Sunday, December 31, 2006

[china] the scope of the threat [part 2]

Part 1 ended with the words of General Gao Rui, former Vice President of the Academy of Military Science (AMS), writing that the Warring States era is "extremely distant from modern times, but still shines with the glory of truth" and "the splendid military legacy created through the bloody struggles of our ancient ancestors and today has a radiance even more resplendent."

Such talk would be quite worrying to western ears because we’ve heard similar rhetoric before, usually prior to world expansion of some kind.

That the Chinese take such things seriously is reflected in the comments of the director of research at the General Staff Department of the People's Liberation Army, which published six volumes of studies on ancient statecraft in 1996 that contained specific advice on how to comprehend the current and future security environment.

An essential aspect in this assessment is to determine the rank order of the power held by the various warring states. Although today's Chinese concept of Comprehensive National Power (CNP) was invented in the early 1980s, it originally stemmed from traditional military philosophy.

According to ancient strategists such as Wu Chunqiu, calculating CNP can aid a nation not just for war but also to "coordinate a political and diplomatic offensive, to psychologically disintegrate enemy forces and subdue them." Assessing one's own CNP can also aid a country in promoting development and growth.

Sun Zi long ago warned that victory depended on calculations and estimates of enemy strength and weaknesses made in advance. Two of ancient China's greatest advisers on statecraft, Lord Shang and Li Si, also warned of the need to calculate the future. States which rise too fast suffer attack, dismemberment, and even complete extinction.

As every literate Chinese knows, a brilliant strategist always forms a coalition that stands for several decades against the predatory hegemony of the time.

The solution, therefore, is in alliances.

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