Mutual Action and Reaction of Attack and Defence
Too Long; Didn't ReadWe shall now consider attack and defence separately, as far as they can be separated from each other. We commence with the defensive for the following reasons:—It is certainly very natural and necessary to base the rules for the defence upon those of the offensive, and vice versâ; but one of the two must still have a third point of departure, if the whole chain of ideas is to have a beginning, that is, to be possible. The first question concerns this point.
If we reflect upon the commencement of war philosophically, the conception of war properly does not originate with the offensive, as that form has for its absolute object, not so much fighting as the taking possession of something. The idea of war arises first by the defensive, for that form has the battle for its direct object, as warding off and fighting plainly are one and the same. The warding off is directed entirely against the attack; therefore supposes it, necessarily; but the attack is not directed against the warding off; it is directed upon something else—the taking possession; consequently does not presuppose the warding off. It lies, therefore, in the nature of things, that the party who first brings the element of war into action, the party from whose point of view two opposite parties are first conceived, also establishes the first laws of war, and that party is the defender. We are not speaking of any individual case; we are only dealing with a general, an abstract case, which theory imagines in order to determine the course it is to take.