Walter Russel Mead has started teaching Grand Strategy at Bard College. To the end, he's begun a blog entitled StratBlog. A friend sent me the link to one of his articles from which I will post an excerpt below. The whole article may be read here.
The article is about Sun Tzu and the Art of War, and how the way of Sun Tzu was the very opposite of the bureaucratic way Chinese governmental affairs were managed.
Don't play by the other guy's rules. Change the game. If he wants to play poker, play chess. If he wants to play chess, then box.
Since we've examined The 36 Strategies, maybe it's time to begin posting on Sun Tzu's Art of War?
The Art of War comes out of a culture where political correctness reigned: Confucian China attached enormous importance to ideas of correct conduct and correct speech. To do something in the wrong way was to do the wrong thing. Ethical Chinese scholars rejected concepts like the use of deception in warfare and believed that the aim of politics was to establish a benevolent state under a wise and absolute ruler who would use unlimited power to promote the general good.
It was a culture of bureaucracy and meritocracy. China is famous for inventing the rigorous civil service exam, with posts awarded to candidates based on their demonstrated academic knowledge. By and large the classical works of Chinese literature on the exams celebrated the ideals of propriety, conformity, and respect for the ancient traditions. In the quiet library of Confucian literary studies, The Art of War is like a fart in church.