ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Suvolaxmi Dutta ChoudhurySubscribe to RSS - Suvolaxmi Dutta Choudhury

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War through the Prism of Political Realism

The ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu’s treatise The Art of War has been likened to progenies of political realism such as Kautilya’s Arthashastra and Machiavelli’s The Prince. Although political realism as a school of thought in the discipline of international relations developed much later, there are points of similarities between Sun Tzu’s thinking and different strands of realism. This article uses the prism of political realism to view and understand Sun Tzu’s treatise. Such an analysis entails juxtaposing The Art of War with tenets of realism such as confl ictual nature of international relations; political morality as being distinct from personal/religious morality; anarchy as a systemic feature of international politics; preoccupation with power, security, and confl ict; and relative distribution of capabilities.
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