Harmony and War: Confucian Culture and Chinese Power Politics

Kobo ebook | December 6, 2010

byYuan-kang Wang

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Confucianism has shaped a certain perception of Chinese security strategy, symbolized by the defensive, nonaggressive Great Wall. Many believe China is antimilitary and reluctant to use force against its enemies. Instead, the country practices pacifism and refrains from expanding its boundaries, even when nationally strong.

In a path-breaking study that travels seven hundred years of Chinese history, Yuan-kang Wang resoundingly discredits this notion, recasting China as a practitioner of realpolitik and a ruthless purveyor of expansive grand strategies. Leaders of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) prized military force and shrewdly assessed the strength of China's adversaries. They adopted defensive strategies only when their country was weak and pursued expansive goals, such as territorial acquisition, enemy destruction, and total military victory, when their country was strong. Despite the dominance of an antimilitarist Confucian culture, warfare was not uncommon in the bulk of Chinese history. Grounding his research in primary Chinese sources, Wang outlines a politics of power that are crucial to understanding China's strategies today, especially its policy of "peaceful development," which it has adopted only because of military, economic, and technological weakness in relation to the United States.

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Confucianism has shaped a certain perception of Chinese security strategy, symbolized by the defensive, nonaggressive Great Wall. Many believe China is antimilitary and reluctant to use force against its enemies. Instead, the country practices pacifism and refrains from expanding its boundaries, even when nationally strong.In a path-br...

Yuan-kang Wang is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Western Michigan University. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago and has received fellowships from Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and ...
Format:Kobo ebookPublished:December 6, 2010Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231522401

ISBN - 13:9780231522403

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Preface
1. Confucian Strategic Culture and the Puzzle
2. Culture and Strategic Choice
3. The Northern Song Dynasty (960--1127)
4. The Southern Song Dynasty (1127--1279)
5. The Ming Dynasty (1368--1644)
6. The Ming Tribute System
7. Chinese Power Politics in the Age of U.S. Unipolarity
Notes
Glossary: Chinese Terms
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

Yuan-kang Wang's Harmony and War is the most important and well-conceived application of structural realist theory to Chinese foreign policy (past and present) to date.