Others will argue that war and strategy are primarily matters that concern men, particularly those who are aggressive or among the power elite. The study of war and strategy, they will say, is a masculine, elitist, and repressive pursuit, a way for power to perpetuate itself. Such an argument is dangerous nonsense. In the beginning, strategy indeed belonged to a select few—a general, his staff, the king, a handful of courtiers. Soldiers were not taught strategy, for that would not have helped them on the battlefield. Besides, it was unwise to arm one’s soldiers with the kind of practical knowledge that could help them to organize a mutiny or rebellion. The era of colonialism took this principle further: the indigenous peoples of Europe’s colonies were conscripted into the Western armies and did much of the police work, but even those who rose to the upper echelons were rigorously kept ignorant of knowledge of strategy, which was considered far too dangerous for them to know. To maintain strategy and the arts of war as a branch of specialized knowledge is actually to play into the hands of the elites and repressive powers, who like to divide and conquer. If strategy is the art of getting results, of putting ideas into practice, then it should be spread far and wide, particularly among those who have been traditionally kept ignorant of it, including women. In the mythologies of almost all cultures, the great gods of war are women, including Athena of ancient Greece. A woman’s lack of interest in strategy and war is not biological but social and perhaps political.
Instead of resisting the pull of strategy and the virtues of rational warfare or imagining that it is beneath you, it is far better to confront its necessity. Mastering the art will only make your life more peaceful and productive in the long run, for you will know how to play the game and win without violence. Ignoring it will lead to a life of endless confusion and defeat.
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