Block 1 “East is East and West is West…” (1 July — 30 September, 2015)

Eastern perspectives on strategy, thought, and action

Is there an eastern way of thinking that differs markedly from the west? What paradigms constrain western strategy and limit available actions? The opening and closing lines of Kipling’s “Ballad of East and West” suggests that the differences, while stark, fade away in the face of physical conflict:

“OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat; But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!”

His belief in the superficiality of any differences between east and west resonates well in western academic and policy circles. Yet perhaps this western perspective on eastern thought holds us to a much narrower range of options when it comes to strategy and action. The readings for this first block of 30 pages rigourously explores depths of Chinese philosophy, ontology (being), strategy, policy, and action. The texts include critical yet practical writings by the leading sinologist Francois Jullien, Kissinger’s landmark “On China,” and a recent, highly acclaimed work on Chinese strategy. The first reading “A Treatise on Efficacy” begins on 1 Jul. The readings are listed below. Expand the comment to the right of each reading to find the cheapest way to purchase the book.


A Treatise on Efficacy — Francois Julliene (1 Jul — 14 Jul):

The Hundered-Year Marathon — Michael Pillsbury (15 Jul — 1 Jul)

Detour and Access — Francois Julliene (1 Aug — 14 Aug)

On China — Henry Kissinger (15 Aug — 31 Aug)

The Propensity of Things — Francois Julliene (1 Sep — 14 Sep)

China Goes Global — David Shambaugh (15 Sep — 30 Sep)