Saturday, December 27, 1997

The Art of War (Part 2)


  • p. 32 (I’m skipping back and forth): “Despite incessant barbarian incursions and major military threats throughout its history, Imperial China was little inclined to pursue military solutions to aggression—except during the ill-fated expansionistic policies of the Former Han dynasty, or under dynamic young rulers, such as T’ang Tai-tsung, during the founding years of a dynasty. Rulers and ministers preferred to believe in the myth of cultural attraction whereby their vastly superior Chinese civilization, founded upon Virtue and reinforced by opulent material achievements, would simply overwhelm the hostile tendencies of the uncultured.”
    • He [Sawyer] seems a bit disdainful at the ancient Chinese rulers’ disdain for warfare. I’m not sure I agree. Wars of defense can be expensive. Wars of conquest can be very lucrative if you win, but what do you get if you win a war of defense? A bunch of dead bodies on your land and your kingdom safe for another year. Their policies seem to have worked; why disparage them?                                                                                       

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