A Guide Map for Reading the East Asian Canon

Readers may remember my stab at a global Great Books list. Recently a reader contacted me asking for guidance: they wanted to read through the books on the “East Asian” section of that list, but did not believe he had the proper historical knowledge to understand or contextualize what they were reading. What do I recommend they read to make sense of the list?

What follows will not make sense if you have not looked at that original post. Here is what I told him:

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Fear the First Strike

The closing days of the First World War gave birth to modern combat. Previous to these developments, advances in firepower made titans of the trenchworks. For four years the trenches were assaulted: for four years storms of steel mowed all offensives down. But as the war reached its end tactics were developed to storm through the gauntlet. Stephen Biddle has called these tactics, and what evolved out of them, “the modern system of battle.” The closing developments of the 1918 made offensives possible again—but the playing field remained tilted towards the defender.

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All Measures Short of a Cross Straits Invasion

Much of what I have written about Taiwan defense issues assumes that the primary challenge facing Taiwanese forces and their allies is defeating (and thus deterring) a proper amphibious invasion. Two recent reports argue—convincingly, I think—that this assumption is wrong.  In his testimony to Congress a few weeks ago, former DIA analyst Lonnie Henley asks […]

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Do Not Choose Susan Rice

Image source There is a grand tradition in American politics of bashing the other side’s nominees. In the spirit of that tradition, I have a new piece out in the American Conservative that questions whether Susan Rice is fit to be the Biden administration’s nominee for Secretary of State. Rice is a controversial figure for […]

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At What Point is Defending Japan No Longer Worth It?

Image source I have a new piece out in Foreign Policy. It takes a look at the changing balance of power between Pacific Command and the PLA, with a special focus on the vulnerabilities of US Forces Japan. This section describes the problem: The threat posed by China to forces stationed in Japan is real: […]

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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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