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Thread: Regarding the concept of Shi.

  1. #61
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    Just give us a review when you're done.

  2. #62
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    A really good use of Shi at the national level is FDR's America in WW2. Of the major combatants she had one of the smallest armies per capita. Instead she correctly recognised that her massive industrial power, resources, and argiculture could be used by her allies to bear the brunt of the fighting allowing her to win the war both enriched and with relatively few losses in comparison.

    Although FDR's weak spot for communists and Truman's insanity kept the victory from beign total, it was still an unprecedented achievment. Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Colonial Empires were all defeated, America went from a global economic player, to the only player. She went from isolationist to global player. America really did win WW2, while the other players at best didn't lose.

  3. #63
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    You understand this?

  4. #64
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    Shi is too complicated for my Indian mind!

    I await anxiously for enlightenment from better souls since I feel it is important to understand it.


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

    HAKUNA MATATA

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    I wont say I understand it, I have a westen mind after all. However what I think I understand is that with Shi should should seek to get the maxium possible benifit from every tool at your disposal. Even if this means making sacrafices in some areas in order to achieve your long term goals.

    If I am understadnign it right, Shi is simply a a three letter way of saying cost/benifit analysis.

    Shi in a current example would be the Iraqi insurgents. They know they will take a beating vs coalition forces, but also know that as long as they can kill a few Americans consistently and remain a force in beign the US will leave. They are trading their blood for time.

    Reagen would rightly beconsidered a master of this concept. He set out to win the unwinnable war and did it. He correctly saw the weakenss of the USSR was it's economy and locked it into a race it could not win. He also forsaw that his build up would also wiped away the ghosts of Vietnam, set the ground work for the information age, grow our economy, restore America's leadership in the world, and cement our technological edge.

    All it cost us was deficiet spending and a few hundred lives in order to prove we were engaged and not just talking. Ie Lebanon, Grenada, Lybia, Pershings in Europe, and the Tanker Wars proved that America was not going into an isolation phase

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    zraver,

    perhaps not "cost-benefit", it seems to take the maxim of sun-tzu into account: "the highest excellence is not fighting 100 battles and winning, it is winning 100 battles without fighting."

    the book i referenced said that this thinking is beyond clausewitzian theory, in that instead of seeking to apply maximum force to win a battle of annihilation, the chinese prefer to use MINIMUM force to win the war.

    but i should finish the book before i spout off further.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    min/max force is a flawed concept, what a situation calls for is the proper aplication of force to achieve the greatest benifit for the least cost to your self.

    it also involves the concpet of center of gravities (social, political, military, industrial, energy, transportation, international/alliance, personal etc as the case may be) both your own and your foes.

    It also involves knowing what the goal(s) are for both you and your foe.

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    Came by mail a few weeks ago, I'm still trying to read it. It's certainly a hard read, not by its wording, but by its concepts. It tries to explain weird Chinese behavior over the past 60 years by Shi Strategy and claims that the Chinese are like the French; they have a very strange way of thinking.

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    inst,

    i've finished the book. anything you care to discuss? i personally think the authors try a bit too hard to shoe-horn every chinese military action into the framework of shih.

    to begin with, here's something i've been meaning to ask the good colonel for some while now.

    the book mentions how we see in the chinese civil war, the korean war, the '62 war, the '69 war (with the soviets), and the '79 war all fit within aspects of shih military thinking.

    the book especially emphasizes some of the identical characteristics of chinese military action in the latter four wars: china enters the war, does its best to pummel the enemy, and then withdraws, in part to confuse the enemy's decision-makers, as well in light of some greater political objective (the authors mention a fear of superpower- mostly USSR- meddling in a prolonged continuation of the conflict, especially for the '62, '69, and '79 wars).

    now in the other recently locked thread, col yu mentioned that in the '62 war, the chinese ran past their logistic capabilities. come to think of it, wasn't this somewhat akin to what happened in the korean war, as well? the chinese tried to outrun the 8th army, leaving their artillery behind.

    now here's the question- if the '62 PLA was the cream of the crop, and also given that the chinese also had the instructional experience of the korean war- why did the PLA make such an elemental error in combat?

    what i'm trying to figure out is if the PLA's actions in that war, at least, were forced by military considerations (we ran out of supplies, indians are coming), or if it was a pre-meditated outcome of PLA/CCP political/military thinking of shih.

    or was it both?
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    now here's the question- if the '62 PLA was the cream of the crop, and also given that the chinese also had the instructional experience of the korean war- why did the PLA make such an elemental error in combat?
    Several reasons.

    1) They didn't plan for such an event. It was outside their operational experience and planning in that they expected stiff resistence. They had that upfront but what they didn't plan for was the line collapse and no fall back.

    2) Their tactical success created battle momentum that had to be exploited or you let your victory slip away, ie, they punched through, it would be stupid to stop so that the Indians could withdraw in good order and create another line.

