What is Russia’s political object in its war against Ukraine? What is Ukraine’s? And if these are fundamentally irreconcilable, what developments might still bring the war to an end?

These questions are framed in terms of the ideas presented by Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz two hundred years ago. Those ideas—and others from Clausewitz’s On War—offer a powerful lens through which to examine the war in Ukraine. This episode of the MWI Podcast makes use of that lens. In it, John Amble is joined by Dr. Donald Stoker. A historian and professor at the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School, he is also the author of Clausewitz: His Life and Work.

Stoker describes the political outcome each side in the war seeks and explores the question of how far each can—and should—go militarily to achieve that outcome. He also discusses the specific reasons a path toward peace remains elusive and the challenges to establishing one that is sustainable. Throughout the conversation, he applies Clausewitz’s ideas to the conflict—from identifying Russia’s center of gravity to considering Ukraine’s theory of victory—to offer listeners a unique perspective on the war.

The MWI Podcast is produced through an endowment generously funded by the West Point Class of 1974. You can listen to this episode of the podcast below, and if you aren’t already subscribed, be sure to find it on Apple PodcastsStitcher, or your favorite podcast app so you don’t miss an episode. While you’re there, please take just a moment to leave the podcast a rating or give it a review!

Note: The discussion in this episode builds on ideas Stoker discussed, along with Dr. Michael W. Campbell, in a recent article in Military Strategy Magazine, entitled “Clausewitz, Theory, and Ending the Ukraine War,” which you can read here.