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W hat the "Art of War" does provide is a handbook on how war should be fought -- if war cannot be avoided. First , it emphasizes that: Second , Sun Tzu points to the importance of having a clear strategy for prevailing in war, which is made clear in his first chapter "Laying Plans. Third , Sun Tzu emphasizes the proper organization of your own forces, including how best to concentrate force [Chapter 5: Fourth , Sun Tzu emphasizes the importance of knowing your enemy.

As he says in Chapter 3: If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. Fifth , Sun Tzu also underlines the importance of only engaging the enemy at a time, in terms, and on a terrain which is advantageous to yourself. As he said in Chapter 7: Move only if there is a real advantage to be gained. Sixth , the "Art of War" warns against entering into alliances. As it says in Chapter 7: Seventh , in the effective implementation of military strategy, the majority of Sun Tzu's work emphasizes the importance of espionage, secrecy and deception.


Of course, there may have been a time in history when knowledge of these principles for defeating an enemy was uniquely in the possession of a small number of Chinese rulers. Now, of course, these principles are known almost universally, either through the translation and dissemination of the "Art of War" across China and across the world, or through the collective conclusions of other western military strategists, from Machiavelli to von Clausewitz.

My central point is that the universalization of technical and strategic military knowledge no longer presents any particular party to a military conflict with a particular advantage. Of course, one side may be better or worse in the execution of tactics and strategy over the other. But that is primarily a question of training, rather than the exclusive possession of secret stratagems.

Finally, it should also be emphasized that even within a narrow military context of the time, the "Art of War" dealt with land-based conflict, rather than maritime conflict. As military strategists are aware, these represent vastly different operating environments and military disciplines. This again is an important distinction from Sun Tzu's time to the vast array of international security challenges in East Asia today, which are in the main maritime in nature, or involve a combination of naval and air operations.

This represents a different strategic context to that of complex, continental, land-based warfare around fundamental questions of state survival. Therefore, given that Sun Tzu's "Art of War" was specially designed as a military handbook for the effective conduct of physical warfare, we are left with the fundamental question of what is the broader relevance of the "Art of War" to the challenges and opportunities we face in the regional and global order today? For me, the most sobering content in all of Sun Tzu's writings is contained near the end of his work. Hence the enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution.

This is the way to keep a country in peace and an army intact. These sentences from Sun Tzu require us all to pause for deep reflection. We should remember, for example, the impact of the First World War on the previously great powers of Europe. The bulk of Sun Tzu's work is how to prevail in a conflict against another state or states by either non-military or military means.

Taken in insolation, it can be interpreted as meaning that conflict and war represent the natural and inevitable condition of humankind. However, the "Art of War" also warns us explicitly, in the section I have just quoted, of the consequences of what happens if you are engaged in conflict or war and you lose.

Again this is why Sun Tzu warns us in Chapter 1: It is a matter of life and death, a road either to security or to ruin. Therefore, the practical question which Sun Tzu presents to us today is how do we preserve the peace so that the implementation of the "Art of War" is in fact rendered redundant? Or as the "Methods of the Sima" has reminded us, what are the values and virtues of civilian government that need to be deployed in addition to military preparedness? Here I refer to the essential elements of political leadership and effective diplomacy in constructing an alternative reality for the future, rather than implicitly assuming that conflict and war represent the inevitable and unavoidable condition of humankind.

T here is nothing determinist about history. Nations choose their futures. And they choose whether they have war or peace. Of course for some these may be easier choices than for others, depending on their geo-political, geo-economic, and geo-strategic circumstances. These choices are shaped too by complex national circumstances including domestic politics, economics, social conditions, cultural factors as well as our very different national historiographies. They are also shaped by our perceptions of each other, whether those perceptions happen to be accurate or inaccurate.

But ultimately, taking all these factors into account, our nations choose their futures. Therefore the core question for the 21st century, this century of the Asia-Pacific, is what future the United States and China choose for themselves, for the region and for the world. President Xi Jinping has proposed that the U. Equally importantly, at the Sunnylands Summit in June President Obama agreed with President Xi that the two sides should develop this concept further.

How to conceptualize such a relationship in language which is meaningful in both languages is a critical task in itself. How then to operationalize it in a way that results in new strategic behaviors towards each other is even more of a challenge. F orming a new conceptual framework for the relationship which is meaningful, rather than simply rhetorical, is important. It is important in both countries. America is a country much given to foreign policy doctrines, just as its foreign policy elites focus on how to explain "China policy" to its domestic constituencies and to its allies.

And China for itself, given the sheer size of its political apparatus, also requires any new policy direction to be synthesized and simplified into manageable formulations for its 86 million party members. Previous conceptualizations of the relationship, both American and Chinese, over the last 40 years have ranged across what I have previously called the "seven C's":. Contribution especially in the context of the U. These generally fall across a spectrum from positive to negative and have been used at different times to characterize different states of the relationship.

The important point is practically all these terms have been used by one side characterizing the behaviors of the other, rather than as part of a commonly shared narrative about the relationship's future. The evolution of American conceptualizations of the China relationship has been complex. Chinese conceptualizations of the U. But my core points remain -- very few of these conceptualizations of the bilateral relationship have been conjoint. The basic reality is that as China's economy grows and supplants the U.

