Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All

The Proprietor of This Blog takes the opportunity of wishing everyone a Merry Christmas or, in the alternative, Happy Holidays and Best Wishes in the Year.

(Mostly you can find me over at Opinio Juris, but I occasionally put up stuff here that is unrelated to OJ or written stuff that is too long for an OJ post.)

We have finished opening gifts here at our house - JM and I drove to Chapel Hill, NC on Tuesday and picked up JM’s parents from their retirement community to spend xmas with us here in DC. It was a long drive, especially there and back again in one day, but it was nice to have some time with JM in the car, no other distractions. The plan was to reduce the Christmas materialism and gifts and all that in keeping with a recession year, and although I think we did that in dollar terms pretty well (and also that things were very Practical and Utilitarian rather than Frivolous and Fripper), it still looked like an awful lot of Materialism, spread out as packages on the floor.

Did the Kid learn any lessons in frugality this year? She heard her mother and me express so many concerns about the importance of being frugal this year that, she said, she came to regret every time the mail person brought another Amazon package - it made her feel guilty. This does not strike me as a good thing - ideally one learns to take a certain pride in being frugal, rather than guilty for not.

But I managed to go the entire season with one brief and mostly unnecessary trip to the mall, because I bought everything on Amazon or ... Ebay. I learned to use Ebay, and did extremely well with it this season. It seems that there is a vast amount of overstock out there - presumably supply will drop this upcoming year to meet reduced demand, but at the moment, at least in things like apparel, the left over supply from the last year or two amounted to excellent bargains.

I also proposed to the Kid that money that would have been spent on apparel for her could be exchanged for money in her brand-new, baby sitting funded brokerage account on etrade. In effect, I said, would you rather own the Abercrombie skirt or the equivalent Abercrombie shares, with a little multiplier supplied by Daddy as extra incentive? (Tradeoffs, tradeoffs, as Greg Mankiw points out here.) Wife and Kid both said that this was the wrong time and place for Such Tradeoffs, even with a Subsidy from Santa, and that these should be separate discussions and arrangements. One should not barter with Santa Claus.

The Kid, to her credit, has set up her checking account with an automatic monthly payment to several charities of her choice - not a lot, but it adds up over time, both for her and for the charities, and the transaction costs are very low - in this case USO and a charity that does cleft palate surgeries in poor countries. She recited last night after Mass the King James Version of the Nativity, not the literarily horrible one in the modern Bibles, “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night...” She learned it when she was three or four years old, back in the days when she was made to memorize verses from the Bible. (Actually, she still remembered a bunch of them, including “How beautiful upon the mountains,” from Isaiah.)

Possibly we’ll keep her.

For my part, I forewent the new Apple laptop I really wanted. Hooray for me. But Santa brought me something that was expensive, hard to find, out of production, and very valuable to me personally - a DVD of the film version of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the version that appeared in 1984. And a whole bunch of books. And reading glasses ... I have concluded that the Time Has Come for reading glasses, the 1.25 version. I’ve never worn glasses of any kind before, so this is a kind of big deal.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Law professor dress

(I’m cross posting this from its original home at Opinio Juris. I apologize to my colleagues there for taking up blog space with trivial stuff ...!)

Classes have ended, exams just begun, and I’m feeling into the pedagogy of international law teaching and intellectually shallow, all at the same time … so, further to Professor Erik Jensen’s widely read (1748 SSRN downloads, which sure beats me), if not followed (abstract, in full:  ”Law professors dress scruffily, and we need to do something about that”), admonition to better classroom dress by law professors, and further to my dean’s remarkably non-judgmental observation, some ten years ago (I’m slow to respond, as some editors have noticed over the years), that I had “single-handedly lowered dress standards” at our school, I embarked this term on wearing not just jacket and tie, but suit and tie, to each and every class.  As an experiment, to see if a 52 year old bald and paunchy law professor would get Great(er) Respect by looking professional for class.  Large classes - IBT with almost 90 students and Corporate Finance with 75.

