Like their ancient Chinese counterparts, the military thinkers of the past three centuries have encountered unprecedented industrial development, a corresponding industrialization of warfare, an intellectual tendency towards pragmatism, new political movements that sought to maximize the state’s ability to exploit the previous developments, the sudden collapse of regimes based on those movements, and a subsequent period of uncertainty. The post-Soviet period has, thankfully, been calmer than the post-Ch’in period. Nevertheless, the violence which has punctuated it has occasionally seemed unpredictable, uncontrollable and incomprehensible. In this regard, contemporary strategists may hear muted echoes of the barbarian invasions that humiliated the Chou Empire and the spontaneous peasant uprisings that unravelled the Ch’in.