Is a Sino-American War Inevitable?

The authors of two new books I just ordered argue that it could very well happen if both sides aren’t careful: “Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power” by Howard French and “Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?” by Graham Allison.

New York Times:

The Chinese superpower has arrived. Could America’s failure to grasp this reality pull the United States and China into war? Here are two books that warn of that serious possibility. Howard W. French’s “Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power” does so through a deep historical and cultural study of the meaning of China’s rise from the point of view of the Chinese themselves. Graham Allison’s “Destined for War: Can American and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?” makes his arguments through historical case studies that illuminate the pressure toward military confrontation when a rising power challenges a dominant one. Both books urge us to be ready for a radically different world order, one in which China presides over Asia, even as Chinese politicians tell a public story about “peaceful rise.” The books argue persuasively that adjusting to this global power shift will require great skill on both sides if conflagration is to be avoided.

Read the rest here. 88 percent of those who reviewed French’s book on Amazon gave it five stars, and 93 percent gave five stars to Graham’s book.

Evan’s Recent Reads, Edition Five

1. “SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police” by Vox Day. Vox is an impressive guy. He created InfoGalactic, operates two blogs, designs video games, and writes science fiction novels and other books. SJWAL is polemical in nature. Think of it as a handy guide in knowing who SJWs are, what SJWs do, and how you can defend yourself against their thought policing.

2. “Goethe: Life as a Work of Art” by Rüdiger Safranski. Finished this one last night. Although Safranski published the book in German four years ago, the English translation by David Dollenmayer was released a few short weeks ago. Goethe wore numerous hats throughout his life: lawyer, statesman, author, poet, scientist, artist. He wasn’t just a dilettante, though; he was an artistic and poetic genius. And he didn’t just dabble in science, he made great contributions to botany and the theory of color. As Michael Dirda wrote in his review of the book, “Neophytes will certainly be bored, yet Goethe aficionados will learn a lot.” I would suggest reading Goethe’s Wikipedia page as well as some of his work before diving into this biography.

3. “Do I Make Myself Clear? Why Writing Well Matters” by Harold Evans. Fair book. Evans did get political at times, and I felt the work didn’t need to be 350+ pages long. In any case, I did get some valuable writing tips out of it. Three out of five stars.

4. “The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition” by James Matthew Wilson. Wilson is a professor at Villanova University. I presumed he was Catholic because of the themes and thinkers he discusses. Recommended reading if you’re into philosophy and/or theology.

5. “Be Like a Fox: Machiavelli in His World” by Erica Benner. Started this one a couple of days ago. Haven’t made too much progress on it due to a busy schedule and other books on my nightstand. Machiavelli is perhaps the most misunderstood thinker in the West, and Benner seeks to correct people’s perceptions of him and his political philosophy.

6. Theodore Roosevelt’s Autobiography. I have read it before and am reading it again. People who know me know how much I love Teddy Roosevelt.

My Most Recent Book Purchases

1. “Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil” by Rüdiger Safranski

2. Martin Heidegger’s “Basic Writings”

3. “The Concept of the Political” by Carl Schmitt

4. “Essential German Grammar” by E.F. Bleiler and Guy Stern

5. Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”

6. “21st Century Italian-English/English-Italian Dictionary” by The Princeton Language Institute

7. Il Nuovo Testamento (Italian New Testament)

Evan’s Recent Reads, Edition Four

1. “Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault” by Pierre Hadot. For centuries philosophy was a way of life, characterized by what Hadot calls “spiritual exercises.” Since much of modern philosophy is inextricably linked to academia and deconstructionism, these ancient and medieval spiritual exercises remind us of philosophy’s roots, namely the love of wisdom and cultivation of virtue.

2. “Ego is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday. Ego is not just an enemy, but THE enemy. It’s the enemy “of what you want and of what you have: Of mastering a craft. Of real creative insight. Of working well with others. Of building loyalty and support. Of longevity. Of repeating and retaining your success.” You’d do well to read this book, especially if you’re a hard-working, ambitious person.

3. “Why the Allies Won” by Richard Overy. I’m not into specific combat/battle details, so I glossed over some of the book. But Overy is a must-read for WWII history buffs. This won’t be the last book of his that I read.

