Wars of Ideas and the War of Ideas

  • June 01, 2008
  • Dr Antulio J Echevarria II

The author discusses several types of wars of ideas in an effort to achieve a better understanding of what wars of ideas are. That knowledge, in turn, can help inform strategy. It is important to note, for instance, that because ideas are interpreted subjectively, it is not likely that opposing parties will “win” each other over by means of an ideational campaign alone. Hence, physical events, whether intended or incidental, typically play determining roles in the ways wars of ideas unfold, and how (or whether) they are end. Thus, while the act of communicating strategically remains a vital part of any war of ideas, we need to manage our expectations as far as what it can accomplish.