Episode 11: General André Beaufre: The Two Axes of Deterrence

Brigadier General Dr Hervé Pierre joins Beatrice and Paul to discuss the 20th century French strategist General André Beaufre, who defined strategy as ‘the art of applying force so that it makes the most effective contribution towards achieving the ends set by political policy’.

General Beaufre (1902–1975) said strategy is the ‘art of the dialectic of two opposing wills using force to resolve their dispute’. But for him, battle was not the only possible means of achieving one’s objective; ‘other methods may be more effective’.

He underscored changing the enemy’s mind as a key aim of strategy, and pointed to the indirect approach taken by insurgents the world over in their pursuit of this aim.

Beaufre’s originality lay in his fusion of selected insights of several other strategists, ranging from Clausewitz and Foch to Basil Liddell Hart, his friend and mentor.

Our guest, Brigadier General Dr Hervé Pierre, completed his doctorate on André Beaufre at the Sorbonne, with parts of it undertaken while he was deployment in Niger and Mali under Operation Barkhane.

The views or statements expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the podcast does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. Views and opinions expressed by RUSI employees are those of the employees and do not necessarily reflect the view of RUSI.


Paul O’Neill

Director, Military Sciences

Military Sciences

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Beatrice Heuser

Senior Associate Fellow

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