Page 6 of 6 FirstFirst 123456
Results 76 to 86 of 86

Thread: Regarding the concept of Shi.

  1. #76
    Contributor
    Join Date
    17 Dec 06
    Posts
    714
    My position is less that Shi is flawed than Shi is lexical; i.e, you say tomato, they say xihongshi. The concept is not something that does not exist in the West; it's just something that is somewhat difficult to translate, and with many Chinese terms, not easily adaptable to English (Shi is also time, shi is the Chinese verb to be, and so on).

    There is a greater emphasis on indirectness in Chinese strategy as opposed to Western or Russian strategy; i.e, the Chinese strategy of using the American corporate sector to keep Western regime changers off their back, but that can't be attributed to Shi; it's more of an issue of how a canny operator makes adequate decisions from a position of weakness.

    The better comparison might be comparing Shi as a Panda-hugger equivalent to the Panda Slugger Michael Pillsbury's fretting over "shashoujian / assassin's mace" weapons, which sound a lot more mysterious and profound than the idiomatic American translation "silver bullet". Of course the adequate translation needs to be made, but simply talking in terms of strategic potential can give us 80% of it.
    Last edited by Inst; 31 Oct 15, at 07:22. Reason: changed an erroneous less to more

  2. #77
    Contributor
    Join Date
    17 Dec 06
    Posts
    714
    Just as a counter-example to the whole Shi / Weiqi thing:

    http://scholars-stage.blogspot.com/2...chess-too.html

    The whole Weiqi as strategy thing reeks of orientalism and essentialism; while it can be illuminating in describing the tendency towards indirect responses in China (i.e, attack Vietnam to screw with the Soviet Union, pivot West when the US pivots East), it's potentially overdescriptive, as OoE mentions with counter-examples.

  3. #78
    Military Professional
    Join Date
    06 Aug 03
    Posts
    29,353
    Quote Originally Posted by Inst View Post
    Just as a counter-example to the whole Shi / Weiqi thing:

    http://scholars-stage.blogspot.com/2...chess-too.html

    The whole Weiqi as strategy thing reeks of orientalism and essentialism; while it can be illuminating in describing the tendency towards indirect responses in China (i.e, attack Vietnam to screw with the Soviet Union, pivot West when the US pivots East), it's potentially overdescriptive, as OoE mentions with counter-examples.
    Eight years after the fact and have been provened wrong, so why did you bring this up?

    The Chinese right now are trying force on unaffordable force strategy, ie, the USN can't be everywhere at once ... and the Pakistani Navy will tye down the Indian Navy. They were proven wrong as the USN stepped their force structures and their patrol schedules.
    Chimo

  4. #79
    Contributor
    Join Date
    17 Dec 06
    Posts
    714
    Actually, here you're wrong. First, it depends on how you look at the ECS / SCS disputes; if you look at the Asian pivot as first move and the ECS / SCS as responses, it doesn't seem to be such a big mistake. The principle is initiative; were you actually expecting the Chinese just to sit down and beg the United States not to redeploy too much of the USN to the Western Pacific? Was there a chain of decisions that would have led the United States to have let the Chinese establish a sphere of influence in the Western Pacific region unhindered and unconditionally?

    If you look at it as a type of Fabian tactic, i.e, the creation of defensive positions in East Asia, while simultaneously trying to pivot West, towards West Asia and Eurasia (OBOR), it doesn't seem to have worked out too badly; the "containment" in the ECS and SCS is less dangerous than strong efforts to sabotage Chinese efforts to move West, and incidentally, that's difficult because China's OBOR strategy is oriented towards the Russian sphere of influence, and with recent Ukraine tensions Russia is increasingly pro-Chinese.

    The other aspect to look at is that the unaffordable force strategy is not based on China alone; i.e, at the same time, Russia is either committing aggression or responding to aggression in Ukraine and Syria, while ISIL had temporarily overrun important parts of Iraq. So the United States is facing security threats in 3 different regions, and rebalancing towards one region makes the US vulnerable in the others. Something's got to give, and for a while that was Putin's insurgents running ramshod across Eastern Ukraine and ISIL barbarians raping and enslaving across Syria and Iraq.