    3) Maintaining contact with the enemy. They were searching for the enemy. Once they overcome the initial lines, they were rushing forward to find an enemy that was never there.

    You have to remember that all Chinese doctrine is based upon Battles of Annihilation. Their brilliant successes at the LOC, no matter how impressive, was not a Battle of Annihilation. They went looking for that battle and went further and faster than they should.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    what i'm trying to figure out is if the PLA's actions in that war, at least, were forced by military considerations (we ran out of supplies, indians are coming), or if it was a pre-meditated outcome of PLA/CCP political/military thinking of shih.

    or was it both?
    I'm more inclinded to believe that they saw the situation and created the propaganda to cover the reality, much like Vo Ngyuen Giap did at Tet.

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    Sorry for the bump, but I owe you guys a review on the book I bought.

    It's been a while, but the book basically overdoes the illustrations and doesn't actually argue or exemplify its point.

    The concept, though, seems to translate best as "strategic potential", which highlights what happened in Manchuria during the Chinese Civil War. While inflation was slight during the immediate post-war era, the Communists successfully converted it to hyperinflation, causing the economic collapse of the KMT regime. The underlying trend might have existed before then, but it took Communist action to create the terminal collapse.

    Strategy based on Shi, as opposed to Li, is based on potentialities; when Go is brought in as a metaphor, Go is about placing stones in ways that your opponent does not properly comprehend, to create hidden potentialities that can be converted to real advantage. Chess is also a better description, a Shi-based strategy is based more of positional play, creating and exploiting potentialities, while focusing on total piece value, on the other hand, is a Li-based strategy.

    If you look at China's rivalry with the United States, the United States has a preponderance of force and advantages, but these are Li; i.e, they exist instantaneously and can change (and have changed since Bush blundered in the War on Terror). China exploits its Shi, a power of potentiality, by leveraging huge economic growth (of course, the United States with its continued population growth and high ecological capacity has Shi of its own, but that's a story for another time).

    Shi, in any case, is an ambiguous term, and Francois Jullien wrote a better book on the polysemy of the idea and concept. It shows the standard failure of logic and concrete definitions; i.e, the meaning of the word is based on its combined context and meaning, not based on its eternal meaning itself, which can change with the lexicon and how it's reused, see Center of Gravity between physics and Clausewitz, and also the modern US military.


    ===

    One thing people say about Asia is that you always have to think in terms of the first and second derivatives; i.e, the trend and the underlying macrotrend is what's important. Zraver brings up Shi-based strategy far better in the Reagan case; the potentiality for Soviet economic collapse well-existed, it was Reagan's genius to push the Soviets from potential to actuality.

    A Shi-based strategy, or shi-based thinking, then, is an ideology of derivatives; you work on strategic potentials instead of the temporary concrete. The Asian containment web that the US is trying to set up is then a first-derivative strategy, and the Chinese potential to break the containment web is a second-derivative strategy (i.e, coalitions are inherently weak and can be broken at their center of gravity through generous negotiations, see what happened when Nixon connected to China at the cost of Japan, or when Obama broke the ice with Iran at the cost of Israel).
    Last edited by Inst; 29 Oct 15, at 20:05.

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    I can blow this theory right out of the water this second. Tienanmen Square. Deng Xia Peng had to collapase the Chinese economy to keep jobs in China. Rice reserves went down from 2 years to 30 days and China gave away bargain basement prices to keep Japanese factories in China.
    Chimo

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    lol, Inst, welcome back. eight years was a long time for a review :P
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    @ OoE: If you mean the theory is that China has comprehensive strategic advantages over the West, I absolutely agree, insofar as if that had actually existed China would not have fallen to the Mongols and they'd have achieved modernity before the West.

    The strong form is a sort of a straw-man; like everyone else, China chooses between Shi and Li strategy depending on the circumstances and sometimes Shi works better than Li, sometimes Li works better than Shi.

    @ Astralis: I didn't have the guts to condemn the book, essentially, and recently I was rereading up on the notion of Shi and this thread came up again. That said, I have not read Jullien's text on the "shi" concept but strategic potential seems to be the "center" of the polysemy and is the most convenient translation, even if, by being clearly defined, it loses the finesse and ambiguous potential of "shi".

    The important thing is that the Shi-Li dichotomy is merely an analytical framework; good strategies have the fundamental quality of being good, and often they'll exist outside of easy determination via the Shi-Li framework.

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    After so many years, shi means crap all! $billions can turn on a freaking dime. The long term view means crap all meaning your dollars are worth crap if you don't rush to defend it.

    Shi assumes a principal that actually never happenned before. A National bankruptcy! We did not allow Mexico nor Greeze to declare bankruptzy for a reason. And China refused to declear bankruptzy for the exact same reason.

    Needless to say, the theory is extremely flaweed.
    Chimo

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