China vs. America: Boxing or Wrestlemania in the Pacific?

February 25, 2020 Topic: Security Region: Asia Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: ChinaMilitaryDonald TrumpA2/adTechnology

China vs. America: Boxing or Wrestlemania in the Pacific?

"Chinese and American strategists, past and present, delight in invoking sporting metaphors to explain how they intend to do business. Sports talk commonly conjures up the image of two boxers squaring off in the Western Pacific. Defensive-minded pugilists circle warily, but neither relishes being the first to throw a haymaker. The bout may never happen if the contenders deter each other or see little point in a fistfight."

Martial sage Carl von Clausewitz picks wrestling as one of his metaphors for warfare. Clausewitz never got a load of a WWE match—but you can imagine him smiling from beyond the grave. Let’s look beyond boxing for martial metaphors.

James Holmes is J. C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy at the Naval War College and the author of A Brief Guide to Maritime Strategy. The views voiced here are his alone.

Image: Reuters.