    IMO, the actual situation is that the United States is neither as weak as it may look nor as strong as it pretends to be. For example, if you look at the 12-mile FONOP, China actually did something similar in Alaska a couple of weeks back, so its whining seems to be more theatrics than actual fear or offense. Beyond that, if you look at the bomber violation of China's ADIZ, that was just a B-52 jumping in and out of the edge of ADIZ. With those two examples, what's actually going on is that the US is trying to use the minimal force necessary to achieve the maximum credibility, but if you look at it closely, the fact that it's doing so pokes holes in attempts to claim such commitment.

    That said, there are a couple of things that can still go wrong for China. For instance, Turkey is financing ISIS and is making a huge deal out of the Uighur issue. The US broke through its 3-opponent problem by creating a sanctions deal with Iran, so potentially an unaffordable force strategy could fail when the third-prong of pressure backs off. Russia in Syria is shutting down the FSA, but once they burn through the FSA, ISIS will be next, with US opponents now fighting each other. Russia itself could drop out of competition if it decides to capitulate to Western pressure, but for now it seems to be intent on its anti-Western course. China has economic problems right now and can potentially fall into a greater recession than anticipated, and TPP isn't helping, as it's ratified and RCEP is still in the negotiations phase. Taiwan, despite its economic interlinkage with China, could choose to go TI in the next 4 years, which are critical because Beijing doesn't have much it can really do if Taiwan declares TI, and it has way too much to lose from a half-baked assault to make the threat credible.

    That said, while there are a lot of ways things can go wrong for Zhongnanhai, things are doing a bit better than par, considering the US's internal focus and missteps over the past few years. And there are always unpredictable factors that could play to China's advantage; i.e, China was the biggest beneficiary of the 9/11 attacks because the China hawks became Afghanistan and Iraq hawks, to the US's detriment, with ISIS incorporated as a virtual state, there could be a new macroterrorist attack on American soil that would distract the United States from being able to focus on Asia again. Another factor is global economic weakness; while China itself is relatively frail, with rising corporate debt, the United States, despite years of QE, has not fully recovered and corporate debt has also risen from pre-GFC levels. The fracking sector is a mess, and if bankruptcies begin to become profligate in that sector, we could have a minor financial shock. And Shinzo Abe's popularity in Japan is beginning to fall, he will be in office for a while yet, but there's always the risk inherent in Japanese remilitarization; i.e, Abe's predecessors could not choose a pro-China policy because Japan was dependent on the United States for security. A remilitarized Japan that can depend on itself, on the other hand, can choose to reject American influence and go neutral, or even jump into the Chinese camp, as the South Koreans are doing.
    ===

    That said, I dragged Shi out because I thought I had something to add to it. While I think I am correct on Shi being the Panda-Hugger equivalent of Assassin's Mace, it is also wrong to dismiss it as having no existence or validity in Chinese internal discourse; the issue is more of cultural analysis; while it is roughly racist to ascribe other cultures essentialism (the French are lazy, the English are stiff-lipped, the Germans have an addiction to following orders), it's also denying realities to acknowledge cultural traits, the French working less hours than other nationalities, for example, but showing higher per-hour productivity.

  5. #80
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
    Join Date
    27 Jan 06
    Location
    DPRK, Demokratik People's Republik of Kalifornia
    Posts
    23,782
    Is this what Shi is? 勢

    As I understand it, it is "momentum" in sports parlance. A weaker team/player could overcome a more powerful opponent by riding the momentum of the game. This could be created by a timely good play, a bad mistake, the crowd, or just the overall confidence (or the lack thereof) of the players involved.

