The failed return home.
Negt: Failed. And the orchestration is also very sparse and dissonant.
Kluge: It already anticipates the movement of the volunteer corps, the fact that you cannot simply return from a disruption of life such as World War I, you cannot return to a civilian life, you remain a bullet. You remain the armored man, up until 1933, until ’45.
Negt: The motivations remain, the unfulfilled motives, the motives of aggression that built up during World War I. There remains something among the victors as well as the defeated that continues to smolder and practically helps create World War II on the subjective level.
Kluge: So that you could actually say that there is one single war in Central Europe from 1914 to 1945. Now, you can find Freud, towards the end of World War I, in Budapest at the annual conference of the Psychoanalytic Society. He’s the only one in civilian clothes, a black suit, he presents a paper, all the others are military physicians. He says that all analysts are war profiteers, because it has turned out: We understand the human soul. We can heal people that return from the battle fields. We even know that man’s fear of the battlefields of love is greater than that his fear of the enemy’s bullets. He’s proud. He can essentially, just like Lenin he can see something … a takeover is in easy reach, and at its core is the desire for peace. That’s how he’s able to analyze the subjective element on which the people’s war rests. And astonishingly, there is a continuity to this perspective in his late work “Civilization and Its Discontents,” which indeed explains a lot about the consequences of the separation of the official cultural sector from the human soul, for example that there are actually concentration camp guards who play Schubert.
Kluge: Like the famous aficionado Höss, commander of Auschwitz.
Negt: And that’s where this rift becomes visible. He says, it would need an entirely different kind of cultural labor that keeps returning to the actual human drives, which include the death drive and the destruction drive. By the way, this idea – without the psychoanalytic apparatus – shows up very similarly, in many ways, in Kant’s work, because Kant also deals with actual human motivations when he says that morality and legality are necessary. He also says that people are not growing more ethical, but you can see progress in regard to legality; that means conflicts gradually grow milder, more civilized; legal procedures are employed.
Kluge: Laterally – they are positioned next to each other, so that the individual energies aren’t as strong anymore.
Negt: The juridicality of procedures to deal with conflicts is increasing and should be encouraged, he says. Whereas morality does not grow in quantity. People are not growing more ethical. That’s why he is strictly opposed to ideological communities, religious communities which believe in something like a theocracy …
Kluge: He’s a strict antifundamentalist, you could say that, right?
Negt: Absolutely. The critical path is the only feasible one.
Kluge: And he says this based on the assumption that nature will remain wild. Mankind, and nature as well. It would remain wild even if it were planted as a garden. The wildness of nature would merely be channeled.
Negt: Of course. And that’s why he says in “Dreams of a Spirit-Seer”, where he deals with people who get all of this mixed up: Let’s stop these metaphysical academic disagreements. And he cites Candide, who says: Now that we’ve lived through this entire course of history, let’s go and till the garden.
Kluge: Let’s do history over again. We have to rewrite world history over and over, until it becomes human-like, until we are happy with it.
Negt: And that’s when culture becomes agriculture – culture as agriculture, as gardening, those are basic ideas for both Kant and Freud.
Kluge: And that does not have much to do with concert visits or recreation. It’s labor.
Negt: Well, it can be pleasurable, that can be part of it, they are not opposed to that; but it is not … that alone does not meet the requirements for the concept of human culture.
Text: Immanuel Kant about AGGRESSION
Negt: But it is absolutely clear that, for Kant just as for Freud, destruction, the aggressive element of achievement, the competition among people – which is always also aggressive in the sense that it involves death wishes regarding the opponent – also represent an incredibly productive potential for securing peace. That means the cultural agenda should really be focused on the sublimation of the drive of aggression, not its suppression. As soon as the drive of aggression is repressed, he says, just as he explains it in his letter to Einstein: if you always, always condemn war and so on, you can condemn it for centuries and it will continue to happen unchanged. Because it is not being processed.
Text: RELATIONSHIP between Industry and War / Industria = Diligence
Kluge: Speaking of something else: Industry was indifferent towards the war, never took a stand. It is an inconvenience, because it competes with the industrial processes. And since industrial diligence, that is, human effort in a highly collective form, ha never been directed at eliminating the causes of war, an anti-war-campaign, we don’t have factories producing peace.
Negt: Actually, Comte and the early sociologists even thought that because you cannot be productive using just sheer force, the industrialization of society would result in a peaceful society. Indeed, Comte thought that an industrial society cannot be violent because that would go against its own principles.
Kluge: Yes, but another thing we tend to believe, especially in regard to a highly civilized organism like New York: people would say that it is far too complex for a nuclear war. In a highly industrialized society, it is impossible to wage an atavistic kind of war. That’s what people say, and there is some truth to it.
