Research Article

Global Perspectives on Smart-Power Strategy in International Arena: Critical Discovery into Philosophy of Clausewitz and Sun Tzu from Strategic Implications


  • Barack Lujia Bao Faculty Fellow and Researcher, Xianda College of Economics and Humanities of Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai, China


Within the military discipline, the doctrine from Carl von Clausewitz and Sun Tzu can be framed as the ones among the most influential strategy-based philosophical domains. Carl von Clausewitz’s theoretical framework of consolidation of all powers and strategic obliteration of all forces of the opponents and rivals seems not uncommon in analysing the scenarios of international power competition and contest. On the contrary, Sun Tzu (around 545B.C.-470B.C.), the ancestral Chinese military strategist during the Spring and Autumn Period, put forward the complete distinctive strategic conception of optimum winning without engaging in any fight, which meanwhile plays a more epistemologically productive, thought-provoking role in utilising smart power strategy in a complex, evolving international arena where hard power alone has been of no avail to keep a dominantly advantageous position. Sequentially, it is indispensable for strategists to conduct in-depth exploration into the role of smart power through abstractly inheriting the consequential philosophical implications from Sun Tzu and Clausewitz as a distinctive strategy-building element and eclectically and rationally combine, enliven and hierarchise their implicit ties with an authentic world matrix that it is hard to empirically theorise and accurately quantify. Through deductive-analysis approaches and case studies of the US (a dominant power in relative terms over the long run), China (the second-largest economic power thus far) and India (a rising power in BRICS), the primary purpose of this paper seeks to dialectically explore an implicit dyadic nexus between 1) the philosophical implications for Sun Tzu and those for Clausewitz and 2) the nature and implementation of smart power strategy ranging from the perspectives of historical origin and international context. It can be argued that the philosophical standpoint of smart power strategy bears historical merits that the principal arguments from Clausewitz and Sun Tzu somehow generated. This paper-based on existential research findings meanwhile prognosticates that the strategic implementation of smart-power strategy, which tends to be highlighted worldwide in the foreseeable future, will advance in a world of multipolarisation instead of bipolarity and strategic co-opetition (i.e. cooperation and competition combined) will grow as an alternative widespread international phenomenon and trajectory that complicates the magnetism, flexibility and unpredictability of how a broad definition of national strength would influence the international structure and international standing.

Article information


Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences Studies

Volume (Issue)

3 (9)





How to Cite

Bao, B. L. (2021). Global Perspectives on Smart-Power Strategy in International Arena: Critical Discovery into Philosophy of Clausewitz and Sun Tzu from Strategic Implications. Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences Studies, 3(9), 09–22.



International Studies; Smart-Power Strategy; Sun Tzu; Clausewitz; International Development; Cross-Cultural Studies