Sunzi’s The Art of War begins with an admonition to study war because war may determine the fate of a state. In The Wars for Asia, 1911-1949 S.C.M. Paine, professor of policy and strategy at the US Naval War College, makes the same point. Lamenting what she describes as the marginalization of the study of war in American universities since the Vietnam War, she states, “The failure to study war does not make wars go away; rather it positions a country badly to survive war when it comes and to commit foreign policy blunders in wars fought by others (xii).” Her concern is that policy makers and strategists who do not understand the nature of war, the passions released by war, and the ramifications of war’s destructiveness will be incapable of accurately assessing different options and making correct decisions. On one level this book can be viewed as Professor Paine, the educator, providing evidence to support her position that studying and understanding war is extremely important. The theme that policy decisions and strategic choices matter runs through the entire work. There are many examples of negative consequences arising from bad decisions. There are also examples of good decisions
Journal of Chinese Military History – Brill
Published: Feb 6, 2014
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