Date of Graduation

Fall 2023


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Kerry Kartchner


The purpose of this research paper is to examine the thinking of four classic strategic theorists, namely Sun Tzu, Thucydides, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Carl von Clausewitz, and explore continuity and contrast in their strategic theories. In doing so, this author has structured the paper based on the fundamental architecture of strategy, that is, ends, ways and means. Since the paper specifically addresses military strategy, it first investigates what the ideas of the four theorists are on war as the military means. Then, the paper will explore the theorists’ thoughts on different strategic approaches as ways. Then, the essay will delve into the ideas of the thinkers on politics as the end. The paper argues that the thinking of the classic theorists of strategy is still relevant to the modern strategic challenges.


strategic theory, military strategy, Sun Tzu, Thucydides, Machiavelli, Clausewitz

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Morteza Safari

Open Access