Chapter 1: The knowledge lacuna and implications
It has come as a surprise that only a handful of Western politicians and business or organisational leaders to date have been aware that a great deal of conflict and contention between them and their Chinese counterparts is attributable to the misunderstandings associated with different strategic mind-sets. A 2014 article in the Wall Street Journal entitled ‘Misunderstanding China: how did Western policy makers and academics repeatedly get China so wrong?’, written by Michael Pillsbury, a senior consultant to the US Defense Department, highlights the gravity of this chasm. The Middle Kingdom – potentially the most formidable opponent we have ever faced – remains as much of a mystery as ever … Why does doubt and conjecture still shroud a nation that for six decades we have studied, worked against, then allied with, then clashed with again? … The answer that I’ve come to after studying the Chinese for 40 years is that the problem is not China, but us. For six decades we Westerners have looked at China through our own self-interest. In his 2015 book The Hundred-Year Marathon, Michael Pillsbury further addresses differences in mentalities between the Chinese and US governments and their potential consequences.