In this third episode of War Room’s special series on Great Strategists, Larry Goodson presents the writings of Kautilya, who is lesser known to military audiences that Clausewitz or Sun Tzu. As counsel to a young emporer in 4th century BCE India, Kautilya developed and published the earliest known works explaining the international relations philosophy known today as realism. ‘Conquer or be conquered’ and ‘the friend of my enemy is my enemy’ are among the teachings originating from the Arthashastra, a collection of 14 books that covered matters of both military and civilian governance.

[Kautilya] is considered the first great political realist. Most international relations scholars treat [his Arthashastra] as a treatise of unvarnished realism.


Larry Goodson is Professor of Middle East Studies at the U.S. Army War College. Jacqueline E. Whitt is Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Army War College. The views expressed in the podcast are those of the podcasters and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or the Department of Defense.

Photo credit:  NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images

Posts in the “Great Strategists” series:
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *