The Rise of China Vs. the Logic of Strategy

The Rise of China Vs. the Logic of Strategy

Book - 2012
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Harvard University Press

As the rest of the world worries about what a future might look like under Chinese supremacy, Edward Luttwak worries about China’s own future prospects. Applying the logic of strategy for which he is well known, Luttwak argues that the most populous nation on Earth—and its second largest economy—may be headed for a fall.

For any country whose rising strength cannot go unnoticed, the universal logic of strategy allows only military or economic growth. But China is pursuing both goals simultaneously. Its military buildup and assertive foreign policy have already stirred up resistance among its neighbors, just three of whom—India, Japan, and Vietnam—together exceed China in population and wealth. Unless China’s leaders check their own ambitions, a host of countries, which are already forming tacit military coalitions, will start to impose economic restrictions as well.

Chinese leaders will find it difficult to choose between pursuing economic prosperity and increasing China’s military strength. Such a change would be hard to explain to public opinion. Moreover, Chinese leaders would have to end their reliance on ancient strategic texts such as Sun Tzu’s Art of War. While these guides might have helped in diplomatic and military conflicts within China itself, their tactics—such as deliberately provoking crises to force negotiations—turned China’s neighbors into foes. To avoid arousing the world’s enmity further, Luttwak advises, Chinese leaders would be wise to pursue a more sustainable course of economic growth combined with increasing military and diplomatic restraint.


As the rest of the world worries about what a future might look like under Chinese supremacy, Luttwak worries about China’s own future prospects. Applying the logic of strategy for which he is well known, he argues that the world’s second largest economy may be headed for a fall unless China’s leaders check their military ambitions.

Baker & Taylor
Argues that while most around the world are concerned with China's rise to supremacy, the real issue may be the fall of the populous nation due to overextending its military and economic designs.

Book News
Questioning the assumption that the continued growth of economic wealth, military power, and political influence will inevitably lead to Chinese global supremacy, Luttwak (Center for Strategic and International Studies) argues that the logic of strategy suggests that China will inevitably be faced with resistance from its neighbors and from other countries. He provides an assessment of the sources of Chinese strategic behavior and the contours of China's strategic position over the coming years, both in general terms and in terms of Chinese relations with Australia, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, Mongolia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Norway, and the United States. Belknap Press is an imprint of Harvard U. Press. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012
Description: ix, 310 pages ; 20 cm
ISBN: 9780674066427
0674066421
Branch Call Number: 355.033551 Lut

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StarGladiator
Mar 14, 2014

In quotes - - In this frequently bewildering jeremiad, controversial military strategist Luttwak . . . - - end quote, from the Publishers Weekly review, which I most heartily agree with. I've always thought Luttwak long on verbosity and short on knowledge, but the logic isn't sustainable throughout this meandering text. China is what it is today because the USA, Europe and Japan have offshored so many jobs, so much technology and investment there. Luttwak perhaps considers himself a far-thinking intellectual, but I'll always consider him clueless.

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