Home > Opinion, politics > Tsinghua University Professor Yan Xuetong: “How Assertive Should a Great Power Be?”

Tsinghua University Professor Yan Xuetong: “How Assertive Should a Great Power Be?”

Yan Xuetong is professor of political science and dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He is the author of “Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power.” His new book became available on April 3, 2011 and can be ordered through places like Amazon. Below is an Op-Ed he authored for the New York Times, titled, “How Assertive Should a Great Power Be?” Prof. Yan is from the camp in China favoring more active political engagements and taking on more international responsibilities.

By YAN XUETONG
Published: March 31, 2011

BEIJING — Since the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Chinese analysts have been debating whether China should take on more international responsibility. Two opposite schools of thought have emerged within China.

On the one hand, a growing chorus of critics question China’s decades-old foreign policy doctrine, first put forth by Deng Xiaoping, that stresses the importance of keeping a low profile on the world stage. These analysts say the nation needs to be more bold and assertive in international affairs in a way that matches China’s newfound status as a major world power.

On the other hand is the Chinese mainstream, which says that the international calls for China to take on more international responsibilities is a conspiracy by Western countries intended to exhaust our economic resources by saddling it with more obligations abroad. An example of this philosophy is the fact that since the Cold War ended the Chinese representative to the United Nations often abstains from voting at the U.N. Security Council.

I’m firmly in the first camp, the minority of thinkers who think it is necessary for China to take on more responsibilities abroad. If China wants to regain its historical status as a great world power, it must act like a great world power.

Our group of thinkers draws inspiration from ancient Chinese philosophy, which regards both material capability and morality as necessary conditions for building strong and durable global leadership. For the sake of making itself a rising power that is welcomed by the rest of the world, China should act as a humane authority (wang in Chinese) and take on more international responsibilities to improve its strategic credibility.

The idea for a more assertive role appears to be gaining influence. A few years ago, almost no Chinese scholar challenged the principle of nonintervention, of infringing on the sovereignty of other nations. Recently there are more and more debates on this issue. Both the academic and the policy community debated sanctions on North Korea, the no-fly zone in Libya, and the proper government response to the 2009 attacks on ethnic Chinese in Myanmar.

The new debate on China’s international role has coincided with changes in policy.

Soon after Japan’s devastating earthquake, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao expressed deep sympathy and solicitude to the Japanese government and the people. Chinese rescue teams were mobilized and sent to help with the recovery process, and the Chinese Red Cross donated funds to Japan. Even Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie publicly offered possible military rescue help. The Chinese media has been flooded with sympathetic accounts of Japanese civility in the midst of disasters.

China’s response to the Libya crisis is an even more striking example. On Feb. 26, the Chinese representative to the United Unions quickly voted for the U.N. sanctions against the Qaddafi government. Although China reverted to its normal posture by abstaining from the U.N. vote on taking military action against Libya, the endorsement of sanctions showed opposition to the Libyan government’s harsh military response to the people’s request that Qaddafi step down.

Moreover, for the first time China dispatched a warship and four military aircraft to evacuate Chinese citizens from Libya. From Feb. 22 to March 5, China evacuated 35,860 nationals and 2,100 foreigners from 12 other countries.

China’s policy on Libya is clearly a break from the principle of keeping-low-profile. Sending military forces to Libya for evacuation implied that China has learned how to improve its international image. Even those Chinese who think we should continue to keep a low profile did not oppose sending military forces to Libya. It seems the Chinese government learned that international responsibility is mainly defined by political responses to international crises, especially security issues, rather than simply economic aid to poor countries.

For much of the 20th century, Chinese Marxists and liberals looked to the West for inspiration. Such Western values as state sovereignty were adopted as part of the government discourse because China had to build up its domestic power free from bullying by outside powers. But today, there is increased recognition of the fact that China must exercise positive influence on international affairs.

Of course, several factors explain China’s shift from a self-absorbed power obsessed with sovereignty to an influential international actor, not least of which is China’s growing economic might. But traditional Chinese values help Chinese leaders to make sense of the new emphasis on international responsibility and to channel China’s policies in morally desirable ways.

There is evidence to support this analysis. Many years after Marx’s picture was moved from Tiananmen Square, the statue of Confucius was set up there.

