Pournelle and Stirling quote:
"Further, war, which is simply the subjection of all life and property to one momentary aim, is morally vastly superior to the mere violent egoism of the individual; it develops power in the service of a supreme general idea and under a discipline which nevertheless permits supreme heroic virtue to unfold. Indeed, war alone grants to mankind the magnificent spectacle of a general submission to a general aim.
"-Jakob Burkhardt, Reflections on History."
-Jerry Pournelle and SM Stirling, The Prince (New York, 2002), p. 986.
Burkhardt fails to mention either that war is violent or that other momentary aims, general ideas, disciplines and general aims are possible. He mentions violence only in relation to the individual whose capacity for violence is much lower than that of the state. I think that it is a mistake to see individuals primarily in terms of egoism. If that were so, then no society would ever have been formed. Some societies encourage egoism whereas others are more cooperative but, without some cooperation, there would be no society. "...war alone..."? No.
Falkenberg's Legion has a much less elevated view of war:
"Armed force was a blunt instrument in politics, liable to do more harm than good unless aimed with extreme precision. At best, it bought time and space for the political leaders to repair the political mistakes that had left no choice but violence in the first place." (pp. 981-982)
That is worth analyzing:
a blunt instrument;
liable to do more harm than good;
requiring extreme precision;
at best buying time;
resulting from mistakes.
But that makes it sound as if we can get rid of war! Indeed, it is now unthinkable that Germany and France would settle their differences by going to war because Europe has been organized on a different basis. Can this be extended to the planet?