Sun Tzu and the Art of Soft Power

My new article is up at the Diplomat.

In China, there has been a trend recently to use Sun Tzu and The Art of War as a source of soft power for China’s peaceful development strategy. This trend is present in the 2014 9th International Symposium on Sun Tzu’s Art of War hosted by the Chinese Academy of Military Science titled “Sun Tzu’s Art of War and Peace, Coopberation and Development.” According to the conference description, “Sun Tzu’s Art of War show us that seeking safety through development, cooperation and win-win growth is the right way toward world peace.”

From this description, it would be easy to imagine Sun Tzu as a modern day CCP official describing China’s peaceful development policy. Chinese Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Liu Xiaoming, also sought to use The Art of War to explain Chinese strategic thinking and to build trust during a 2012 speech to U.K. Joint Services Command and Staff College, saying “China has the deterrence and wisdom to win without fighting. But if needed, China has the courage and capability to win through fighting. This is the essence of The Art of War and the soul of China’s military strategy today.” Perhaps it is this image Hu Jintao had in mind when he gave President George W. Bush a silk copy of The Art of War in 2006, or when Beijing’s Renmin University gave a copy of the book to Admiral Michael Mullen during his visit in 2011….

Read the rest here: http://thediplomat.com/2015/03/sun-tzu-and-the-art-of-soft-power/

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About Leon Whyte

I'm a recent graduate of the Fletcher school of Law and Diplomacy. My interests include Pacific Asia and Security. I am looking for related opportunities.
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