Categories: Opinion, politics Tags:
  1. pug_ster
    April 25th, 2011 at 12:32 | #1

    You know, I do agree with him. I’m not talking about China trying to dictate to how other countries should govern. I’m talking about how China should be a mediator or in extreme cases, interfere when genocide or mass killings occur. China is already doing it about North Korea and other countries not so friendly to North Korea. China should’ve try to gather other UN nations to try to mediate Thailand/Cambodia border dispute and try to diffuse the situation between the 2 countries. China should try to work with Russia to get a team of independent UN inspectors to verify if there are atrocities in Libya. China should probably send armed troops to stop the genocide in the Ivory coast.

  2. April 25th, 2011 at 13:11 | #2

    @pug_ster
    There will certainly be popular support for those you listed.

    On the other hand, China is substantially involved too, just not with such big noises.

    China probably supplies the most number of troops to U.N. for peacekeeping purposes. The U.S. in contrast is near zilch.

    “Their troops are very well disciplined of course, the organization of their command structure is extraordinary and whether you are on the ground in Haiti or Darfur, the Chinese camp can be easily recognized and the competence of the troops, their engineers, their doctors are at a very high quality” (Alain Le Roy, United Nations Undersecretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations)

  3. Charles Liu
    April 25th, 2011 at 14:29 | #3

    IMHO China is no more a “major world power” than India or Brazil. What “historical status as a great world power” is Prof. Yan refering to?

    Western colonial legacy exists today still, unless China wants to confront that (I don’t think China should) I don’t see any good beyond this “peaceful [non-]rise” that is tolerated by white folks.

    I say help Japan, less entangled apolitical peace keepers, sure, but not BS like Libya. Also there’re still much to do within China.

  4. April 26th, 2011 at 05:47 | #4

    I agree with Charles.

    I believe Prof. Yan is referring to the historical “Middle Kingdom” status of China as a great world power, but that is a feudalistic concept that China should not hold any illusions about.

    While geopolitical reality may determine that China might hold some dominance in some regions of the world, China should never consider being the “Center” of influence as its goal.

    It is precisely China’s feudalistic “center” status that makes Japan and South Korea nervous. Thus the goal of regaining that status in any way will cause counter reactions from China’s neighbors.

    Therefore, China must carefully temper its exercise of influence outside of its borders to (1) while exerting influence, exert GREAT influence, (2) but do nothing to undermine the legitimacy of other sovereign governments (except in proportional self-defense).

  5. April 26th, 2011 at 07:05 | #5

    China is not ready to deal with many world affairs now as there are so many problems to deal with inside China. Hopefully China will deal with most conflicts / disputes with her neighbors peacefully.

    There are so many articles written on China in Wall Street Journal, you can tell China is important in our global economy.

  6. April 26th, 2011 at 09:43 | #6

    Bear in mind though, more international responsibility does not necessarily need to be more bombings of foreign nations.

    China’s leaders have said in the past it will never seek to align the developing countries as a political bloc against the developed nations. This is an important point to remember.

    Recently, the BRICS (note the ‘S’ as in South Africa) met in Sanya and made a joint declaration on how the body like to see world affairs move forward.

    I think the more China is able to provide leadership in adding new ways of doings things in international relations, the better it is for the world. China need not be confined in always thinking through the lenses of the West.

    The U.S. after winning the Cold War is doing everything possible to undermine the U.N.. That is a very power-centric view towards the world.

    China on the other hand tries hard not to undermine any international body. Instead, for example, in IMF, she is trying to contribute more funds and at the same time steering it so it gives China and other developing countries more equity.

    This is a more peaceful brand that the world can clearly see.

    I guess my take is that as long as China does more of what she is already doing, that in itself already constitutes taking on more international responsibilities.

  7. raventhorn2000
    April 26th, 2011 at 12:36 | #7

    Leadership is fine, but I think China should avoid falling back to the old Feudalistic notion of “China Center” world view.

    It’s inherently dangerous and will make Chinese too self-satisfied and self-centered.

  8. April 26th, 2011 at 14:15 | #8

    @pug_ster,

    Can you please define what “genocide” is? What is it about it that calls for intervention? Is it whenever political conflicts take on characters of ethnicity and religion? Is it the potential for mass casualty – and if so, must that threat be linked to ethnicity to be deserving of intervention?