Well, not every single class; my car didn’t start one day and I showed up in jeans and a t-shirt.  But every other day.  I asked the students straight out, allowing them to post anonymously to Blackboard, whether my formal dressing had any impact, positive or negative, on how they viewed me, the class, the Respect and General High Esteem  - Reverence, even - with which they held me and Every Word I uttered, etc., etc.  

One young woman told me it impressed her because it was more than how law professors normally dressed (maybe jacket and maybe tie for men, maybe not, approximate equivalent for women although, she added, the women professors dressed far better than the men, pretty much always).  She was impressed with me because I scored better on a relative scale - she candidly said that if most or all male law professors wore a suit, she wouldn’t care, because it would turn into a genuine professional uniform.  

Special case, though:  she had also worked in fashion in NYC before law school and had a series of, I’m sure, helpfully intended remarks on how my suits were all decades out of date.  Her best advice, though, was to go to Ebay and get super-expensive second hand suits from unemployed bankers and lawyers - which, having just surfed around Ebay, is great advice.  (But then she added, “and some of them might have been your former students.”  Hmm.  How should I feel about that?  Vulturous?  Reverse-oedipal?  What’s the right word?  I’m sure Freud has a term, but we’re all Evolutionary Psychologists now, and what is the EP characterization of this?)

Other than that one student (who will go far in her career, I predict), however, all other students overwhelmingly indicated it made no difference to them how I dressed.  Period.  But should I believe them?  Does it matter - but they don’t realize it unless I show up looking scruffy and slobbish every day?  Are they victims of self-deception and shining examples of Behavioral Economics?  

There.  I have just successfully channeled Ann Althouse: this is a perfect Althouse culture post!  Which is to say, it doesn’t really belong here on OJ, but I am genuinely curious how law teachers approach the dress issue.

IBT Fall 2008 Final Exam

In case anyone is interested, here is the text of my Fall 2008 final exam in International Business Transactions. I don’t think this was my greatest exam drafting exercise - I’ve done better in past years. This one is a little bit too much - well, a lot too much - stuffing issues in willy-nilly, without having pulled it together as a clever thing based around a discrete set of parties. This is done as a take home in which students have the full two weeks of exam period to do it, but a page limit of ten double spaced pages.

My IBT class is purely transactional - it moves briefly through a series of transactions ranging from cross border sale of goods to cross border services to cross border payment mechanisms such as LC to debt financing of these transactions to project finance to ... finally, joint venture and then exit strategy. All private transactions - no public capital markets, also nothing related to international trade as such, which is unusual for IBT courses even now. We use Vagts’s book, supplemented greatly by a series of photocopied contracts from my own work in international business transactions over the years. The final is usually based around something related to my pro bono practice that year with a nonprofit private equity fund that invests in independent media worldwide; this year I instead went back to a problem in housing finance involving a South African housing agency, a problem dating back to work I was involved in during the 1990s for a while.


Facts - Fall 2008 Anderson IBT Final Take-home Exam

(These facts are all made up. Not true! Libelous, probably!)

You are both general counsel and financial advisor to GoodWell, a financial consulting firm based in Washington DC that offers advice and financial planning, as well as a lot of deal consulting and brokering, for wealthy individuals, philanthropies, corporations and especially corporate charitable foundations, private equity firms and hedge funds that are looking to do transactions in the developing world. Typically these transactions involve a combination of for-profit motives on the part of some parties and non-profit charitable motives on the part of other parties – and sometimes both kinds of motives in the same party. Your business model as a consultancy is based around the concept of “Doing Good and Doing Well.” Although you privately have some questions about whether it is possible to combine those in the same deal, especially after looking at what happened to Fannie Mae, your business consists of brokering transactions and advising on them in both a business and legal capacity. GoodWell is a small firm and everyone on the staff has to play combined roles – hence your role involves both the general counsel as well as financial advising/financial structuring functions.