Text: Professor Dr. Oskar Negt, philosopher
Negt: There’s some truth to it, and still, both Kant and Freud argue that the atavism, the precultural heritage will remain constant if it is not worked through, both in regard to the human psyche and the human being’s relationships to others. And then tribal rivalries emerge ... after 400, 500 years there are armed conflicts that we fully believed were already history, like in the Balkans.
Kluge: Like Amselfeld. And they happen in other locations, they are relocated, so that direct experience and mere historical knowledge …
Negt: Yes, a lot of people don’t know this anymore, what the drive energies ...
Text: Foundation of the Muslim Brotherhood 1928
Kluge: And then it reemerges as doctrine from academic chairs, from libraries and municipal libraries …
Negt: Of course, that is where it is also remembered.
Text: The Muslim Brotherhood Murders the President of Egypt
Kluge: Just like, as an expert told me, the Islamist fundamentalists develop their myths of origin from the 1920s, ‘50s, ‘80s, and it doesn’t really have anything to do with medieval Arabic philosophy or with Islam.
Negt: No. But in Islam, enlightenment traditions coming through Averroes and Avicenna, which were there in the medieval world, have been partly pushed to the margins. That means, a certain tradition of enlightenment that existed in the beginning has disappeared. And you can still say that this kind of fundamentalism, as you can find it among the Taliban and others, can be legitimized only as a side variation on individual suras, and does not at all represent what Islam – even as a very divided religious community – stands for.
Kluge: It is about the same level of rarity that characterizes a puritan group from Scotland that emigrated to the US, developed a particular kind of ethics, and murdered a lot of women for being ‘witches.’ That would be just as …
Negt: That would be a parallel, yes. The parallel would be that these types of fundamentalists emerge in certain contexts of modernization, just as it is happening now in the Islamic world … if you take certain Arabic countries, for example, it’s very clear that parts of Egypt are much more secular and headed towards a secular political system, the separation of religion and state, of legality and morality. So it’s also a reaction to this loss of traditions in the face of an increasing westernization of the Islamic world.
Kluge: But in Boston, for example: the long road from the sectarian puritan founders, founding fathers, all the way to Harvard University – that would be gardening.
Negt: Yes, that would be gardening.
Kluge: And the Arabs already demonstrated that in the High Middle Ages in Cordoba, Aleppo, and Baghdad.
Negt: Yes, and I mean in the times of Frederick II, the Hohenstaufen Emperor, it was completely normal that the Arabic world was engaged with the medieval Christian world …
Kluge: Like Aristotle, whose work came to us through the Arabs ...
Negt: And Cordoba is also an example for the peaceful coexistence of Jews at the time. Antisemitism is completely absent during that time.
Kluge: Completely. After Saladin, Jerusalem is open to all religions until 1920.
Text: Sultan Saladin
Text: Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, King of Jerusalem
Text: Stay at Home
Text: The Superpowers’ Monopoly on Violence / Organic Composition of “War Capital”
Kluge: If, on the one hand, we have the traditional people’s war, and the industrialized war relying on mass mobilization lasting from 1914 to 1945, then you could say that the practice of deterrence in the second half of the 20th century is something completely different. It isn’t tested aggressively. Sure, there are substitute wars, things turn cruel enough in Vietnam, in Korea already, but like major banks, the two superpowers keep their war potential under lock and key.
Negt: It’s an accumulated potential which through a sense of insecurity and fear is kept on levels that only remain balanced in this organic constellation of war. You could say that the Warsaw Pact and this pact system …
Kluge: ... is the management of two impossibilities.
Negt: Two blocs which are indeed armed so highly and have accumulated such potential, such war potential, that they can cancel each other out, because the danger is the same for both. And in one of these systems, and that becomes increasingly obvious in the 1980s, during Perestroika, with society opening up, it becomes clear that these war potentials, the submarine forces, the development of rockets …
Kluge: The space program ...
Negt: ... do not actually have a foundation.
Kluge: There is an absolute detachment from the people, from the grass growing, and from the economy.
Negt: That’s why I believe that it has got something to do with Perestroika: that with the opening up of the social issue of information, also in regard to the population’s day-to-day sustenance, something like a heightened confidence of Western capitalism arises, and the insight that there is nothing in people’s lived experience that corresponds to this, that it is abstract – that the defensive potential of the Soviet Union during the Warsaw Pact is not rooted in any civilizational reserves.
Text: Chernobyl as Practice Ground for Spies
Kluge: Now, there is an incident in 1986, Chernobyl. We know that the western secret service agencies immediately sent their experts, their spies to study this case of emergency: What kind of contingency plans do they have? How do people react during a nuclear war? That’s something that can be studied in the situation of such an accident, just like in a drill. They were all arrested, they were found out when they were about to board the plane with their secrets. But that’s when it turned out that no one is even prepared for an accident like this. So how were countries supposed to be prepared to deal with a nuclear war?
