The Art of War

by Catherine Austin Fitts

This Thursday, I will be speaking with Dr. Victor H. Mair, Professor of Chinese Language and Literature at the University of Pennsylvania about his marvelous translation of the classic military treatise, The Art of War: Sun Zi’s Military Methods.

One of the questions of greatest interest to our subscribers is “What are the best books to help me understand and navigate in the 21st century?” The Art of War is one of them. It’s opening lines read:

“Warfare is a great affair of state.

The field of life and death.

The way of preservation and extinction.

It can not be left unexamined.”

The Art of War is an ancient Chinese text, written by a collection of authors during a period known as the late Warring States (475-221 BC). It was translated into French in the 18th century and into English in the 19th century. Its importance in the teaching of military strategy in the West was established after America’s defeat in Vietnam and reflects the growing importance of China in global geopolitics and the competition for natural resources.

Today, The Art of War is recommended reading throughout the US. military and intelligence community. Reflecting the integration of military and intelligence warfare with economic competition for natural resources and markets, the text is increasingly also recommended in business, law and other professions.

As Professor Mair writes, “The Sun Zi advocates adherence to the Way (Tao/Dao) as the chief criterion for victory in battle. But what exactly is the Way as applied to warfare?” Dr. Mair is uniquely qualified to address this question. His knowledge of Taoism is extensive, having translated Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching as well as parables and tales of Chuang Tzu.

We are all navigating what I call “the central banking-warfare model.” As warfare grows both more pervasive and intimate in our economy and culture, we are each called to understand it, practice it, or live with those who do. As change accelerates, we revisit the nature of power and conflict and ponder how to manage it with the least loss of life and resources. Indeed, for understanding how to avoid war, there is no better place to start than with Sun Zi.

This will be a fascinating conversation with a gifted scholar. I hope you will join us.

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