During the previous 18 months before the global market crash got seriously underway, GoodWell had been working closely with multiple parties, in the United States, in Western Europe, and in South Africa to close a deal in South Africa addressing housing in the Soweto townships. The parties involved in negotiations include developed world charitable foundations, for profit corporations, banks, and, in South Africa, the SA government, as well as government chartered but technically private housing agency called Nurcha that will act as the primary agency for doing the whole transaction. The aim of these negotiations is to produce some set of transactions that would fund the building of basic housing in the townships – on a very basic level: a concrete foundation on which the owners would gradually build their own dwelling as they could afford it, but most importantly water, sewage, and electrical connections.

The ultimate aim of these transactions is to produce, when all is said and done, this basic housing structure for local Soweto residents that they own and pay for over a twenty year period through a basic mortgage. The goal is 200,000 housing units and the associated utility services over a five year period. Working backwards from that goal, however, there are many intermediate goals that must be met. The main recipient of funds – donated funds as well as the primary borrower on loans – will be Nurcha, acting as a private entity organized as a not for profit corporation in SA.

The housing work must be performed by local contractors – Soweto has a well established local contractor, SA Builders, that can both perform the work and also subcontract and supervise three other smaller contractors. They are excited, of course, about the possibility of at least five years worth of work, but they also have concerns about whether the promised financing will really be there over the five year period to pay them – they have had experience with foreign development groups before that promised programs of a certain number of years that bailed out midway through. Nurcha and the SA government agencies, for their part, have certain concerns about quality of materials such as cement and piping and the quality of the construction services to be provided – they have had experience with local contractors not performing in the townships to the same standard expected in more developed parts of SA.

The biggest construction issue, however, is the sewage utility – electricity and potable water are not really a problem, just a matter of building several lines to hook to the main grid. But sewage will require a very considerable infrastructure project to create – all the way from building the treatment plants and water recycling plants to main sewage lines to residential connections in a crowded urban environment. The public health benefits are enormous – but realistically it will take five years to do this whole project, at a projected cost, just for the sewage project, of US $500 million. The SA government and the housing agency Nurcha anticipate that the project will eventually pay for itself out of sewage user fees charged as a portion of the long term mortgage costs, and in fact the historical repayment rate of mortgages in Soweto has been quite good – but no one is quite sure whether the repayments on the mortgages will take place as planned and whether, therefore, the revenues to pay for the sewage project will eventually be paid. This has left questions in the minds of banks and investment funds inside and outside SA which are being asked to finance the project as to the longterm stability of the financing for the sewage infrastructure.

The total costs of the whole program, including all housing costs, utility costs, the sewage project, administrative costs, and so on, is anticipated to be US $2 billion over a 8 year period. Not all the money is needed at once, of course – draw-downs are believed to be required on average of 250 million each year, although of course the particular needs and spending issues will vary greatly from year to year.

Although ultimately all of this is to be paid for out of the mortgage payments collected from the Soweto owners over a long period of time, the multiple construction projects will have to be financed somehow by parties inside or outside SA up-front. GoodWell has acted as advisor to Nurcha and, to some extent, broker in putting together possible international financing, both for profit firms and nonprofit charities, as funding sources for the multiple projects. The two main wealthy-world parties interested in seeing the Soweto project go forward are the Anderson Foundation, a charitable foundation based in New York, and the Swatch Watch Corporation, which has sizable manufacturing facilities in many places around the world but not SA, but which is considering investment in SA.

The Anderson Foundation is willing to donate US $50 million each year for eight years provided that one for one matching funds are provided other donors. The World Bank has agreed to provide US $50 million each year for eight years as a matching grant. The EU and US AID have agreed to provide an additional US $50 million annually. However, none of these parties is willing to act alone – no one wants to contribute money to a project that doesn’t get funded sufficiently to carry it to completion – and so there is a collective action problem in which these parties are willing to act provided that each knows that the others are on board, but not otherwise.

That leaves US $100 million unfunded annually, provided that the estimates of draw-downs are correct as an approximation.

The unfunded US $100 million annually – about $800 million total over the eight years – can possibly be covered by borrowing from banks. The difficulty is that the banks want collateral or guarantees – and they want them not just for the eight years of the construction project, but for the twenty years that the money will be in the process of being repaid on the mortgages. The government of SA has offered to provide twenty year guarantees for half of that amount, US $800 million, but the banks are nervous about such guarantees.

With the worldwide banking and credit crisis, however, the issue of worry about future performance is not simply banks that extend loans worrying about getting repaid by borrowers – the borrowers who have received commitments from the banks are also concerned that the banks will make the loans down the road that they have committed themselves to make. Nurcha, your client, is particularly concerned about what kinds of contractual language might be written into the documents to protect (weirdly enough) the borrower, given the credit crunch that might extend over years, precisely when the money is most needed to complete the project.

The Swatch Watch Corporation has offered assistance of a different kind. Concerned about the ability of home owners to be able to repay their loans, it has offered to set up a local manufacturing plant near Soweto that would employ several hundred local employees and so contribute to the local economy; the hope is that if this plant is successful, it will draw other multinational manufacturers to set up in an industrial park for light manufacturing and electronics and textile assembly in Soweto. The SA government is willing to offer tax holidays for a ten year period to companies willing to come. But Swatch must make it work successfully, and it is concerned about the quality of products assembled in the proposed factory.

You are general counsel and financial advisor to GoodWell. Nurcha, in SA, has retained you to assist in putting together an overall strategy and set of transactions for the deal as a whole. You must write a memo to the CEO of Nurcha (the government-sponsored but private housing firm in SA) setting out your proposed transaction, the legal documentation for it, and particular financial or legal issues that are of particular importance and your solution to those problems. Please write that memo.


Good luck and happy holidays!

Monday, December 08, 2008

City and Urban; Siege and Urban War; Financial Modeling versus Scientific Modeling

My second post for the Complex Terrain Lab symposium on Antoine Bousquet, The Scientific Way of War.

I want to offer four very different thoughts - they are not so much things from the book itself as tangents that the book caused me to think about, and I share them on that basis. Dr. Bousquet should not feel obliged to figure out some way to respond to them; they really are more tangents.

1. City and urban (1). The renderings of the city and urban landscapes of conflict and war offer a certain geography of spaces, walls, barriers, confusion, hiding, chaos, complexity, disorganization, friction - but a tangible and less tangible sense of space. Law and ethics, the rules of war that I study, seek to create a certain order out of the chaos, and impose senses of limits and to invent walls, barriers, and define spaces within the chaos through normativity. These are targets; these are not targets. But the creation of this normed space requires a shared norm, and the nature of the urban warscapes that Dr. Bousquet describes is not one of shared norms. There is no sense of reciprocity in the norms, and given that the organized side, the sovereign side, has decided affirmatively not to use reprisal to enforce reciprocity, that concept is fundamentally gone. It seems to me to account for a great deal of the chaos on today’s urban battlefield. What, for example, the human rights monitors propose instead as the basis for normativity is the post hoc international tribunal - but it assumes the hegemony of the norm giver, and that is far from given.

2. City and urban (2). City and urban warfare was traditionally about siege. It was traditionally about bringing down the walls of Jericho. The chaos in that operation came at the very end, in the final sack of the city. It was not traditionally about the fighting in the city as the fighting space, except at the end; otherwise it was, if anything, a less chaotic and more tightly organized battlespace on both sides. The final sack was authorized, according to the traditional rules, more or less as a reprisal against the city for its failure to surrender and, in any case, the whole of siege warfare, and the special rules applicable to siege, represented a complete reversal of the traditional notions of combatants and noncombatants. But it is also one of the oldest forms of warfare, from the moment when war took on the characteristic of the raiders against the citadel, and urban living as a form of protection. Siege of course was one of the great historical drivers of technology in war; and in that sense, the city arose as a form of defensive technology in war that happens to function in times of peace.

