On Reading "The Hundred Year Marathon" by Michael Pillsbury

September 10, 2015

This is a really smart book by a man who has been in the CIA and the U. S. government for decades, and has met the Chinese leadership and military leaders frequently.

It has something rare: the ability to explain Chinese strategic thinking to a Western audience. The book is based on Pillsbury's experience in discussions with leaders backed up by a close reading of classics of Chinese strategy and Chinese literary classics that embody Chinese strategic thinking. This is anything but boring. It is riveting. It is fascinating. It is dynamic. It is the aerobics of strategy. It involves a study of key Chinese concepts that are unique in the world.

It is meant as a warning, the idea that the China foreign policy community has had a consensus about China's peaceful rise that may not be accurate. It is an attempt to explain the point of view of the military men at the upper reaches of the government of the PRC, those who might be described as hardliners.

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