China's historical grand strategy: defensive or offensive?


Crang

New Member
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No, I'm just trying to set the record straight. Don't talk about politics here, we're trying to get the historical facts right. So don't use examples carelessly. I mean, look Copenhagen is linked to Malmo, hence Copenhagen is a part of southern Sweden?? Use your examples correctly, otherwise people will misread your writing.
Look, this is a very pedantic and worthless argument to be having here. I'm just trying to say, you carelessly said Viet and Tai peoples were kicked out of Shanghai. That's a dangerous thing to say (because Shanghai is totally not relevant here) because people might start quoting you and saying how Shanghai doesn't belong to China. You have to be careful in these topics as things can go wrong very quickly. You have to be precise when it matters.
 

tamsen_ikard

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Registered Member
Look, this is a very pedantic and worthless argument to be having here. I'm just trying to say, you carelessly said Viet and Tai peoples were kicked out of Shanghai. That's a dangerous thing to say (because Shanghai is totally not relevant here) because people might start quoting you and saying how Shanghai doesn't belong to China. You have to be careful in these topics as things can go wrong very quickly. You have to be precise when it matters.
I said their original homeland was in Yangtze River valley, which can be considered central China, which also includes Shanghai. And unlike you, I have faith in the Chinese people to destroy anyone that dares to question China's control of its borders. So, no worries about losing land.

Anyways, you are what you grow up in. Maybe you are still very much worried about how others think about China. But be assured, China is strong and it will be stronger.

And as I originally said, China will expand much much more than where it is right now. What belongs to China is only dependent on how powerful it is. That's all it is. I have faith that China will become as rich as Europe and Japan and will eventually become the dominant power in east Asia. China will not have to take over Vietnam and South East Asia. it can control them as client states. And slowly Chinese wealth and cultural power will slowly convert South East Asia to a Chinese speaking region few centuries from now.
 

Hendrik_2000

Brigadier
No, you're just trolling by presenting an extremely distorted view of history.

As I have said already, Song's neighbors were highly aggressive. China was fragmented after the fall of the Tang dynasty, and although Song managed to gain historical recognition as the "official" Chinese state, the reality was that Xixia, Liao, and Dali were also heirs of the Tang civilization, and they were all locked in military and political struggles for dominance against each other.

By mentioning only Song's military actions and presenting it as aggressive, you are deliberately trying to fan nationalism among the posters here.
Actually Song dynasty founder emperor Taizu is formerly a general and he get fed up with repeating coup by strong military men He should know since he is one of them. So he purposedly forbid military men from running the country. Instead he select confucian scholar as minister and aide to the emperor So basically he demiliterize China and concentrate his effort on economic and intellectual persuit China did achieve the golden era in Song dynasty, the population double, Compass and printing block as well as gun powder was invented during this time. Song enjoy peace for 200 years. So song is military weak but economically,culturally prosperous
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Some Chinese dynasty is indeed expansionist like Han and paradoxically non Han dynasty of Yuan and Qing are the biggest empire builder. So china can thank both Yuan for Yunnan, Tibet, Guizhou, And Qing for Xinjiang.Manchuria,Ney Mongolia

If China ever expand it will be southward after short interlude by western colonialism Chinese immigration to the south is resuming again. Northern Burma, Northern Laos , Cambodia even Malaysia and Singapore are now the destination of Chinese immigration.
 
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LawLeadsToPeace

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Actually Song dynasty founder emperor Taizu is formerly a general and he get fed up with repeating coup by strong military men He should know since he is one of them. So he purposedly forbid military men from running the country. Instead he select confucian scholar as minister and aide to the emperor So basically he demiliterize China and concentrate his effort on economic and intellectual persuit China did achieve the golden era in Song dynasty, the population double, Compass and printing block as well as gun powder was invented during this time. Song enjoy peace for 200 years. So song is military weak but economically,culturally prosperous
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

Some Chinese dynasty is indeed expansionist like Han and paradoxically non Han dynasty of Yuan and Qing are the biggest empire builder. So china can thank both Yuan for Yunnan, Tibet, Guizhou, And Qing for Xinjiang.Manchuria,Ney Mongolia

If China ever expand it will be southward after short interlude by western colonialism Chinese immigration to the south is resuming again. Northern Burma, Northern Laos , Cambodia even Malaysia and Singapore are now the destination of Chinese immigration.
I'm just adding on to the part about the "demilitarization to weaken military influence". The Song implemented a "system of rotation for army leaders and swept away all opposition" and "ensured that the civil service henceforth enjoyed a higher status than the army by acting as their supervisory body" (
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Max Demian

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Khithans of Liao, were a Mongolian people from whom Northern China got its European name Cathay. Even to this day, Russians call the Chinese Khithans.

Khithans were semi-nomadic, and partook both in agricultural and nomadic lifestyles. Their vast multi-ethnic empire governed not only over a Chinese populace in Northern China, but also over other ethnicities such as the Jurchen. They established five capitals (the Supreme Capital, the Eastern Capital, the Western Capital and the Souther Capital). Of these only the Western and Southern were south of the great wall.

According to J.K. Fairbank:
As studied by K. A. Wittfogel (Wittfogel and Feng,1949) and others, the Liao empire, as it called itself, was a dual state: its southern section encompassed 16 prefectures of North China (out of some 300 in the Song empire), and these were governed in the Chinese style through institutions of civil bureaucracy inherited from the Tang. The much larger northern part of the Qidan domain was governed by men on horseback as before. Thus, while the Qidan emperor’s officials for the southern area were being recruited through a classical examination system, the mounted archers of the north were being mobiized and trained to serve in his elite guard, the ordo (from which derives our term “horde”). Eventually a dozen ordos were set up in separate areas, totaling perhaps 600,000 horsemen, a mobile shock force held in reserve.