3. Financial modeling. Several of the commentators have inquired why the reach to the physical sciences and physics in particular as the historical model, rather than, say, biology. My day job, as it happens, is finance professor, and at risk of partisanship to my areas, I wondered whether the complexity theory, chaos theory, and network theories might not be modeled as well on the process of financial modelng - complex risk systems and network and gaming theories. But what I am actually suggesting here is not the theories themselves - but the fact that historically they have failed over and over again, being intimately intertwined with all the major market crises of the last few decades since computerization - the 1987 program trading crash (computer driven selling created a positve feedback cycle downwards since each company’s program worked on the assumption that it was alone); the 1998 Long Term Capital Management crisis (even though anyone who dealt with Russia would have said that political risk was paramount, it was treated as outside the model for financial purposes); and today’s crisis involving quant strategies (that assume that the model’s financial equivalents are in fact legal and contractual equivalents, whereas in crisis mode a whole series of non-normal contract provisions kick in but are not accounted for in the model, eg, mark to market accounting in a thin or nonexistent market). The failures in financial modeling might point to ways of understanding chaos in war and vice versa.

4. Ghost in the machine. Two books come to mind reading Dr. Bousquet’s book, Junger’s chilling On Pain, out with a new translation and penetrating introduction from my long-time friends at Telos. And Daniel Pick, The Rationalisation of Slaughter. Each of these goes deep into the disciplinary aesthetic of modern war, I think.

Strategy and Tactics; Soldiers and Warriors; Warriors and Tenders of Machines; Capital and Labor Intensive Warfare

From my second post at Complex Terrain Lab, commenting (loosely) on Antoine Bousquet’s, The Scientific Way of War:

The comments have raised the question as to the actual disposition of military thinking, actual thinking among the officer corps today: to what extent does it in fact exhibit the scientific world view as developed in Dr. Bousquet's book? I have two responses, at least with respect to US military officers and their thinking, among whom I spend a fair amount of time. Take it for what it's worth; this is all just my anecdotal sense of US military officers and their thinking.

First, my sense of the US officer corps is that it has a deliberately inculcated duality that mirrors some of the dualities in this discussion. It is, on the one hand, a cultivated self-image as "warriors." It has been an evolution beyond self-identification as "soldiers," and on the handful of occasions where I have asked what the difference is supposed to be, what I've been told is that - to the extent it signals a difference - soldier identifies an important set of virtues and duties, based around honor and obedience and discipline within an ordered structure. The concept of warrior is intended to include those, but to go beyond them to suggest a broader sense of "self-starting," entrepreneurial - very much the sense that is associated with the "captains' war" in Iraq - a great deal of responsibility and initiative devolved upon the junior officers and below. There was a sense that the sole virtue of being a soldier was simply standing around waiting for orders, rather than figuring out what needed to be done and doing it.

I don't know how extensive that understanding is but that's how I've had it explained to me. Obviously there is a certain amount of tension between that entrepreneurial understanding of being a warrior and conforming to the discipline that comes from the top down - and, interestingly, and possibly simply because I'm a lawyer, I've had it suggested to me that the thing resolving the tension between those is an overall obligation of everyone top down, bottom up, to conform to a set of legal rules and obligations that override everything else. The idea being that the tension is resolved in a sort of universal law that, regardless of one's place in the hierarchy, oone must conform to and obey. That special notion of law – not simply a command backed by a threat, but something legitimately accepted by all the 'warriors' - in turn ties warriors to law, and law to honor, and honor to a professional and personal identity. This was one lunchtime conversation; how widely shared any of that is, I don't know. Although clearly someone has thought hard about why to use so extensively the language of warrior rather than merely soldier.