    My problem – and I have said many times – is that we ride the coattail of genocide for our own political expedience. If that’s all there is with the use of genocide, then I disagree with your assessment, because I don’t believe in intervention can be justified based on convenience.

    @raventhorn2000,

    I don’t see any problems with a China Centered world. Today, based on population, China is a marginalized nation. That is fine. It is reality. There will be those in Japan and S. Korea – which are currently aligned with the West – who fear a strong China. That is reality but does not represent any normative world view. Once the West declines and China rises, those views will change like dust in the wind. The only problem with establishing a China Centered world is if China were to do it the way Japan tried to do it under the guise of its Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere, in the interest of Japan proper, but at the expense of others. As long as China builds a China Centered world by also helping to the rest of the world to develop, there is nothing wrong with that.

    We live in a West Centered world. Again nothing wrong with that per se. But the West Centered world has been characterized by injustice because it is one built on suppressing the rest of the world for the interest of the West. I hope China will be more enlightened and open when it is able to dictate the new world order.

  9. raventhorn2000
    April 26th, 2011 at 18:42 | #9

    The problem with a “China Centered” world is the tendency to place China’s interests with too much important.

    I can only say that such self-interests and self-obsession will very likely lead China down the path of Japan and the West.

    China can become strong in influence, without the self-focused view of “China centered” world.

    Why must human beings replace 1 center with another in their world view?

    I believe we Chinese can rise above that vicious cycle, rationally.

    We have no reason or need to place ourselves in focus and emphasis.

    Let the West decline, while covered with their pride and their “West Centered” views.

    We, should celebrate every aspect of the world for its every corner of beauty, and be great in our breadth of our eyesights and views.

    The world should be our center.

  10. pug_ster
    April 26th, 2011 at 19:28 | #10

    Allen,

    I define “genocide” is the current situation in the Ivory Coast, and perhaps what happened in Rawanda 10-15 years back, issues that Western Countries often ignore. Sorry, that’s a short list.

    I think China’s leaders should invoke their belief of respecting other countries sovereignty and start questioning NATO’s intention in Libya. You watch Russia Today and Putin publicly condemn NATO’s bombing that is hurting the civilians and I think China should join them. Since China is part of the UN Security Council, China should propose to send UN inspectors and mediators to try to diffuse the situation. In this situation, China is almost as bad as NATO because they did nothing.

  11. April 26th, 2011 at 21:52 | #11

    @pug_ster #10, this is where you and I will disagree. I don’t see genocide in either. Genocide to me is evil – like Hitler, killing to wipe a people out just because…

    These other are humanitarian disasters that can be attributed not to bad people (to the extent they are evil, not merely incompetent) per se, but circumstances that cause humanitarian grief. To the extent these should be stopped, so should have the partition of India (with its violence and forced movement of people), WWI, WWII, creation of Israel, etc., etc. To ignore some but call out others is playing politics.

    Genocide imparts a normative view (bias) to which I have strong distaste…

  12. silentvoice
    April 27th, 2011 at 03:25 | #12

    pug_ster :
    You know, I do agree with him. I’m not talking about China trying to dictate to how other countries should govern. I’m talking about how China should be a mediator or in extreme cases, interfere when genocide or mass killings occur. China is already doing it about North Korea and other countries not so friendly to North Korea. China should’ve try to gather other UN nations to try to mediate Thailand/Cambodia border dispute and try to diffuse the situation between the 2 countries.

    I disagree with your last sentence. 🙂

    China’s relationship with ASEAN, with Thailand and Cambodia is very complex. It would be a mistake, in my opinion, for China to intervene when member states have already said they could resolve it under the ASEAN umbrella.

    – Since the late 90s, Thailand has been courting China and uses its relationship with China to balance Vietnam. Conversely China plays Thailand against Vietnam, so that Vietnam don’t tilt too far into USA’s orbit.
    – China needs Cambodia, and is building ports and railroads over there (to bring oil to China’s southwest).
    – ASEAN on the other hand have a love-fear relationship with China.

