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Thread: Regarding the concept of Shi.

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    Regarding the concept of Shi.

    Regarding the concept of Shi.

    Col, I hope you don’t mind I start a new thread as the old one was getting OT.

    Shi as I understand it is “comprehensive trend” Military action is NOT a politic by another mean but rather an element/action of a “comprehensive trend” / Shi, an initiate mechanism if you will. People who studied Shi will never start threads like FC-1 vs LCA or M1 vs Type 99, etc. Many be some examples will help to share my belief; I am no philosopher so I can be wrong.

    It follows the usage of the phase Chinese comprehensive national power (CNP), Chinese leadership really don’t use the measure GNP and GDP that much, to sum up one’s position, all things much be considered, including soft power of economic, cultural, and influence. The came concept also apply to a military campaign as a subset, once an army started collapse by the trend, no among with start-of-war weaponry can revise the situation, but another good leader such as Ridgeway in the case of Korea war of 1952. The trend is like a tidal wave. Battles or military actions are some items you can help to create a tidal wave, sometimes it works, some times it does not. A great Chinese master is remembered by stratagem not by battlefield success.

    Here are two examples

    1. Chinese civil war. The CCP view while thier were military weak but in the grand scheme of things they were ahead of the KMT, when they launched their Manchuria campaign, or campaign of Shanyang. They considered the fact they had better leadership, greater popular support, greater troop enthusiasm, shorter logistic etc. While on paper KMT would win hands down, they had over a million troops in that area vs 250,000 regular PLA at best and most of KMT troops were well trained and equipped by US army, some of them still enjoy their fresh Burma victory, and they also have air and armor support. Sure PLA lost a few battles at first but they viewed their action not just within the battlefield and they were using events to move the trend from other directions such as by exposing the OPFORCE’s weakness and exploit it.

    The OPFORCE’s weakness is the comprehensive weakness not just military related. In the case of Manchuria, in order to pay for the war, CKS had to print paper money and a lot of them. Thus a huge inflation followed and Mao and the boys were expecting it and count on it to decrease CKS's popluar support. During that time CCP located outside of the Shanghai based market system and were not affected. .

    2. Counter example: The shelling of Jinmen islands, the operationally speaking it is a poltical failure not a military one as PLA was never ordered to carry out an invasion, they were asked to keeping shelling. Most historians agreed that the action was carry out as an initiate to revise the trand of a greater US involvement in defense of TW. In light of the fact after Korean war, PLA was in no condition to carry out an operation to retake the island by force.

    The 1996 “military exercise” also fall into the same catalog as an effort to revives the trend, in the 1996 example, the rise of the DPP in TW politic.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by xinhui; 02 Jun 06, at 01:20.

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    To summarise - in order to make sure I understand the concept properly...

    You are saying that Shi isnt really total war - it is total politics, with war (and the nation's entire assets (population, economics, natural resources)) just another way of achieving the political end.

    Warfare is only one of the ways of manipulating an enemy into defeat and is only seen as part of the answer?

    Please correct me if I have misunderstood the concept (im no philosopher either) Is this theory derived from Sun Tzu? Or does it have a broader base in Chinese/Eastern thought?
    Nemo Me Impune Lacessit - Scottish Motto

    "They that approve a private opinion, call it opinion; but they that dislike it, heresy; and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion” Thomas Hobbes - Leviathan


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    Yes not total war at all. but rather by using all means to move your position to that of advanage. Total war means you kills your enemy. Shi is just moving trends.

    Another example. TW issue. PRC leadership use mostly economic (billions of tax break, special econ zones), offically ended the civil war by a visit by the chairman of KMT to Beijing last year, and culture links to move the trend from that of TI to that of status quo and it is working, Military threat is just one of the elements in the "move". However, folks tends to focus on military actions and missed other elements/moves. Political and econ moves are not a bad thing in today's world (you can debate that) look at how many TWese businessman got rich. China is Japan's largest trade partner and if that is not the case, the Sin0o-Japan relationship could be much much worst.
    Last edited by xinhui; 02 Jun 06, at 01:20.

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    Of course there is a huge Sun Tze feel to it. Sun Tse aruges not going to war, war is the last step. Win by not fighting and by the time you use force, you already won.

    Chapter III, line 2

    Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
    Last edited by xinhui; 01 Jun 06, at 20:16.

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    My brain hurts.

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    Not to talk about mine...

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    It does however put a lot of things in context for me. I've been pondering who's in charge in China right now. Is it the CPC ideology, is it the capitalist movement, or some rejuvenated version of the Mandarins. Infact all these ideologies are used as tools?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers
    My brain hurts.
    Hope it is not from reading my poorly composed posts

    I really need to improve my write skills.

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    Andy, after 10 years working together, your writing is a sense of wonder. It's this Shi concept that got me going around in circles.

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    Sir, I think I might be able to help you out.

    Think Shi as of intangibles. When you study the weaknesses and strengths of the enemy's defensive & offensive capabilities, strategic outlook, tactical outlook like you examine a football team against another team prior to a football game, you look for the intangibles and see how that team could defeat the other team.

    Well, that's my stab at it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blademaster
    Sir, I think I might be able to help you out.

    Think Shi as of intangibles. When you study the weaknesses and strengths of the enemy's defensive & offensive capabilities, strategic outlook, tactical outlook like you examine a football team against another team prior to a football game, you look for the intangibles and see how that team could defeat the other team.

    Well, that's my stab at it.
    Yes, if we use football game as an analyses you can say, someone is in the “Zone”, and no one can stop him now. However, the ticks is now do you enter the zone. That is the question. Just because one is tell (the hard power) that does not mean he will be a totally great basketball player, there are other skills (soft power) that goes with it.
    Last edited by xinhui; 02 Jun 06, at 07:06.

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    Does'nt Shi also mean "situational awareness".

    Cheers!...on the rocks!!

  13. #13
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    The thing that I can't wrap my head around is "how the hell do you manage trends?"

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by xinhui
    Yes, if we use football game as an analyses you can say, someone is in the “Zone”, and no one can stop him now. However, the ticks is now do you enter the zone. That is the question. Just because one is tell (the hard power) that does not mean he will be a totally great basketball player, there are other skills (soft power) that goes with it.
    In the short term, I can see that. You read the enemy. How do you do it over the long term?

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    Using the Taiwan example, I think the concept is to manage the economic trends through tax breaks etc, which in turn affects the political trends (mutual benefits of trade etc) and so on.

    It's a mind-f*** though
    Nemo Me Impune Lacessit - Scottish Motto

    "They that approve a private opinion, call it opinion; but they that dislike it, heresy; and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion” Thomas Hobbes - Leviathan


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