    CCP was a master at controlling the momentum of the game during Chinese Civil War. It used psy-ops to weaken the confidence of the Nationalist troops. No one wanted to fight because no one believed in what he was fighting for. Were they fighting for the people? Chiang? Themselves? China? Nationalist party? What was the point?

    CCP troops were believers. They believed in fighting for the people and themselves. They believed in the party. They believed in the direction of their China. They had all the confidence in the world when they engaged Nationalist troops.

    We saw that recently when IS took over large parts of Iraq. The Iraqi troops were better armed, better armored, trained by the US Army, and had numerical superiority. But they didn't believe. One loss led to many and the momentum was lost.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

  6. #81
    Contributor Crocodylus's Avatar
    Join Date
    05 Nov 09
    Posts
    308
    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    Is this what Shi is? 勢

    As I understand it, it is "momentum" in sports parlance. A weaker team/player could overcome a more powerful opponent by riding the momentum of the game. This could be created by a timely good play, a bad mistake, the crowd, or just the overall confidence (or the lack thereof) of the players involved.

    CCP was a master at controlling the momentum of the game during Chinese Civil War. It used psy-ops to weaken the confidence of the Nationalist troops. No one wanted to fight because no one believed in what he was fighting for. Were they fighting for the people? Chiang? Themselves? China? Nationalist party? What was the point?

    CCP troops were believers. They believed in fighting for the people and themselves. They believed in the party. They believed in the direction of their China. They had all the confidence in the world when they engaged Nationalist troops.

    We saw that recently when IS took over large parts of Iraq. The Iraqi troops were better armed, better armored, trained by the US Army, and had numerical superiority. But they didn't believe. One loss led to many and the momentum was lost.
    Exactomundo! IS believes in what they are doing. If the US and allies are wishy-washy in their dealings with ISIL, but ISIL is 100% committed to their vision, when guess who's going to win in the end? The only way for ISIL to back down is for its followers and supporters to lose faith in their vision - and for the US and allies to provide a feasible alternative at the same time, even if it is not exactly what D.C. would consider feasible. Islam is still king in the ME and any post-endgame peace proposal has to take this into account. Full Westernization - complete with women's and LGBT rights - is out of the question! Apparently D.C. is beginning to realize this and it hurts, especially since Iraq was peaceful under Saddam, even with the brutality of his rule.

    This can be considered as shi, as one side is taking advantage of the circumstances to improve his position versus the other.

    I heard that shi is what is often called "circumstantial advantage". That is, relative positioning is what brings power, not innate personal characteristics. This can be seen when one compares Chess and Go (also known as 圍棋 - weiqi). In Chess, each piece has certain powers vested in itself, so that some pieces are more mobile than others, which leads to a contrived system of piece valuation, with a pawn being worth the least at 1 unit (point). In Go, however, all pieces - known in this game as "stones" - are of equal value and the value of a stone is determined by its position relative to other stones. In other words, Go is a game of groups, while Chess is a game of pieces and it can be said that each piece possesses a "personality", from the humble movements of the pawn to the wide-ranging movements of the queen. Of course the pieces on a chessboard still have to work as a team, but it is one piece that brings checkmate. In Go, each stone is the same and remains stationary once played (unless removed from the board as a capture), so teamwork is required to influence the course of the game in even the slightest measure. It is possible for one play to decide the game, but that is only because the surrounding positions - consisting of groups of stones - on the board make it so.

    To give a real life example, one can say that it is not the king or dictator himself that holds power and allows for the exercise thereof, but rather the position per se. In this position the king or dictator can direct those in positions beneath to do as he orders. When the king or dictator is removed from said position, than he is no longer king or dictator and so cannot exercise any organizational control. Otherwise, said person can still exercise the aforementioned power despite being outside that position known as king or dictator.

    One can also say that it is not the badge that gives a policeman his authority, as the badge only serves as indication thereof. Rather, it is the organizational support, in the form of the judicial system, that allows the policeman to do so. Otherwise he is nothing more than a man wearing a police uniform.

  7. #82
    Contributor Crocodylus's Avatar
    Join Date
    05 Nov 09
    Posts
    308
    Quote Originally Posted by Inst View Post
    Just as a counter-example to the whole Shi / Weiqi thing:

    http://scholars-stage.blogspot.com/2...chess-too.html

    The whole Weiqi as strategy thing reeks of orientalism and essentialism; while it can be illuminating in describing the tendency towards indirect responses in China (i.e, attack Vietnam to screw with the Soviet Union, pivot West when the US pivots East), it's potentially overdescriptive, as OoE mentions with counter-examples.
    Let's remember that the Chinese have had a long history of (limited) contact with the West, so Western ways of thinking are not entirely lost on them. Weiqi is a game of long-term strategy - you can't always win with a knockout punch - so all that China is doing at the moment is probably part of a long-term plan to exercise a geopolitical position as world power. The South China Sea issue is one of China securing sea lanes coming from the Middle East, as China can really use that oil. Through progressive accumulation of positional advantages, China can come to exercise strong geopolitical influence over the Western Pacific. Which means that China has some ways to go before exercising any form of hegemony.

    As Zhou En-Lai once replied when asked to comment on the historical legacy of the French Revolution, "It's too soon to tell."

  8. #83
    Military Professional
    Join Date
    06 Aug 03
    Posts
    29,353
    Quote Originally Posted by Crocodylus View Post
    As Zhou En-Lai once replied when asked to comment on the historical legacy of the French Revolution, "It's too soon to tell."
    He was trying to be a smartass while hiding his ignorance.
    Chimo

  9. #84
    Contributor Crocodylus's Avatar
    Join Date
    05 Nov 09
    Posts
    308

    Not so ignorant after all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    He was trying to be a smartass while hiding his ignorance.
    He must have been pretty good at it.

    For us Westerners, the French Revolution has had a defining impact on Western history, which is why just about every high school student in the world studies it in class. For the Chinese, though, it's just one event in a long series of events. They are probably confident that the legacy of the French Revolution will fade away, given enough centuries.

  10. #85
    Military Professional
    Join Date
    06 Aug 03
    Posts
    29,353
    Quote Originally Posted by Crocodylus View Post
    For us Westerners, the French Revolution has had a defining impact on Western history, which is why just about every high school student in the world studies it in class. For the Chinese, though, it's just one event in a long series of events. They are probably confident that the legacy of the French Revolution will fade away, given enough centuries.
    Funny since it was in Paris that Zhou learned about communism.

    Don't fall for that Eastern long view horse crap. Zhou was a man, not a god. He's limited to what he can learn and use in one his own lifetime. There is no way in hell could he learn 2000 years of thinking and stuff it down in a few years.

    The French Revolution spawned Chinese communism. For Zhou to say it's too early to tell is nothing more than horse puckey.
    Chimo

  11. #86
    Senior Contributor Triple C's Avatar
    Join Date
    11 Apr 06
    Location
    Taipei, Taiwan
    Posts
    2,352
    When people say that this-country-or-that takes the long view, it's more often the case that its powers that be decide they can do nothing about something at the present moment and decide to bide their time without letting go of the issue.
    All those who are merciful with the cruel will come to be cruel to the merciful.
    -Talmud Kohelet Rabbah, 7:16.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Random Thoughts on the Mighty Hog - Part 2
    By Shipwreck in forum Military Aviation
    Replies: 219
    Last Post: 12 Dec 17,, 00:10
  2. Why doctrine matters and how to fix it
    By Shek in forum The Staff College
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 22 Jul 07,, 18:37
  3. Mastering China’s Strategic Concept, Shi
    By Ray in forum East Asia and the Pacific
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 28 Dec 05,, 16:40
  4. Bangladesh plays the China card
    By Ray in forum East Asia and the Pacific
    Replies: 136
    Last Post: 17 Oct 05,, 16:14

Share this thread with friends:

Share this thread with friends:

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •