Magazine August 2, 2021, Issue

Sun Tzu and Us

Soldiers sit on an M60A3 tank for a group photograph after an anti-invasion drill in Taichung, Taiwan, January 17, 2019. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)
How China threatens U.S. alliances

Beware, America. The United States has no strategic position in the Western Pacific without alliances, and its nemesis, China, is an alliance-breaker of long standing.

And by inclination. Two millennia ago, China’s homegrown master of all things military, the (perhaps apocryphal) general Sun Tzu, etched his hierarchy of strategic priorities on China’s way of diplomacy and warfare through his treatise The Art of War.

Foremost among Sun Tzu’s martial preferences: “What is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy.” Failing that: “Next best is to disrupt his alliances.” Only then should the general join battle or lay siege

To Read the Full Story

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (through conference calls, social media groups, and more). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going.

If you enjoyed this article and want to see more content like this, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.


Join Now
James Holmes — Mr. Holmes holds the J. C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy at the Naval War College and is a nonresident fellow at the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs.

In This Issue



Economic Competition

Human Rights

Books, Arts & Manners


The Week

The Week

The geopolitical, economic, and ideological competition between the U.S. and China is now out in the open.


The Latest