Psychological Struggle

Deng Xiaoping’s 24 Character Strategy

Last week, I received an email last from a colleague with whom I talk somewhat regularly. This last time his signature line caught my eye:

At first I thought it was some Outlook rendering error. Nope…

It’s Deng Xiaoping’s 24 Character Strategy, kind of a set of guiding principles he gave the Chinese diplomatic corps when he was in office. It has since become the set of operating principles that PRC foreign intelligence uses to formulate their strategy…amazing what strategy they can impart in 24 little symbols.

We play poker, the Russians play chess, the Chinese play Go. I’m betting on the Chinese, given that you win a game of Go when your opponent cannot move anymore and you control his territory. Funny how you can judge a culture’s ability for long term conflict on the kind of games they play.

The meaning of the characters?

Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership.