Macunaima nlimm wrote:Here is a legitimate “orientalism”, however: I’m not sure that the Chinese military tradition makes a clear cut decision between tactics and strategy as the Clausewitzian tradition does. It does indeed seem that Tsun Tsu sees warfare in a much more wholistic fashion than the Enlightenment-oriented Clausewitz.
Given this, it’s an open question whether or not your distinction between “tactical” and “strategic” victories is anything other than a philosophical tautology, Condi. Speaking as an anthro, here.
Chinese military tradition, nor any other military tradition in the pre-modern world, didn't make any clear cut distinction between tactics and strategy, due to the simplistic mode of waging war. Occasional mention of or allusion to strategy and tactics pop up, like in the Taktika of Leo VI, but it's the ideas of the author, so no consensus with other authors, unless referencing a prior work.
Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
Sun Tzu's Art of War does try to make a distinction, but as a product of the period, it's not as "scientific" and can be as general or specific depending on the reader's interpretation.
Clausewitz's strategy and tactics and Jomini's grand tactics occurred in an era when warfare was increasing in complexity. Modern Chinese military still references the classics, but not in isolation.
The idea of genius in Clausewitz and Sun Tzu
Does Sun Tzu's The Art of War influence China's military behavior? A case study of the 1962 Sino-India War
Sun Tzu in Contemporary Chinese Strategy