    There’s nothing for China to gain by poking its head into the crisis and unreveling this complex relationship. It’s better for China, as well as ASEAN, to wait and see how it plays out. My hunch is that if push comes to pull, member states will take the side of Thailand since it has stronger economic links with the rest of ASEAN, while Cambodia the losing party, will be pushed closer to China. This should suit China just fine.

  13. April 27th, 2011 at 06:06 | #13

    I would have to agree with Allen on “genocide”.

    Perhaps it is because both of us are Lawyers, we tend to view “genocide” in the strictest legal definition.

    The charge of “genocide” has been over-abused in the Western Media and Western Human Rights campaigns.

    It’s a legal term, and there is a strict definition with it. It should be thrown around like dart and see what it might stick to on the walls.

    Sectarian violence, ethnic violence, and civil wars should not be easily lumped into “genocide”. And there is no such thing as “cultural genocide”.

    Ivory coast was described as an “urban warfare” by UN, which is as correct as it can be. The fighting was waged by both sides in a civilian environment.

    It may be ethnic warfare, but the legal intent is not to kill the entirety of an ethnic group, but rather to bring them under political control.

    “Genocide” should only apply in cases of non-combat zones, where non-combatants are systematically killed ONLY due to their specific race or ethnic or religious background, with specific intent to exterminate a group. Collateral damages do not qualify as “genocide” because it’s too difficult to determine who is or isn’t collateral damage in a war zone.

    Hitler’s case was obvious. He was executing civilians who were citizens of his own country, on the basis of their race.

    Armenian massacre by the Turks was probably close.

    Some have argued that the Nanjing massacre by the Japanese was also genocide, but legally, it was more a war crime against humanity, because there is no evidence of specific intent of the Japanese leadership to systematically kill all Chinese, since the goal was actually subjugation.

    (However, it is arguable that the Japanese leadership did conduct target killing of ethnic Chinese civilians in Singapore during WWII, and that might have been a “genocide”, because there was a specific intent of targeting a group, which was unrelated to stated purpose of subjugation of the region.)

  14. pug_ster
    April 27th, 2011 at 07:23 | #14

    @silentvoice

    That’s the problem. One problem with ASEAN is that they are relatively weak in enforcing border disputes like what happened previously during Thailand/Burma and Malaysia/Indonesia. ASEAN didn’t do anything in this case either. China’s strategic importance to both countries should be the mediator of both countries. I am not talking about China talking down to both countries and telling them what to do. It is very much like the 6 party nuclear talks where China’s connections to both North and South Korea and asked these 2 countries to sit down and hammer out the issues. Since China has good connections to both countries, they can do the same for both for Thailand and Cambodia. Even if both countries can’t resolve their issues, it does not hurt.

  15. Rhan
    April 27th, 2011 at 08:09 | #15

    Talking about Asean, this is what happen in Malaysia today, about 13 people were arrested just before the arrival of the Chinese premier.

    http://www.merdekareview.com/news/n/18076.html

    http://www.merdekareview.com/news/n/18071.html

  16. Charles Liu
    April 27th, 2011 at 10:56 | #16

    @Rhan

    Anyone in US violating security peremeter during state visit are usually arrested as well.

    BTW, anybody hijacking the Royal Wedding to highlight British atrocity? As Beijing Olympics demonstrated such action is justified, but I don’t see any celebrity or activist group stepping up to do the same thing to highlight issues or making Britian better. Boy talk about double standard.

    By extension, if China become more assertive in the world stage, would it be treated the same? Don’t count on it.

  17. April 27th, 2011 at 12:30 | #17

    @raventhorn #13,

    Thanks for agreeing in large part with me. My problem with “genocide” is also that while it should have a precise meaning (I like dictionary.com’s definition: “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group compare” – something serious – though of course we lawyers can always argue to no end about “deliberate” (intent) and “group”), something much less is peddled around by most people. The UN for example has this definition (http://www.hrweb.org/legal/genocide.html).

    In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    (a) Killing members of the group;
    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

    Note the vagueness (e.g., “intent” (whose intent, a legislative body, some inconsequential officer, some civilian gang?), “in whole or in part” (what arises to “in part” – 1/10, 1/3, 1/2, more than 50%?), what is a “group” – do “subgroups” count – and to what extent should be subdivide (do we go by definitions promulgated by ethnologists, archeologists, political activists, census data, etc.)). Without being careful, I can argue Hiroshima and drone attacks in Afpak and Libya to constitute genocide … and go play politics, too.

