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The Rise of China vs. the Logic of Strategy

The Rise of China vs. the Logic of Strategy

Edward N. Luttwak

ISBN 9780674066427

Publication date: 11/15/2012

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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.

Praise

  • National security strategist Edward Luttwak's provocative and insightful analysis of the 'logic of strategy' provides a well-documented, contrarian assessment of whether China's 'rise' will be peaceful or polarizing. He stresses the paradox that China's economic strength and territorial aggrandizement are inciting opposition by a growing coalition of states determined to weaken Beijing's power and influence. Luttwak asserts that only by maintaining Deng Xiaoping's policy of 'low posture' development, and downplaying military modernization, can China avoid international 'geo-economic resistance' and attain the domestic growth and global stature it seeks.

    —Richard H. Solomon, former President of the U.S. Institute of Peace, Senior Fellow at the RAND Corporation

Author

  • Edward N. Luttwak is the author of several books, including Coup d’État: A Practical Handbook; Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace; and The Rise of China vs. the Logic of Strategy, which have been published in twenty-five languages. His articles have appeared in the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, Foreign Affairs, and Tablet.

Book Details

  • 320 pages
  • 5 x 7-1/2 inches
  • Belknap Press

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