Sun Tzu and United States Foreign Policy in Iran Essay

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In late 500 BCE, the Wu state of China was facing war with the state of Chu, a state with army many times that of the Wu's forces. Yet the Wu warriors were still able to conquer the state of Chu, due to the guidance of one man: Sun Tzu. An expert in warfare, Sun Tzu recorded his teachings in his famed book, The Art of War, to be followed by future Chinese leaders. Today, Sun Tzu's lessons are available all over the world, yet they are ignored by those in command, resulting in flawed plans and failed wars. In order to pursue a long-term solution for the United States-Iranian conflict, the United States must attempt to engage Sun Tzu's principles and apply them to the current situation. United States-Iran relations have been turbulent in the past, cumulating in the current state of affairs. Past indiscretions, such as the United States' support of the unpopular Iranian ruler, the Shah, set the scene for continued commotion in policy in regard to the countries' relations. In opposition to Sun Tzu's guidance, praising the ability of a general to capture a city without laying siege to it and discouraging the act of besieging an area, the United States has enacted strict sanctions against Iran, in 1997 specifying that "virtually all trade and investment activities with Iran by U.S. persons, wherever located, are prohibited" (US Department of the Treasury). Though the purpose of these sanctions is said to be " punishing the Iranian regime in the hope of forcing it to comply with international rules over its disputed nuclear programme," it mainly hurts the Iranian civilians, weakening only the ordinary members of the country rather than those with significant political power (Dehghan). However, the United States, despite its flawed tactics, is succeeding in following Sun Tzu's adherence to Moral Law, gaining the population's support for its action. A 2012 poll revealed

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