Taiwan Will Be Defended by the Bullet, or Not at All

Image Source “The ultimate determinant in war is a man on the scene with a gun.” β€”J.C. Wylie, Military Strategy: A General Theory of Power Control Some excellent comments were written in response to last week’s post “Taiwan’s Past Matters Less Than Taiwan’s Present.” Two of these comments were particularly excellent, and I am saddened to […]

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Why Didn’t China Give Birth to Democracy?

“The nominal form of [China’s] government… is an irresponsible autocracy; its institutions are likewise autocratic in form, but democratic in operation.” β€”Herbet Giles, The Civilization of China (1919) Yuhua Wang and Mark Dincecco have an interesting paper out in the Annual Review of Political Science. The paper offers and tests a new hypothesis for why […]

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What Cyber-War Will Look Like

When prompted to think about the way hackers will shape the future of great power war, we are wont to imagine grand catastrophes: F-35s grounded by onboard computer failures, Aegis BMD systems failing to launch seconds before Chinese missiles arrive, looks of shock at Space Command as American surveillance satellites start careening towards the Earth–stuff […]

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You Do Not Have the People

θ»εœ‹δΉ‹θ¦οΌŒε―ŸηœΎεΏƒγ€‚ The essence of the army and the state: investigate the minds of the people. β€”The Three Strategies of Huang Shigong (2nd century BC) 士民不θ¦ͺι™„οΌŒε‰‡ζΉ―ζ­¦δΈθƒ½δ»₯εΏ…ε‹δΉŸγ€‚ζ•…ε–„ι™„ζ°‘θ€…οΌŒζ˜―δΉƒε–„η”¨ε…΅θ€…δΉŸγ€‚ζ•…ε…΅θ¦εœ¨δΉŽε–„ι™„ζ°‘θ€Œε·²γ€‚  If the people and the nobility are not devoted, then even a Sage King could not guarantee victory. The man who is skilled at obtaining the support of the people is […]

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Leveraging Indian Power The Right Way

Image source. Now that the affair in Doklam has come to a close, analysts of various stripes are trying to make sense of what happened and what lessons can be learned from the episode. One of the smartest of these write ups was written by Oriana Skylar Mastro and Arzan Tarapore for War on the […]

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Everybody Wants a Thucydides Trap

This post was originally published as part of the Thucydides Roundtable project over at Zenpundit. I encourage you to read all of the posts in the roundtable. All the world trembles at the dreaded “Thucydides trap.”Of late this phrase has been all the rage. It was first popularized by Graham Allison in 2012, and has only […]

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China Was Never an Empire of the Mind

“Let us go forward as with other matters and other measures similar in aim and effect – let us go forward in malice to none and good will to all. Such plans offer far better prizes than taking away other people’s provinces or lands or grinding them down in exploitation. The empires of the future […]

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Sunzi on ISIS

ISIS fighters near Mosul, in the 2014 advance against the city.  Image source: “ISIS in Mosul, thousands of Refugees Flee,” Rodaw.com (9 July 2014). Last week Strategy Bridge published an interesting piece by Sebastian Bae. In it Bae analyzes the United States’ strategy to defeat ISIS through the lens of the Sunzi and its precepts. […]

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Chiang Kai Shek’s Gamble–Reviewing Shanghai and Nanjing 1937

Today Strategy Bridge published my review of Peter Harmsen’s two books on the upper-Yangtze campaigns that kicked off Asia’s World War II: Shanghai: Stalingrad on the Yangtze, and Nanjing 1937: Battle for a Doomed City. Here is an excerpt: ….Books focused on individual campaigns [of China’s WWII] are just now being written and published. Peter […]

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Why Do We Know So Little About China’s WWII?

Japanese soldiers approach the walls of Nanjing By Sweeper tamonten,China Incident Photograph Album, Vol 2, published in 1938 by Asahi Shimbun., Public Domain, accessed at Wikimedia Commons. In a recent column Peter Harmsen asks “Why do we know so little about China in World War Two?” To quote: We know hardly anything about the war in […]

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