HONG KONG — There’s no question that Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” is a brilliant strategy manual.
Everyone from Oracle’s Larry Ellison to the New England Patriots’ Coach Belichick has cited the ancient general’s maxims.
Even Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf was a Sun Tzu devotee.
But when it comes to China’s foreign policy, Sun Tzu’s theories is leading China astray.
That’s one of the intriguing arguments put forward by Edward Luttwak, a China expert and military strategist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in his new book, “The Rise of China vs. the Logic of Strategy.”
Luttwak argues that by bullying its neighbors and resorting too often to deception, China is suffering the shortcomings of ancient strategic ideas. These practices, he says, have generated resentment toward China.
In a conversation with GlobalPost, Luttwak explains why he thinks Chinese leaders would be wise to shed Sun Tzu’s theories if they want to build better relations with the outside world.
China and The Art of (losing) War
Photo by AFP/Getty Images
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Afghanistan knows how to welcome you back after a six-month absence.
While waiting in Dubai for my flight into Afghanistan, I learned that our plane was still stuck on the ground in Kandahar during a Taliban rocket attack, and would be delayed while the airfield was locked down.
Back to Afghanistan as America ends its longest war (VIDEO)
Photos and story by Ben Brody for GlobalPost
One year after releasing a statement warning the international community of the impending crisis in Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city, Amnesty International has released new satellite images showing the city before and after the catastrophic events of the past year.
The before and after photos consist of seven images of three Aleppo neighborhoods, take over a nine-month period from September 2012 to May 2013.
Syria fired ballistic missiles on its largest city in February. This is what it looks like now
Photos courtesy of Amnesty International
NAHARIYA, Israel — On Thursday, four out of six beds in the pediatric intensive care unit at the Western Galilee Hospital were filled.
In one bed was an 8-year-old Ethiopian boy who’d been mauled by a hyena, half his head caught in the animal’s jaws. After languishing for five months in an Addis Ababa facility with his skull exposed, an American volunteer with a Jewish philanthropy secured the boy’s transfer to Israel.
Nearby, a 12-year-old girl lay almost unresponsive. She was gaunt and gray beneath the thin sheet that covered her. To help her cope with postoperative pain — her back and torso had been mangled by an explosion — she was attached to a morphine drip.
On the other side of the room an elevated crib enclosed a 3-year-old girl who wailed and whimpered for her mother. A nurse ran her hands through the girl’s hair to try to soothe her, but there was no quieting.
Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama.
It may sound like this ward belongs in Dante’s Purgatorio, but in fact, a half-hour south of Israel’s northern border, it is part of a battlefield that’s destroying Syria.
"We are seeing shrapnel wounds, bullet wounds, burns. We’re seeing war on these kids," said Dr. Zeev Zonis, the tall, bear-like man who heads the ward. The Red Cross regularly visits the patients, who are considered "protected persons."
In an ICU on the Israel-Syria border, ‘we’re seeing war on these kids’
Photo from Western Galilee Hospital
NUBA MOUNTAINS, Sudan — Just 16-years-old, with a slight frame, Taqueen lies in the same hospital bed he has for a month, a grimy plaster cast covering his left leg from hip to toe.
In April, a Russian-made Antonov cargo plane, converted into a crude bomber by the Sudanese air force, dropped a bomb that injured the young boy.
“When I heard the Antonov engine, I tried to run,” Taqueen said. “But the bomb dropped, and the shrapnel caught me — and I fell.”
Deployed by the central government of Omar al-Bashir in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, the Antonov bombers wreak havoc on the lives of residents of the Nuba Mountains, a rugged, hill-covered region in South Kordofan state on the border with South Sudan.
Africa’s hidden war: Scores killed, displaced in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains
Sebastian Junger tells Terry Gross about the day the late photographer Tim Hetherington started taking pictures of sleeping soldiers while the two were filming Restrepo:
It was a very hot day, boring day. We hadn’t been in a fire fight for at least a week, perhaps more, and the guys were just zoned out. … [S]oldiers kind of sleep as much as they can. One of them said to me, “You know, if you sleep half the time it’s only a six-month deployment,” and so they were sleeping in the middle of the day, sprawled on the ground in their little bunks … and the flies were buzzing around and Tim was scuttling around photographing them. I was like, “Tim, man, what are you doing?” For me it was the ultimate situation where nothing’s going on journalistically and you can just space out and he said, “Don’t you get it? All the photos you see of soldiers, they’re all geared up and they’ve got their weapons and they’re all tough-looking, but when they’re asleep they look like what they really are which are little boys.” And they did: they all looked like they’re about 10-years-old, so vulnerable, you know. And no nation wants to think that their soldiers are vulnerable, but of course they are and Tim saw that.
Nevalla, Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, 2008. © Tim Hetherington via the International Center for Photography
GlobalPost and Tracey Shelton won a Polk Award for coverage in Syria.
PHOTOS: Life and death in Aleppo
From her latest report:
Mohammed Ali, a rebel fighter for Suqur al-Sham brigade, was among the first to enter the cells to free the prisoners.
"There was a state of panic and fear among the prisoners," he said as he walked through the now empty and largely destroyed cells.
"They had undergone the worst kinds of torture. As we entered, the regime guards had conducted field executions, shooting on some prisoners who were screaming for help and asking us to save them."
Syria: What it’s like inside a government prison
Photos by Tracey Shelton/GlobalPost
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. — It’s been a bad week for Washington’s image.
First, a leaked Justice Department memoprovided a handy legal framework to justify the US government’s killing of its own citizens without even a semblance of due process. Then a report by a respected international body alleged, in excruciating detail, gross violations of international law by the United States and its allies in a process known as “extraordinary rendition.”
And Tuesday night, The New York Times website revealed the location of a previously secret drone base in Saudi Arabia from where the United States launches strikes against Al Qaeda militants inside Yemen — including US citizens.
The revelations come at a particularly sensitive time for Barack Obama. As he heads into his second term, the president is crafting a new foreign policy agenda with a brand new team. Confirmation hearings for Obama’s pick for the Pentagon were very contentious, and the nominee, Chuck Hagel, hasn’t yet been confirmed.
Another key post, head of the Central Intelligence Agency, is also likely to be hard going for the White House, with John Brennan set to face the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.
Analysis: A war on terror where the rules don’t apply
Photo by AFP/Getty Images
The United Nations-Arab League peace envoy for Syria said the conflict has reached “unprecedented levels of horror.”
"The country is breaking up before everyone’s eyes," Lakhdar Brahimi told a closed door meeting of the UN Security Council, the BBC reported. ”Only the international community can help, and first and foremost the Security Council.”
Syrian crisis: UN’s Brahimi warns of ‘unprecedented levels of horror’
Photo by AFP/Getty Images
Outgoing US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta formally announced Thursday that the military’s ban on women in combat roles will come to an end, allowing female soldiers to move into jobs previously closed to them.
"Our military is more capable, and our force is more powerful, when we use all of the great diverse strengths of the American people" said Panetta, in comments before the official announcement, according to the Associated Press.
PHOTOS: Women in combat, at home and abroad