In the absence of such a common narrative if in fact such narrative can be crafted , the truth is that the two nations are more likely to drift further apart, or at least drift more rapidly apart than might otherwise be the case. By contrast, a common strategic narrative between the two could act as an organizing principle that reduces strategic drift, and encourages other more cooperative behaviors over time.

So long, of course, as such a narrative embraces the complex reality of the relationship, and avoids motherhood statements which provide negligible operational guidance for those who have day-to-day responsibility, for the practical management of the relationship. Therefore I argue the relationship needs to consider a new strategic concept for the future that is capable of sufficiently embracing both American and Chinese realities, as well as areas of potential common endeavor for the future, and to do so in language which is comprehensible and meaningful in both capitals.

First , where the U.

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Second , what the United States and China may be able to actually "construct" together over time in their bilateral relationship, in the region as well in building new global public goods together over time;. Third , how it might be possible for the U. Fourth , how to deploy this gradual accumulation of trust over time to better manage, and perhaps reduce, some of the more intractable areas of strategic distrust that realists legitimately point to as ultimately constraining the full normalization of the relationship;. T he core concepts here are being "realistic" about strategic commonalities and differences; being "constructive" about areas of strategic cooperation; and being cautiously open to the possibility of using constructive engagement to build strategic trust that in turn may begin to "transform" the relationship over time.

The hardest thing to do is to recommend how problems might be solved. The three key terms are therefore realism , constructivism , and, perhaps in time, some possibility of transformation. Or perhaps best summarized as "constructive realism," given that my realist friends will always doubt the possibility of any fundamental transformation of such a deeply competitive relationship. The alternative approach is simply to allow strategic mistrust between the U.

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The easiest thing to do in international relations is to list all the problems. C onceptualizing the future of the U. Operationalizing such a relationship is something else again. There are a number of areas where the U. Globally , the climate change issue tops the list.

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Some may regard this as a soft security issue. In many parts of the world, it is already a hard security issue. When rains do not come, when extreme weather events become more frequent and intense, when farmers cannot plant or harvest their crops, these rapidly become hard security questions. As the world's largest and second largest carbon emitters, China and the U. Perhaps neither state can sign a legally binding global treaty.

But they can take parallel action and use other mechanisms such as the G20 to bring about a plurilateral agreement. After all, the G20 represents about 90 percent of total global carbon emissions.

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The Xi-Obama agreement on climate change in November at the APEC Summit is a highly encouraging, hopeful and potentially historic step along these lines. This sentence was inserted after the APEC Summit since the speech from which this article is adapted was given earlier.

Regionally , the U. I also know how hard this is. I have spent time in both Seoul and Pyongyang. I also know that neither the U. I believe if the North Korean nuclear threat can be permanently solved, and inter-Korean relations put on a stable and sustainable footing, the U. On this, the U. I believe that a new wave of foreign direct investment in each other's economies will help bring the countries closer together over time.

It's also good for business. The poor state of much of American public infrastructure provides a big potential market for Chinese investment. Better infrastructure would also make the American public happier. The more the two economies are enmeshed over time, the less likely it is they will end up in conflict or war. Multilaterally , the U. Many people only focus on the disagreements between China and the U. In fact, there is much they cooperate on in the Security Council as well. Particularly in Africa and in other regions where China has been a constructive partner and contributed much to U.

They could also work together more effectively through U. I believe it is in the deep interests of both countries to have a resilient, effective and respected U. Finally , within our own fraught region, we should better attend to the tasks of regional institution building. Unlike in Europe, we do not have a single pan-regional institution capable of enhancing common security and economic cooperation across the region with the objective of reducing historical tensions and enhancing regional unity over time.

As a region, we need to start cultivating the habits of regional cooperation. One practical area is in region-wide counter disaster management. Work has already begun on this. But it needs to be expanded, particularly when we don't know when our region's next big natural disaster will hit. This type of regional security cooperation, under the aegis of an emerging regional institution like an Asia Pacific Community, helps build mutual confidence and trust over time. Apart from these five areas listed above, there are many other potential areas for a common work program between the U.

China portal Philosophy portal War portal Books portal. The Illustrated Art of War. Archived from the original on The Illustrated Art of War: Military History and Professional Development. The State Within a State: Six Strategic Principles for Managers. Oxford University Press, Ancient Knowledge for Today's Business Professional.

Berkley Publishing Group, The International Journal of Learning. Bridge Street Books, Is There Common Ground? The Sydney Morning Herald. North China Branch, Shanghai Society for the Study of Early China. A Chronology of Translation in China and the West: From the Legendary Period to The Qing Conquest of Central Eurasia.

University of California Press.

Traditional Chinese Fiction in Asia 17thth Centuries. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Retrieved 11 October Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing period: Journal of the American Oriental Society 99 4. The Art of War. Denial and deception Disinformation False flag Information warfare Maskirovka Military camouflage Psychological warfare Ruse de guerre. Retrieved from " https: Views Read Edit View history.

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