In Thomas Angel and the Clach Na Cait, Felix says to Tom ‘No battle plans survive first contact with the enemy’ when Tom has an outburst at Felix’s lack of plan when facing Sophia in battle at Dunnottar Castle. And I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote, in the light of what is happening in the world right now.
It was said by Helmuth Von Moltke the Elder, Commander of the Prussian Army during the time of the Prussian Wars in Europe, in the nineteenth century. Known as a great strategist, it was his ability to see the overall landscape of war that gained him his reputation as a wise leader. So, what does the Head of the Prussian Army have to do with Thomas Angel and the Ukrainian War today?
Felix, Flynn and Nechtan are all warriors, they have been brought up with a military mind, fighting in the Catnip Wars in the Far East when they were younger and the Clan wars that have rumbled along throughout history in Scotland. They do not think of one outcome, there is no end goal, they constantly adapt to what’s happening in the moment, changing tactics and adapting to the situation. Very cat like you could say…
And Moltke’s words ring true. You cannot know what is going on in the mind of your enemy, the other in your life. You can only make the best plan for yourself in that moment of time. The past is gone, the future hasn’t happened yet, there is only this moment in which to act. You can plan all you want but your opponent isn’t going to do what you want them to, because that’s how you planned it. They have their own plans and unless you can see the whole of the situation and are sure of everyone’s actions then there is no way of knowing what is going to happen in the next moment.
So where does the Russian War against Ukraine come into this? Vladimir Putin may have had a plan, but the Ukrainian army and people haven’t complied with his plan, they’ve manoeuvred and transmuted and stood up and fought against the might of the Russian invaders, which one can imagine the Russians didn’t expect. And they continue to pivot, frustrating Putin and making him use even more ruthless tactics to gain hold. Moltke said ‘the purpose of war is to carry out the policy of the government with the arms’ and right now it feels like this nineteenth century soldier and leader has reached through history and is commenting on the world today.
Who knows what the outcome of this war will be, I can only hope and pray that resolution and the end of the war comes soon, and with no more suffering for those involved.
Felix often talks to Tom about the light, and how it can overcome the darkness, that there is only clarity and love in the light, but I’ll leave the final words to a leader from yet another time, Martin Luther King Jr;
‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Love and Light