China and the Game of Go

Here's an interesting monograph from a former U.S. diplomat examining China's attitude towards foreign policy. The author spends a long time talking about the differences between the game of Chess and the game of Go, using that as a sort of metaphor for the differences in political strategy between east and west.


I'm not sure I agree with everything he says here. For example, is soccer really that much more strategic than american football? They're both pretty boring to me...

Unfortunately, he is right about American foreign policy. We are still fighting every diplomatic and military skirmish as if it were World War II-- as if all we have to do is find out who the bad guys are and then deploy an overwhelming force. The Chinese leaders, on the other hand, are pragmatists and they are taking it slow.

Maybe religious differences are the real issue. Christianity, or at the least the mutations of it that we have today, encourages people to think that they are fighting a personal holy war against evil. The native religions of China emphasized passitivity in the face of fate, and contemplation. I know that a lot of people, east and west, are not religious, but that doesn't matter. Religion still shapes people's thinking.


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