In all the quotations of Chinese officials from the era, the Liao and the Xi Xia are spoken of as barbarians.
 

Max Demian

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Following the peace treaty with the Liao in 1005 and the Xi Xia in 1006, the Song passively watched the Tanguts of Xi Xia grow in power. It wasn't until 1038 that the relations took a nosedive, when Li Yuanho declared himself Emperor of Great Xia. The Song were enraged by such a brazen move from a western barbarian state who they considered their suzerain and put a ransom on Yuanho's head. Here is an interesting analysis from the book:

Both the Song and the Xi Xia were the weaker powers in the triangular relationships with the Liao. Balance-of-power logic suggests that both states should ally against the stronger Liao. This did not happen, however, mainly because the Confucian culture of hierarchy impeded rational policymaking. The Song court saw Xi Xia independence as rebellion of a vassal state and refused to recognize it, let along making it an ally. Had the Song made an alliance with the Tanguts, China’s security environment might have substantially improved. But the cultural legacy of Confucian hierarchy made the alliance unthinkable for Song officials. In this case, cultural variable supplements structural realism by explaining behaviors contrary to structural logic.

Unfortunately for the Song, their military adventures against the Xi Xia were a failure. The Liao took advantage of Song's military setbacks and applied diplomatic pressure which resulted in a new treaty of 1042 whereby the Song agreed to increase their payments to the Liao from 100k taels of silver to 200k, and from 200k bolts of silk to 300k in exchange for peace with the Xi Xia. It is interesting to note that both the Song and the Liao treated the Xi Xia as their vassal.

“Ever since Yuanhao rebelled, we have dispatched several contingents of troops, yet without success. Today, our border defense outlays totaled 10 million units. More than 100,000 people have been killed since the war started. Thus, since antiquity, people discussing border affairs have invariably agreed that peace with the barbarians was beneficial, war harmful.” The Song emperor was pleased with his peace
proposal: “This is exactly what I have in mind."


However, this peace was not to last. At one point in the 1060s, the Song raised a staggering 1.25 million troops, causing severe fiscal crises and internal rebellions. In 1069, an official estimated that 83 percent of national income was spent on army maintenance. Emperor Shenzong who ascended the throne in 1067 was determined to wipe away generations of shame and redefine the political map through conquest and expansion. He appointed Wang Anshi as chief councilor. Wang Anshi was a practitioner of realpolitk:

“To achieve victory over the barbarians [Liao and Xi Xia],” he said in a discussion with Emperor Shenzong in 1071, “we only need to develop our domestic statecraft during leisure times. Make our generals and officials competent, our treasury plenty, and our military strong.” In another discussion with the emperor, Wang summarized his intent: “After our treasury is abundant, we can use force.” Responding to the Confucian pacifism argument that virtue should be emphasized over force, he argued that virtue (de) and force (li) must go hand in hand. A virtuous ruler would still have to cater to the barbarians if he was militarily inferior, as attested by the many examples in Chinese history. For Wang, weakness would invite aggression; strength would cause security. Enriching the state would substantially improve the livelihood of the people and make the state strong. However, his comment that “if we are capable of using force, we need not worry about finding a good reason to use it” raised many eyebrows among Confucian-minded officials. Wang was criticized for being anti-Confucian, and some of his policies were often described as Legalist. But Wang’s Confucian credential was strong. As F. W. Mote points out, “His political thought, while incorporating some elements of what we today could call a ‘managed economy,’ was entirely Confucian in its conceptual foundations and in its ideals.”

After dismissing the Wang Anshi in 1076, the emperor shifted the reform focus from "enriching the state" to "strengthening the military". The preparations for war started as early as 1077, by stockpiling weapons in the prefectures bordering the Xi Xia. However, there was opposition to such an aggressive strategy within the court.

In 1078, Zhang Fangping submitted a memorial (composed by the great literary writer Su Shi) forcefully making the case against war. Because war was a dangerous business, it should be resorted to only when there were no other alternatives. Zhang referred to several historical precedents in which excessive use of force led to the demise of dynasties. “Those who like to use force will face demise,” cautioned Zhang. The emperor, though apparently moved, was determined to use force and refused to follow Zhang’s plea for restraint

The Chinese plan was to attack the weaker Xi Xia and then turn its attention to the Liao. The Song assembled an army 300,000 men strong, which when combined with the porters totalled more than 600,000. The Xi-Xia used their strategic depth and adopted a scorched earth strategy. Out of food and starved, the Song army was forced to retreat suffering huge casualties. The Song did capture a few prefectures along the way and were determined to launch a second invasion. But before they could act, the Xi Xia launched a counter attack of some 300,000 soldiers and decimated the Chinese at Yongle. "On hearing the news of the devastating defeat, the Chinese emperor broke in tears and refused to eat."
 
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Hendrik_2000

Brigadier
But but in the ebb and flow of history China is eternal and the periphery come and go And where is Xixia now? gone But China is still there! It is just one episode of Chinese history! Like they say one battle does not decide the outcome of the war! China did achieve 3 golden eras after Song the Yuan, Ming and Qing
 
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Hendrik_2000

Brigadier
Chinese =/= Han!

This so-called historian can't even get this basic fact right and keeps using the wrong term.
That is the problem with western Historian or even Chinese who studied under western tutor like Wang Gungwu I know him very well.
Invariably they bring their own western perspective and prejudice on Chinese history with heavy bias of dislike anything Chinese which they equal as Han. So any change to diss out Han they will use it like the paragraph above He intention is to tell China not to invade Taiwan! Yes you should look at history but circumstance change. China to day is not the same as Song dynasty that for generation purposely weaken the military and dismissed their most able general Yuefei under court intrigue
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