Strategic Implications of Culture - Historical Analysis of China's Culture and Implications for United States Policy: Wright Flyer Paper No. 8 (Paperback)
In today's dynamic and multipolar strategic environment there is a heightened potential for greater conflict. One reason for this lies in the different ways in which state and nonstate actors interpret and respond to the myriad challenges and opportunities of a much more turbulent global context. These differences in interpretation and response are largely rooted in differences in culture, for it is culture that forms the subconscious set of shared meanings that guide group behaviors and perceptions. Understanding culture in terms of the deep, underlying assumptions and shared mind-sets held by both state and nonstate actors is critical for today's strategic military planner in attempting to predict the potential for conflict and in planning for effective conflict resolution. In this paper, the author uses Mary Douglas's group-grid typology model for framing culture to describe the strategic implications of culture and culture's response to a changing global context. The author then applies these concepts to analyze the effect of cultural change in China and its implications for current and future US-China relations. Through this analysis, the author reveals important differences in cultural perspective between China and the United States. These cultural differences encourage different solutions to the common strategic problems of security and prosperity and, thus, potentially cause misperceptions and dangerous miscalculations in policy. Long-term strategic cooperation with China requires that US planners and policy makers understand these cultural differences and factor them into every realm of engagement with China.