Inclusive strategies for restraining aggressionlessons from classical Chinese culture

R. James Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


An extensive body of Chinese philosophical thought suggests a redefinition of international security in terms of a non-threatening formulation of Comprehensive Security. In one culture viewed as particularly 'strategic', i.e. Chinese culture, we find strong traditions of inclusive, non-aggressive forms of security. Mo Tzu and the school of Mohism (5th-3rd centuries BC) developed a rigorous body of thought and practice based on universal regard, the protection of small states, and disesteem for aggressive wars. This is paralleled by a more general emphasis in the classical Chinese philosophical and political tradition on the means of civilisation (wen) over the methods of brute warfare (wu). In modem regional crises such as the dispute between Taiwan and the PRC (People's Republic of China), it is crucial to engage the wen (cultured) aspect of the political tradition. In this context, deterrence of aggression by reciprocal threats is only a short-term solution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-46
Number of pages16
JournalAsian Philosophy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1998


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