The Rise of China vs. the Logic of Strategy

Edward N. Luttwak. Harvard Univ./Belknap, $26.95 (318p) ISBN 978-0-674-06642-7
In this frequently bewildering jeremiad, controversial military strategist Luttwak argues that China’s rise as a world power is ultimately unsustainable. Luttwak laments the “sad, even sinister consequences that must ensue if China’s rapid advance were to collide with the paradoxical logic of strategy,” namely, that uncontrolled Chinese military growth will induce other states to align against China, consequently provoking conflict. Using frequent bullet points and repetitive language, he builds an intriguing if tendentious case that “the logic of strategy cannot be linear: a rising military threat normally stiffens resistance against it.” Eschewing 99% of the classical literature in international relations—even game theory is conspicuously absent—Luttwak promptly blends his deterministic thesis with a sparsely argued belief that China’s policy makers are congenitally influenced by their Han heritage (in particular Sun Tzu’s The Art of War), putting them at a disadvantage. What Luttwak calls “great-state autism” may cause the Chinese to alienate their allies and enrage their enemies with endless blunders and faux pas. The book’s second half is a dreary litany of the ways that China’s diplomatic strategy has backfired, from the dispute with Japan over the Senkaku Islands to China’s adolescent temper tantrum following the news that Liu Xiaobo had won the Nobel Peace Prize. Luttwak does little to connect all these incidents to the broader thrust of his book. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 07/16/2012
Release date: 11/01/2012
Show other formats
FORMATS
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.