Santa Clausewitz

Posted: December 24, 2012 by blogtarkin in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,
Santa Clausewitz

Hare Clausewitz makes his rounds.

Twas the night before battle, when all through the base.
The sentries were posted, the standards were cased.
The rifles were stacked by the tent flaps with care,
In the hopes that Saint Clausewitz soon would be there.

The majors were nestled all snug in their beds,
While flanking divisions danced in their heads.
Sergeant Major in his kerchief and I with my map,
Had just settled down for a long bivouac.

When out on the field there arose such a clatter,
I sent out patrols to see what was the matter.
Away to the front line I flew like a flash,
To rally the sentries to police up their trash.

The illum on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Removed fog of war from objects below.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a Prussian war theorist and eight tiny reindeer.

That wily old general, medals layered thick,
I knew in a moment in must be Clausewitz.
More rapid than hussars his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“On Reason! On Chance! On Passion and Friction!
On Chaos! On Fog! On Flanking and Blitzen!
To the center of gravity! Where their defenses disjoint!
Unleash your attack, find the decisive point!”

As dragoons that before the columns do fly,
When they meet the defense and mount to the sky.
So up to the parapets the coursers they flew,
With a sleigh full of theory and Saint Clausewitz, too.

And then in a twinkling he told me the truth,
That with a good strategy, plans are bombproof.
As I drew in my lines and was turning about,
he bounded the trenches and jumped the dugout.

Though he was squared away in his dress uniform,
He was not here to drink, just to teach and inform.
“Trust your coup d’oeil when deploying your means,
You’ll achieve all your ends, if you use your Marines.”

“You do not need principles, nor geometry,
Or you’ll meet with defeat, like that fool Jomini.
Study On War to improve on your judgement,
So your enemy’s will can be surely outspent.”

Then he sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the path of a missile.
I heard him exclaim as he looked ‘cross the scenes,
“Remember that war is just politics by other means!”


This was a collaborative effort, with much credit to go around. Firstly, Brett Friedman wrote the lion’s share of stanzas, while Blog Tarkin’s Poetry Consultant Alex Olesker bent those lines towards meter. The lovely painting comes from our newest editor Caitlin Fitz Gerald, and features Hare Clausewitz, the star of Clausewitz for Kids. Additional guest verses were supplied by Hayes Brown, Jimmy Sky, and Dan Drezner.

  1. Richard Kaplan says:

    Very clever and was certainly worth a retweet.

  2. […] Blog Tarkin doing the Santa Clausewitz thing. […]

  3. helkamet says:

    now that’s how to have a war on christmas!

  4. Reblogged this on Like a Shepherd and commented:
    Yes, I am one of those people who focuses on Christ as the true reason for the season, but I am not a complete Scrooge about Santa Claus and all that. In fact, this year I enjoyed reading this poem to my family and receiving blank stares in return.

  5. International Relations, Principal Theory « elcidharth says:

    […] long and hard about Santa Claus as an actor in world politics.  Sure, one could just compose awesome poems in the holiday spirit — or one could think seriously about the implications of the jolly fat […]

  6. The Critical Theory of International Relations and I | elcidharth says:

    […] long and hard about Santa Claus as an actor in world politics.  Sure, one could just compose awesome poems in the holiday spirit — or one could think seriously about the implications of the jolly fat man […]

  7. […] And to cap it off, my friend Maj. Bill Nance (now Dr. Bill–congrats!!) drew my attention to this utterly awesome Christmas poem redux: Santa Clausewitz. […]

  8. […] Courtesy of Grand Blog Tarkin. […]

  9. […] The Night Before Christmas, as seen by national security wonks. Top image from here. […]

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