  18. raventhorn2000
    April 27th, 2011 at 13:46 | #18

    Allen,

    Precisely.

    That’s why I dislike the “Human Rights Activists”. They blunder around and do serious damage to rule of law, by distorting the very foundation of seriousness of criminal charges.

    And it only cheapens the seriousness of “genocide”.

    I would define genocide very strictly to something very similar to the level of the Holocaust, where there is demonstrative evidence of (1) systematic, ie. concentration camps with gas chambers, (2) deliberate, ie. no accident or collateral damage, (3) over substantial period of time, ie. repeated evidence of intent and acts, which would remove reasonable doubt of merely gross disregard for human lives.

    I mean, seriously, gross disregard for human lives is bad, but pretty much any government waging war would be grossly disregarding human lives. Need we even talk about cluster bombs and MOAB’s? (but that’s not genocide).

    *
    As I said before, Western human rights activists are Morality Jesuits, calling out sinners of heathen lands, while prostituting themselves.

    We should caution against use of their perversed terminologies, which they would never apply to their own governments/lords/masters.

  19. April 27th, 2011 at 14:13 | #19

    @raventhorn2000 #18,

    I think we’d both agree that if a human rights activists wants to be a conscientious objector of all wars, all poverty, etc. I am fine with it. Those types of human rights activists – i.e. true humanists – can be a diamond in the rough though.

  20. Charles Liu
    April 27th, 2011 at 14:36 | #20

    Therein lies the hypocrisy. The term genocide is used all too liberally when it comes to China. According to some there are multiple genocide going on in China right now! In that sense pug_ster isn’t off the mark by much, if any.

  21. raventhorn2000
    April 28th, 2011 at 05:39 | #21

    It is very hypocritical.

    If the term is to have consistent meaning, then

    in these “(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;”

    One can easily argue that foreign policies of Western nations are designed to do exactly (b)-(d).

    Hell, some activists in US would even argue that Abortion Clinics are conducting (d) as genocide.

  22. April 29th, 2011 at 08:16 | #22

    On the other hand, China is substantially involved too, just not with such big noises.

    China probably supplies the most number of troops to U.N. for peacekeeping purposes. The U.S. in contrast is near zilch.

  23. April 29th, 2011 at 15:36 | #23

    @Oris WilliamsF1,

    Not sure what point you wanted to make… But I am guessing you don’t like what China is doing?

    We can play numbers by definitions which in the end is an exercise in nothing. But even in that game, I hope you get your facts straight. (see, e.g. http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/contributors/2011/mar11_1.pdf).

    You have made many comments that are low quality here. If your capability is that low, you are welcomed to be a reader, but not commenter.

  24. xian
    April 30th, 2011 at 13:04 | #24

    Hm. An interesting topic, but professor Yan is using recent examples instead of overall policy. Sending a warship to evacuate people in Libya is not comparable to sending forces to fight for either side. Not sure what the point of that statement was.

    I think prof. Yan has mistaken his definition of “great world power” for a state that overlooks and well, interferes in world events. What made the Han and Tang dynasty a ‘superpower’ was not the fact that it could project military force to the Caspian sea, but the incredible wealth and cultural inflorescence that occurred in China proper. Similarly, it is the enrichment of modern China itself that will forge a great world power.

    I am staunchly in support of non-interventionism. There is absolutely nothing wrong with keeping a low-profile on the world stage as long as you maintain the benefits. “Responsibility” and “moral duty” are relative in the eyes of others. What one nation considers perfectly justified might be unwanted interference for another. It is not a matter of how severe something is. Even if there was a full on genocide by the strictest definition, it is unwise to move on it unless you’re sure there’s overwhelming support for your move. In short, there is no play that will maintain China’s current detached neutrality except not playing. Once you’re in the fray, you’ve taken a side. Even if you think you haven’t, people will label you under whichever side according to their bias and interests. Neutrality takes a very long time to regain. Think carefully before leaping.

