By Thomas Kane
Sun Tzu and different classical chinese language strategic thinkers wrote in an period of social, fiscal and armed forces revolution, and was hoping to spot enduring ideas 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 atmosphere. putting those theories in historic context, Dr Kane explores old chinese language reactions to such matters as advances in army know-how and insurgency and terrorism, supplying attention-grabbing comparisons among sleek and historic.
The ebook explains the way in which sought after chinese language thinkers - similar to sunlight Tzu, Han Fei Tzu and Lao Tzu - taken care of serious strategic questions. It additionally compares their principles to these of thinkers from different occasions and civilizations (e.g. Clausewitz) to light up relatively small print. In concluding, the publication addresses the query of ways old chinese language principles may well tell modern strategic debates.
Ancient China on Postmodern War can be of a lot curiosity to scholars of strategic stories, chinese language philosophy and army history.
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Extra resources for Ancient China and Post Modern War (Cass Military Studies)
De Bary et al. 1960: 6) The Chou’s claim to moral superiority implied a claim of fidelity to the ancient way of life. ‘Chou is an old people’, began a song from the dynasty’s rituals, and legend held that the ruling family was descended from the god of agriculture, King Millet (de Bary et al. 1960: 6; Needham and Bray 1984: vi). When the much-admired Duke of Chou designed a legal and administrative code for the empire, he instituted a system of social ranks designed to preserve the sharp class divisions that had played such an important role in Shang society (Wilhelm 1929: 117).
Sun Tzu, to adopt Watts’s terminology, devotes much of his book to the problems of condensing schemata and using those schemata to achieve non-linear results. Handel shows little patience for Sun Tzu’s musings on these subjects. ‘In principle, many nations are aware that “to know the enemy and to know oneself” or to use the enemy’s own weight against him, makes eminent sense, but putting this into practice is a more challenging proposition’ (Handel 1996: 211). If one adopts Handel’s method of taking strategic writings strictly at face value, Sun Tzu’s most memorable sayings become platitudes.
Armies used co-ordinated tactics on the battlefield (Sawyer 1993: 4). This implies that troops practised their skills in peacetime. Traditional Chinese histories claim that Shang-era warriors fought from chariots, although twentieth-century archaeology suggests that the Chinese did not possess these vehicles until the middle of the dynastic period, and did not adapt them to warfare until nearly the end (Sawyer 1993: 4). Despite the sophistication of armed forces in this period, the Shang Dynasty’s social structure limited the scope of warfare.