In The Atlantic, Molly Ball observes that “Today, a new movement—loosely dubbed “the resistance”—has suddenly arisen in visceral reaction to Donald Trump’s election as president, with thousands taking to the streets. For those who remember the Tea Party, it feels like deja vu. The parallels are striking: a massive grassroots movement, many of its members new to activism, that feeds primarily off fear and reaction. Misunderstood by the media and both parties, it wreaks havoc on its ostensible allies, even as it reenergizes their moribund political prospects; they can ride the wave, but they cannot control it, and they are often at the mercy of its most unreasonable fringe.”
For matters far removed from warfare, including ones concerning severe political conflict, Grant’s Overland Campaign offers useful lessons. It’s typically a poor idea to describe political affairs in military terms, but grave threats to the political order sadly call for a different approach.
One fights in more than one way: sometimes using maneuver, at other times attrition.
One may maneuver many times, again and again, each at a time of one’s choosing, until at last an adversary is in a gravely disadvantageous position, after which attrition will prove effective.
A campaign should fit an overall strategy, often where one coordinates with those farther away to inflict losses from many directions.
One engagement will lead to other engagements, and even a campaign will lead to other campaigns. One must be patient.
One will experience losses, often severe, along the way. There are no easy victories over great matters. Push on.
An adversary is finished only when he will, or can, go on no longer. Particular successes along the way are insufficient; one drives until an adversary’s final, irrecuperable ruin.