LinkedIn tracking pixel

Political Warfare: Past, Present and Future

The objective of this course is to prepare the student to master the basic knowledge of political and psychological warfare as instruments of leadership and statecraft from antiquity to the present, and with an eye toward the future. Though full of tactical and operational examples, the emphasis is on the strategic use of political warfare.

Using classical writings and modern works, the course surveys political warfare of the ancient Hebrews, Greeks and Romans; ancient India and China; early and middle Christian civilizations including Rome and Byzantium, the Crusades, and the Medieval and Renaissance-era European states; the American Revolution (heavy emphasis); the French Revolution; the British empire; and 20th Century totalitarian movements and regimes. It also examines present-day political warfare of democracies and terrorists.

The course pays close attention to the use of words, rhetoric, language and images; art, architecture, culture, economics, intelligence and counterintelligence, nationalism, psychology, propaganda, and counterpropaganda.

Students will read from Aristotle, Sun Tzu’s Art of War, Kautilya’s Arthasastra, Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy and The Prince with a new translation on the meaning of words; Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Antonio Gramsci, Saul Alinsky and others.

Students should complete the course with a comfortable understanding of political and psychological warfare as fundamental elements of leadership and statecraft.