China at Arms: Millennial Strategic Traditions and Their Diplomatic Implications

  • Shi Yinhong
Part of the The Nottingham China Policy Institute series book series (NCP)


At all times and in all countries the primary content of politics, or at least the content that has long drawn the most intensive attention from historians and observers of political affairs, is the struggle and conflict for power, with conflicts of interests, wills and passions as its essential driving forces. For this reason, politics often entails violent conflict or its potentiality and because of this critical mechanism embedded in the internal and external affairs of human polities, strategy directly aimed at preparing or conducting organized large-scale violent conflict — that is strategy in its original or narrow sense — has often accompanied national politics. At the same time, the politically organized human community has always been both civil and military in combination, with civil affairs having diplomacy as one of the important components in the conduct of foreign relations. Over time, both the strategy and diplomacy of a country could develop their respective traditions. At a much profounder level, the relationship between the strategic and diplomatic traditions of any country is such that they reflect in a mutually complementary way the characteristics and political culture of a particular people or national state, and together constitute the common foundation of its international relations. In regard to these traditions, the most fundamental questions we should ask are: Whose traditions are these?


Political Culture Ming Dynasty Soft Power Grand Strategy Military Strategy 
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Notes and references

  1. 2.
    Carl von Clausewitz (1976) On War, edited and translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton: Princeton University Press).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Carl von Clausewitz (1964) On War (PLA Academy of Military Sciences: PLA Press), p. 25.Google Scholar
  3. 18.
    Arthur Waldron (2004) ‘China’s Strategies from the 14th–17th Century’, in Williamson Murray et al. (eds), The Making of Strategy: Rulers, States and War, translated by Shi Yinhong et al. (Beijing: World Affairs Press), p. 91.Google Scholar
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    Shi Yinhong (2002) International Politics: Theoretical Exploration, Historical Survey, and Strategic Thinking (Beijing: Contemporary World Press), pp. 305–6.Google Scholar
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    John Shy and Thomas W. Collier (2006) ‘Revolutionary War’, in Peter Paret (ed.), Makers of Modern Strategy: From Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age, translated by Shi Yinhong et al. (Beijing: World Affairs Press), pp. 815–17.Google Scholar
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    John Lewis Gaddis (2005) Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security Policy, translated by Shi Yinhong, Li Qingsi and Fan Jishe (Beijing: World Affairs Press), pp. 368–9.Google Scholar
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    Paul Kennedy (2005) ‘The Grand Strategy of the United States at the Present and in the Future’, in Paul Kennedy (ed.), Grand Strategies in War and Peace, translated by Shi Yinhong and Li Qingsi (Beijing: World Affairs Press), pp. 169, 170.Google Scholar
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    See Deng Xiaoping (1985) ‘The Military Should Keep Patience’. Available at: Scholar
  9. 27.
    ‘(In the future), after our economic power becomes stronger, we can take out more money to upgrade our military armament’, and ‘after the national strength is much stronger, we can also develop some atomic bombs, missiles and upgrade some military armament, including air, naval and land forces. That will become easier at that time.’ Deng Xiaoping (1993) Deng Xiaoping Wenxuan [Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping] (Beijing: People’s Press), Vol. 3, pp. 99, 129.Google Scholar

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© Shi Yinhong 2015

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  • Shi Yinhong

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