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By Yuan-kang Wang

Confucianism has formed a definite conception of chinese language safety approach, symbolized by way of the protective, nonaggressive nice Wall. Many think China is antimilitary and reluctant to take advantage of strength opposed to its enemies. It practices pacifism and refrains from increasing its limitations, even if nationally strong.

In a path-breaking examine traversing six centuries of chinese language historical past, Yuan-kang Wang resoundingly discredits this inspiration, recasting China as a practitioner of realpolitik and a ruthless purveyor of expansive grand ideas. Leaders of the track Dynasty (960-1279) and Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) prized army strength and shrewdly assessed the services of China's adversaries. They followed shielding techniques while their state was once vulnerable and pursued expansive pursuits, corresponding to territorial acquisition, enemy destruction, and overall army victory, while their nation used to be robust. regardless of the dominance of an antimilitarist Confucian tradition, conflict used to be no longer unusual within the bulk of chinese language historical past. Grounding his learn in basic chinese language assets, Wang outlines a politics of energy which are the most important to realizing China's options this day, particularly its coverage of "peaceful development," which, he argues, the state has followed mostly as a result of its army, monetary, and technological weak point relating to the U.S..

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Additional resources for Harmony and War: Confucian Culture and Chinese Power Politics (Contemporary Asia in the World)

Sample text

Through cognitive mapping and symbolic analysis, Johnston concludes that the Seven Military Classics reveal two sets of strategic culture—a symbolic, Confucian-Mencian culture and an operational, realpolitik one. ”50 The other strand, the parabellum strategic culture, is both operative and dominant, and is what has caused China to behave like a realist power in history. China might have justified its aggressive behavior in the Confucian-Mencian language; in practice, however, China was a hard realpolitiker, rationally pursuing power over normative values and preferring to use force as its relative capabilities increased.

38 In this view, China has always adhered to a defensive grand strategy that relies on cultural attraction (the “benevolent way”), whereas the West prefers an offensive grand strategy that draws on brute force (the “hegemonic way”). indd 17 10/14/10 9:41 AM 18 CULTURE AND STRATEGIC CHOICE Confucian pacifism holds that the country’s rulers remain on the defensive and demonstrate their magnanimity, awesomeness, and virtue while China builds up its strength. The state relies on noncoercive policies (such as accommodation, cultural attraction, détente, and static defense), even when the capacity to pursue expansionist policies grows.

Indd 31 10/14/10 9:41 AM 32 CULTURE AND STRATEGIC CHOICE not conquer territories by force or expand war aims even if the opportunity to do so arises. Structural realism, on the other hand, predicts that China escalates its war aims beyond the borders. China aims for total military victory, political destruction of the adversary, or annexation of territories. Chinese war aims continue to expand until met with systemic or military constraints. MEASURING POWER Power is at the heart of realist theories.

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