Pericles of Athens and Archidamus of Sparta devised net assessments that both believed would provide strategies that would bring victory and peace for their respective states.This essay will show that Archidamus did a better job of net assessment prior to the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War.
A clear definition and understanding of net assessment is necessary.Prof Thomas Mahnken of the Naval War College, provided the following definition:”Net assessment is a process that helps you understand the nature of the war upon which you are embarking, identify your comparative advantage, and devise a strategy to capitalize upon your strength and exploit your enemy’s weakness” (Mahnken, Student Handout, p. 1).This definition can be broken down into three elements, 1) understanding the nature of the war, 2) identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the enemy to identify a comparative advantage, and 3) devise a strategy to achieve victory.
I will touch on these elements, other key principles, and the history of the war itself as the foundation to support my argument. Before examining the main issue, it is important to note the goals in which the two leaders in question are attempting to achieve with their respective speeches and the impact these goals may have had on their assessments.Archidamus goal was to convince the Spartans that the time was not right for war, and if the Spartans were to go to war unprepared, they would certainly meet with disaster.The assessment in his speech focused primarily on the opponent’s strengths and excludes any potential weaknesses of the enemy.
Archidamus was fighting an up hill battle in an attempt to buy time, which would favor, in his assessment, a better long-term strategy for victory.Pericles, in quite the contrast, was advocating that the Athenians go to war, for it was impossible for them to be defeated.Therefore, Pericles highlighted all the strengths of the Athenian empire that…