    I believe China should maintain a relatively disinterested on world issues unless it really affects us. There is nothing wrong with abstaining in the UN security council. China should consolidate relations with our Asian neighbors, form a wealthy, influential East Asian sphere together that looks out to the world mostly for economic interests and bridgebuilding efforts, perhaps interspersed by the occasional bout of humanitarian aid. Nothing more. Let the other spheres of the world fight and bicker if they wish, it’s literally not our business.

    One small gripe regarding Chinese diplomacy. It’s too rigid. It’s only working because the diplomacy coming out of the West is so poor. A British diplomat once remarked that talking to a Chinese diplomat was like talking to an answering machine, complete with standard responses down to the exact word. And he’s right. Same with the foreign ministry statements. This sort of mechanical diplomacy will come under heavy criticism in and out of China if the country ever falls under hard times or is forced to make an unpopular decision. The quid pro quo policy of reciprocation is fine, but it needs a more personal, dynamic touch.

  25. May 2nd, 2011 at 07:40 | #25

    The trouble with interventionism is that the hard-power policies of sanctions and military force use significantly undercuts one’s credibility.

    It’s simple logic that if one is so easily prompted to use hard powers, then one has no confidence that one’s policies and systems will work out in the long run naturally.

    Every policy invites a counter policy.

    Every policy invites a criticism that the policy is an attempt to further policies that would otherwise fail.

    By nature, every diplomacy is rooted in a sovereign’s self-interest. But one must be careful of appearance of too much 1 sided self-interest.

    Thus, in the power paradigm of a rising nation, one must be always careful to give weaker parties genuine choices, which is true genuine “autonomy”.

    The problem of interventionism is that it does not give any meaningful choices to weaker parties.

    Even the “carrot-stick” approach implies giving the other party no choices at all, ie. you can take the pathetic looking “carrot” we offer, or you will get beaten with our “stick”.

    The true way is the “straightened hook” approach, as in Chinese proverbs. 🙂

    There is no need to personalize diplomacy, in my opinion.

    It stakes too much personal reputation in the game. It should always be impersonal and rational. Placing too much personal stake into the game will only lead to great disappointments.

  26. May 2nd, 2011 at 08:17 | #26

    I think the underlying miscalculation of many China “experts” is the thesis of “China’s rising status as Superpower”.

    In that, the “experts” fall mostly into the 2 camps, the Pro’s, and the Con’s.

    One side thinks that China will inevitably become a Superpower, while the other thinks that China will not.

    I ask, why?

    Why should there be a “superpower” in the world, when China rises?

    I would envision China to become an “Anti-Superpower”, the ultimate balancer of power in the World, one that uses minimal diplomacy to prevent formation of superpower blocs, and to maintain balance of multipolar world.

    That should be China’s goal.

    While China rises, its influence must be one of counter-balance against all those who seek to upset the balance of the world, to quote Shakespeare.

    China must not wield its power like a sword, but like a shield, to blunt and weather the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

  27. Charles Liu
    May 2nd, 2011 at 09:10 | #27

    Well, I think we all saw what’ on all the TV today, again. If “great world power” means China will attack other countries, invade their sovereignty without impunity – then I hope China will never be a great world power.

  28. May 2nd, 2011 at 10:33 | #28

    Along the same line as what Charles just wrote,

    Today, US and other Western nations are cheering the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

    True, death of such a murderer does deserve some celebration. However, in the grand scheme of things, it does not matter if a dozen Bin Laden dies.

    They striked on 9/11, because of some need for revenge for their perceived grievances against the West.

    The West strikes back at them for 9/11.

    And then, they will strike back at the West for killing their leaders.

    Revenge never stops.

    *I recall Han Wu Emperor marshalled the army of China to sack the ancestral burial grounds of the Xiongnu in retribution for invading China, but that didn’t stop the Xiongnu.

    Revenge always invites more revenge.

    China must avoid the cycle of revenge as much as possible.

    While some times revenge is necessary as a tool of geopolitical power, little revenges can lead to big revenges.

    And victories are often merely preludes to more revenge.

  29. May 2nd, 2011 at 11:08 | #29

    You guys might be interested in this other Yan Xuetong article in a foreign policy paper:

    Tsinghua University Professor, Yan Xuetong: “Xun Zi’s Thoughts on International Politics and Their Implications

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.