Essay Kautilya 's Theories Of War

1893 Words Sep 22nd, 2016 8 Pages
Kautilya’s Theories of War for the Twenty-First Century
Intrigue, assassination, spies, and prostitutes make for captivating reading in Kautilya’s Arthishastra. One could easily dismiss this extensive composition as amusing literature from ancient times, seemingly relevant today only in fiction or action-adventure movies. Kautilya, an ancient Indian military theorist and advisor to Chandragupta Maurya, is known as an extreme realist who by comparison makes Machiavelli appear tame due to the brutality of his methods. Kautilya’s Arthashastra is a comprehensive compendium containing fifteen books providing kings and ministers procedures for conquering, maintaining control of, and running states in the dangerous and uncertain environment of ancient India. Of the fifteen books, three relate to war and national security and contain several concepts relevant to modern military theory. Like Kautilia over two thousand years ago, the United States (U.S.) military today faces a dangerous and uncertain global environment and therefore must prepare for a wide array of contingencies. A brief review of three books contained in the Arthashastra relating to war and national security provide insight into key issues that challenged Kautilya in his time and also challenge the U.S. military today; these issues are not addressed by other military theorists and for this reason I believe that Kautilya’s Arthashastra best explains the nature and character of war in the 21st century.
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