By Thomas Kane
Sun Tzu and different classical chinese language strategic thinkers wrote in an period of social, monetary and army revolution, and was hoping to spot enduring rules of battle and statecraft. The twenty-first century is a time of equally innovative swap, and this makes their principles of specific relevance for today’s strategic setting. putting those theories in historic context, Dr Kane explores historical chinese language reactions to such matters as advances in army know-how and insurgency and terrorism, supplying attention-grabbing comparisons among smooth and old.
The ebook explains the way in which favorite chinese language thinkers - reminiscent of sunlight Tzu, Han Fei Tzu and Lao Tzu - taken care of serious strategic questions. It additionally compares their rules to these of thinkers from different instances and civilizations (e.g. Clausewitz) to light up really small print. In concluding, the ebook addresses the query of ways old chinese language principles could tell modern strategic debates.
Ancient China on Postmodern War can be of a lot curiosity to scholars of strategic reviews, chinese language philosophy and army history.
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Extra info for Ancient China and Post Modern War (Cass Military Studies)
Thinking and writing themselves are surely among the activities that depend on experience and correct judgement, rather than consciously applied systems. Furthermore, Sun Tzu may have deliberately followed something akin to Wittgenstein’s approach. Similar ideas about the nature of knowledge are fundamental to the ancient Chinese school of thought known as Taoism. ‘The Tao [way] that can be told is not the eternal Tao’, Taoist thinker Lao Tzu informs us (Lao 1972: 1). Thus, Lao Tzu discusses the art of ‘[t]eaching without words’ (Lao 1972: 43).
Confucius acknowledged the possibility that it did, writing that although ‘the great musical rites with which King Wu celebrated his victory’ were ‘perfectly beautiful’, they were not ‘perfectly good’ (Wilhelm 1929: 115). Another ancient text warned that those performances expressed ‘a wrongful sentiment – namely, hatred of the enemy’, and some traditions state that worthy nobles turned against the Chou empire out of revulsion against its founders’ crimes (Wilhelm 1929: 115). Meanwhile, China’s military methods, political relationships and economic practices were changing.
Although this era spans more than six centuries, strategic thinkers throughout the epoch grappled with the same problems, engaged each other’s ideas and participated in the actual political struggles that were going on around them. This is the period which contemporary strategists are likely to find most interesting, and the strategic thought of this period constitutes a coherent intellectual tradition. The following chapter will provide context for later discussions of Chinese strategic ideas by narrating the developments of this era.
Ancient China and Post Modern War (Cass Military Studies) by Thomas Kane