The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Friday’s maxim

June 23, 2006

Today’s maxim seems particularly appropriate, given recent discussions about Iraq and the potential for military conflict with Iran and North Korea.

The worst enemy of someone who begins a war is his belief in easy victory. For no matter how simple and certain it appears, a war is subject to a thousand accidents. And the confusion these accidents create will be even greater if they happen to someone who has not prepared his mind and his forces for them–preparations he would have made if he had considered the war difficult from the start. (Series C, 180)

Carter and Perry, I think, should take note.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.