Ancient China and Post Modern War (Cass Military Studies) by Thomas Kane

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 ideas of battle and statecraft. The twenty-first century is a time of equally progressive swap, and this makes their rules of specific relevance for today’s strategic surroundings. putting those theories in old context, Dr Kane explores old chinese language reactions to such concerns as advances in army know-how and insurgency and terrorism, supplying fascinating comparisons among sleek and historic.

The e-book explains the way in which admired chinese language thinkers - resembling sunlight Tzu, Han Fei Tzu and Lao Tzu - handled serious strategic questions. It additionally compares their principles to these of thinkers from different occasions and civilizations (e.g. Clausewitz) to light up rather details. In concluding, the e-book addresses the query of the way historical chinese language principles may possibly tell modern strategic debates.

Ancient China on Postmodern War might be of a lot curiosity to scholars of strategic experiences, chinese language philosophy and armed forces history.

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The Chou officially acknowledged the feudal system, formally establishing a hierarchy of noble ranks and officially stipulating the rights and obligations owed between lord and vassal (Rodzinski 1979: 20). In the early years of the dynasty, the Chou emperors manipulated this system effectively enough to retain overall control. Sinologist Ralph Sawyer describes their methods: Finally, the Western [early] Chou consolidated their rule through several political and military measures, the most important of which was the enfeoffment of powerful clan members among both allied and dissident states.

In times of war, the emperor would call on the provincial rulers for further troops (Sawyer 1993: 7). Armies appear, however, to have continued recruiting exclusively from the aristocratic class, at least in the early centuries (Sawyer 1993: 7). The Chou methods of maintaining power entailed a perpetual jockeying for position, in which the emperor could not always expect to prevail. Moreover, by bringing former barbarian realms into the empire, the Chou 40 Historical background rulers had involved themselves in those realms’ relations with new tribes that lived beyond the new province’s borders.

Handel, for instance, insists that Chinese strategic theory and Western strategic theory are the same. ‘To say otherwise would be akin to asserting that Russia, China, Japan, and the United States each follow distinct theories of physics or chemistry’ (Handel 1996: xiii). H. Huang’s 1993 translation of Sun Tzu implicitly supports Handel’s point by translating the Chinese character shih as ‘combat power’ (Waldron 1994: 113). This allows Huang to make Sun Tzu seem less like an esoteric philosopher advocating psychological tricks and more like a hardheaded soldier man whose thoughts are compatible with Western works on war (Waldron 1994: 113).

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