Negt: That means there’s a lack of communication networks and infrastructure that people would be equipped to deal with. There’s something of the Obsolescence of Humankind here that Günther Anders speaks about when he says: Humankind has used its creative capacity to become so productive that their imagination in regard to the uses of their own productivity, to its dangers, has not been able to keep up. And that has become very obvious, not only regarding the relief efforts in Chernobyl; but the entire war technology has taken on the quixotic composition of an enormous complex that doesn’t have a viable basis for life.
Text: Professor Dr. Oskar Negt, philosopher
Kluge: And that means that we’ve got a system of deterrence, the hoarding of weapons that cannot possibly ever be used, that go far beyond the destructive potential that would match any particular target. There is always an overkill. And unlike during the 19th and early 20th century, it isn’t supported by a mass mobilization of minds, but instead it is managed by experts: A priestly caste, knowledgeable about strategies of deterrence, prevents the worst.
Negt: Of course, because this actually indicated the return of the traditional cabinet context. We know that during the negotiations, the disarmament talks, the actors involved have detailed knowledge of their adversaries’ strategies, their negotiation strategies, their tricks. Post-war diplomacy is basically cabinet diplomacy. And the disarmament experts like Egon Bahr, Kissinger etc, they personally know each other very well, they can read the other’s reactions precisely.
Kluge: They are simply very experienced people. And although I think that we were really just lucky in the end, it’s true that nothing happened. That means they actually did a good job in the most dangerous situations. But there is a difference to the concept of sovereignty that Carl Schmitt develops during the first half of the 20th century – who gets to decide over war and peace? Only the people themselves can do that. And the human being has to obey that in his individual convictions. Now it’s completely reversed – there is a destabilization of the subjective aspect.
Negt: And the dissociation from the people’s right to self-determination over war and peace is just as significant in the West as it is in the East.
Text: People’s Incapacitation in Questions of War
Kluge: And of course you couldn’t simply let the people on the Kosovo decide over a nuclear war, for example, be it the Serbs or the Albanians. That’s where you reach the limits of self-determination regarding the potential consequences.
Negt: But that means that this war is a bloc war, or rather, this definition of war is marked by blocs that are in themselves structured in a way that establishes control over their borders. No country that was part of the Warsaw Pact could have taken the liberty to do anything noteworthy ...
Kluge: To play with fire, the Rumanians against the Hungarians, a small frontier revision in regard to 1918, that would have been unthinkable.
Negt: And it was just the same in the West. In that sense this is a concept of bloc war that wasn’t known before.
Kluge: Within the course of one year, we now have a completely different global situation. There are ... all forms of war are still occurring, including blitzkrieg, if you want; including medieval or clan wars. But globally speaking things are completely different.
Text: PRIVATIZATION of Violence and War
Negt: The great danger lies simply in the privatization of violence and war. Underneath the disintegrating sovereignty of nation states, and that’s true for almost all countries, there’s something like a tendency towards the privatization of war and war potentials that cannot simply be incorporated or contained within a cosmopolitical context, as Kant envisioned the incorporation of war into cosmopolitical arrangements. Instead they make their own politics, and since 9/11, when this turned out to be a kind of experience of the powerless gaining power, there are dangerous potentials forming along the edges of our global system that can put into motion these kind of enormous total war-like events, cumulatively and non-synchronously.
Text: Global Stock Exchange of Power Relations
Kluge: Basically like an alternative global stock exchange. One world exchanges only goods, but there is another global exchange of power relations, of legitimation. And at the same time, the public sphere becomes destructive, that means there is just as little public discourse about the crucial aspects of the Pentagon’s agenda as there is about the secret preparations of terrorists. That means a shared public sphere for all important human issues is not a given anymore. The second thing is the question of what kind of war is being led, against whom, and when it escalates. The third point is: All the scientific preparations, the decades during which these politicians, who might be responsible for the superpowers’ strategic planning, were taught at the best universities in the world, they have been trained in the wrong thing, something that’s not relevant anymore – the doctrine of deterrence.
Negt: Of course. And that is also true for the definition of war that emerged in these bloc systems; that’s why it’s essentially become impossible to apply war to anything. The opponent does not appear in formation anymore, where even if they don’t officially declare war, they appear clearly as the enemy, territorially and temporally. Instead, now they search for the opponent in caves. That’s something completely new, Clausewitz would have never defined that as war. NATO did not understand this as war either. In that sense, we are in a situation where we need to redefine the problem of war and violence.
Text: WHY WAR? / War and Human Aggression