On the other hand, the warrior-soldiers also have enormous faith in the power of technology. They believe deeply in capital intensive war, even while thinking of themselves as warriors. It feels in spirit less like the idea of the soldier as technician tending to the infernal machines in a kind of neutral way, and much, much more like the sense of gamers whose gaming technologies have been made real – they can act as individuals with great powers in their hands. So when I say faith in technology, I mean technology as a way of magnifying personal projection of power as much as anything else. Obviously that is not especially so when one considers air power, sea power, all of these standoff technologies in which one really is a technician tending the machines. But even the development of robotics that Charli Carpenter and I have discussed some at CTLab - even the Predator - involves a sense of individual projection of power, a hand at the controls even if one is not present. Or the battlefield robotic vehicle guided by the hand with the joystick, who is a soldier directly in the field, on that same battlefield. It is a sense much closer to that of the gamer for whom technology is very personal rather than the impersonal machines of high modernism. Much of it, in other words, is technology in the service of the warrior, not technology that merely converts soldier to minder of machines.

In conversations I've had with, as it happens, wounded soldiers, their descriptions of what combat should be like is that it should be upclose, because that is how, at least in today's environment, you make it discriminating. There is no desire for or sympathy with the soldiers of the Great War or the Second World War, cannon fodder in the true sense. Their self-sense is that of commandos, never a mass as such. And fighting in the urban setting, as one recuperating (he was going to be fine) junior officer told me, requires that one fight house to house because otherwise you could never root out the enemy while sparing the innocent. He thought of it as a bit like police work, which I thought was a big stretch, but I did understand his sense that it had to be close in to make it discriminating. At some point, technology will reverse that, I imagine - robotics might well alter the way in which urban fighting is made discriminating, by detection technologies that allow much more standoff fighting with greater precision.

Second, however, in speaking with US officers at a more senior level, as well as civilian and military planners, I would say that the movement intellectually is not especially toward the "scientific" world view - that feels actually a little passe. Of course it is scientific, in the sense of applied science to bring on better technology. What is newer and more cutting edge is the growth of world view of cost-benefit analysis. This might seem odd to say - after all, when has war fighting not been about cost benefit analysis at some level? But I mean by this the application - and more profoundly the intellectual mind set - of opportunity cost, discounted probability theory, the whole array of tools taken from contemporary risk analysis in finance and the social sciences. The approach reminds me more than anything of Cass Sunstein, in something like Worst Case Scenarios, applied to military thinking. The language of present value, discounting and a whole range of metaphors drawn from modern financial theory.

In one sense, it has always been there. How could military thinking not be about cost benefit analysis - when it has always been built around military necessity? But there are differences and, peculiarly, one of the differences seems to me something that drops out - something that has always been better articulated in military ways of thought than anywhere else, but which tends to drop out in the new social-sciencey thinking. That is - don't look so surprised, please! – the distinction between strategy and tactics. But you can see the problem. If you are adopting wholesale the language, analytics, metaphors of game theory, especially - well, game theory doesn't really have a distinction as such between strategy and tactics. It is not a feature of games as such; it is a way of playing certain games. Philip Bobbitt discusses this somewhat in his Terror and Consent; I discuss it in passing in a TLS review of that book. The difficulty of letting go of the strategy-tactics distinction is that you are reduced to discounted probability analysis and opportunity cost analysis of what quickly - not necessarily inevitably, but certainly a tendency - reduces to dealing with risks on a seriatim basis, "event-specific catastrophism," I think I called it in my Bobbitt review. That's essentially what happens in Worst Case Scenarios, and it forms the basis for much of the "sophisticated" critique of the war on terror; proper discounting of risk, it says, will tell you that we are overinvested in trying to prevent terrorism.

