Commentary: Denying China’s Quest for Regional – and Global – Hegemony

Xi Jinping speaking

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

One might quarrel with Sun Tzu’s numbers in this famous formulation from the approximately 2,500-year-old Chinese classic “The Art of War.” But Western authorities on war starting with Thucydides, Machiavelli, and Clausewitz agree with Sun Tzu that knowledge of one’s strengths and weaknesses and knowledge of the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses are essential to sound strategy.

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