4. “Eternal Life: What You Need to Know About Death, Judgment, and Life Everlasting” by Romano Guardini. One of my theology professors has been reading lots of Guardini lately and recommended him to me. Guardini’s writing is simple yet profound—and therefore spiritually enriching. I also have his “Meditations on the Christ” on my to-read list.

5. “The Road to Monticello: The Life and Mind of Thomas Jefferson” by Kevin J. Hayes. This one I just started. Combines Jefferson’s biography with the teachers and books which impacted his political philosophy and overall worldview. I love exploring the intellectual influences behind great historical figures. Hayes also just published a similar book on George Washington.

Evan’s Recent Reads, Edition Three

Three of these books are for my Christology class:

1. “The Priority of Christ: Toward a Postliberal Catholicism” by Robert Barron. Disclaimer: It’s quite dense and academic, and therefore better suited for those with a strong philosophical and theological background.

2. “The Christological Controversy” by Richard A. Norris. This is a collection of writings by various Church Fathers on the development of orthodox Christology. The Church Fathers are certainly not the easiest thinkers to read.

3. “Early Christian Doctrines” by J.ND. Kelly. A fantastic outline of the development of Christian thought. Explores religious and philosophical influences prior to Christ and summarizes Church teaching from the Apostolic Era to the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD. Very valuable book.

Now onto the recent pleasure reads:

4. “Ride the Tiger” by Julius Evola. This is one of the Baron’s major works. To ride the tiger is to 1) recognize the futility of actively resisting modern organizations and institutions that can’t possibly allow man to fully “realize himself” and 2) seek spiritual meaning in the principles of Tradition.

5. “Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It” by Gary Taubes. I wrote in edition two of Evan’s Recent Reads that I had read Taubes’s “The Case Against Sugar.” I liked it and felt his other, earlier books were worth exploring. “Why We Get Fat” implicates carbs—namely refined carbs, starch, sucrose, and high fructose corn syrup. An astounding statistic he provides as well: an extra twenty calories a day, without extra physical activity, can lead to fifty extra pounds of fat in twenty years. So when you start to feel even slightly full, stop eating.

6. “Kaiser Wilhelm II: Germany’s Last Emperor” by John Van der Kiste. I read 100 pages, thumbed through the rest, and set it down. Plenty of great information, but I found it a dry read. It’s written like a textbook, which is fine for histories of nations, though not for biographies.

7. “Collected Short Stories: Volume 3” by Louis L’Amour. I’m not one of those people who can read only non-fiction and serious literature. L’Amour is an amazing (and voluminous!) storyteller. He’s worth your time.

Evan’s Recent Reads, Edition Two

1. “The History of Japan” by Louis Perez. The author is a Professor of Asian History at Illinois State University and uses this as his textbook. It reads like a textbook yet was engaging at the same time. I recommend it to those who’ve never read a book on Japanese history.

2. “The Case Against Sugar” by Gary Taubes. He makes a pretty damning case against sugar (i.e., table sugar and high fructose corn syrup). Reads more like a history book than a nutritional book, which is good for a layman like me. How little sugar is still too much? Taubes says it’s impossible to know, mostly because the symptoms of metabolic syndrome don’t appear until much later in life. So should you then cut sugar entirely out of your diet? Taubes doesn’t answer “yes” or “no;” he lets you make that decision yourself.

3. “Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterton, and the Wickedest Town in the American West” by Tom Clavin. An entertaining book that my father recommended to me. I’ve been fascinated by the Wild West since high school, so any book on the subject—whether it’s a historical account or a Western novel—is fair game for inclusion in my library.

4. “The Wisdom of Life” by Arthur Schopenhauer. Although an atheist and notorious pessimist, there is no philosopher I enjoy reading more than Schopenhauer. His writing style embodies clear thinking and is a treat to read on its own. This little book concerns “the art of ordering our lives so as to obtain the greatest amount of pleasure and success.” I highlighted it often and, like any of Schopenhauer’s works, I’ll be returning to it some time in the near future.

5. “The Merchant of Venice” by William Shakespeare. Can’t ever go wrong with The Bard!