But if you try that as a general case, you won't have much of a basis for strategy in that or any other instance, because strategy seeks to move above the "seriatim risk" analysis. Especially there will be no room to consider gambits. Gambits, after all, by definition go outside the serial risk scenarios; that is the point. In that sense - not intended this way, but it arguably has emerged this way – the Iraq war turned out post hoc to be a strategic gambit that invited a loose affiliation of Islamist jihadists to make their stand in Iraq. They took the (unintended) gambit, thinking they would win, which they might have, but it does not seem to be playing out that way. Whether you think that analysis correct or not is not actually my point. It is, rather, that it is a whole way of thinking that doesn't have purchase within the new social science of risk and game theory, any more than particular strategies in chess are foundational to general game theory. And yet the actual fighting of wars is far more like playing a game of chess (or any other particular game) than it is thinking through the abstract categories common to all games. And the general theory of risk analysis, precisely because it applies to, well, everything - discount the probabilities and compare courses of action – is of far more limited assistance in actually playing an actual game of war than it might appear.

So I find it puzzling, and a little alarming, that there seems to be a fashion these days within the US military, at least among some of the intellectuals and planners who keep a finger on the pulse of larger intellectual movements, to adopt forms of thinking that seem to me to give up, without good reason, some of the most original contributions of military thinking to general intellectual thought.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Comments on Bosquet and Clausewitz at Complex Terrain Lab

I’m guest blogging at Complex Terrain Lab over the weekend in a symposium on Antoine Bosquet’s The Scientific Way of War. I just put up something about Clausewitz and friction, and noting the relationship to LIncoln and the Second Inaugural Address. It’s a terrifically fun symposium, check it out. Here’s what I posted:

My congratulations to Dr. Bousquet for a highly insightful and readable book that engaged me with a historically shifting body of metaphors for war and conflict. I want to focus briefly on one subchapter, the end of chapter three, devoted to Clausewitz and the metaphors of thermodynamics. I was much taken, and am generally strongly in agreement with, both your intellectual history of Clausewitz's thought and its rootedness in a certain scientific world view as well as your reading of the famous "friction" metaphor. I wonder if the the friction metaphor might not be broken out still further, in four ways.

First, the famous Clausewitzian undermining of the army-as-clockwork mechanism, undermined by the friction of the clash of two armies. Second, the concept of friction as expressed in the technologies of thermodynamic weapons and war - explosions and counter-explosions. Third, Clausewitz's also famous dictum of friction as created by the accumulation of errors in the system of war, located in failures of communication, delivery, and execution that accumulate, again to undermine the army-as-clock from within.

Fourth, what I suppose we might call the friction created by the 'ghost in the machine of war': friction that arises not from a clash of two armies, nor from errors internally accumulating, nor from explosions meeting explosions, but instead from the clash of two fundamentally different conceptions of conflict, the inherent clash between, on the one hand, the mechanism that enables a vast array of people and things to act with a single will, deterministic and mechanistic and, on the other, the animal passions that are both unleashed but relied upon particularly in battle. It is not precisely that the mechanism tames the beast; it is, rather, a dialectic in which the machine needs the animal spirits and the animal spirits need the discipline of the machine.

Anyway, for what it's worth, it seems to me that those are all separable as readings of 'friction' in Clausewitz and beyond, and that some parts of those distinctions are picked up later in your discussion.

But I was also struck by your reading of Clausewitz in this way - correctly focused on friction as the central concept rather than the 'other means' trope - in part because of work currently on my own desk on a reading of the moral psychology of Lincoln's Second Inaugural. One or two phrases in that address express a profoundly Clausewitzian sentiment: "Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph , and a result less fundamental and astounding."

This passage is sometimes read as a sort of Clausewitzian sentiment about war as politics by other means. I have not thought that the best reading, and your chapter in this regard gives me stronger reasons for thinking so: it seems more emphatically, on the contrary, an expression that war, as its own social life, and driven by its own frictional forces, frictional forces that are internal to war itself, can independently lead politics rather than necessarily the other way around.