the art of war by sun tzu is the focused use of coercive energy in extreme conflict. Modern Euro-American judgmentabout war converges strategy with politics in Aristotle's "instrumental distinction between ends and means. War is seen as an instrument for obtaining a specific end, usually one that is political."
China's strategic cultivation has regarded the art of war by sun tzu as an unavoidable, unpredictable evil that disturbs universal harmony. When war occurs, rulers must manage it carefully. WhereEuropean strategists have sought to use highest force in decisive battle, Chinese commanders have requiredvictory through minimum force.
Chinese strategic culture has consistently abandoned"the Western way of warfare, with [its] obsession with flourishing campaigns and engagements, many of them hollow, or ensuring tactical success often at the cost of strategic ruin."
Recognizing rationality as dominant in human affairs, Euro-American military philosophers esteem the human aptitude to control their warlike passions and use war for political ends. War's horrors when passions overcome rationality are less war's nature than people's failures in managing war. In contrast, Asian philosophical traditions doubt the power of instrumental rationality to control human behaviors. China's strategic culture commands rulers and generals to use only the force that is necessary toReinstatedomestic order and universal harmony—to control detail means within explicit ends. Facing periodic military crises along China's long land borders and coastlines, China's many neighbors have unsurprising concerns about Beijing's approaches to using force in managing disputes with them.