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Gender Testing as "Art of War"

It's disappointing to see the Beijing Olympics veering back into gender testing -- which was supposedly abandoned in 1999 by the IOC. But their move is not surprising. The Chinese are applying "The Art of War" to international sports in a classic way.

They want to win piles of medals and prove their superiority as an emerging world power. As the host country that sets policy for these Games, they have surely scoured their own team, to make sure all karyotypes conform to XX and XY. However, their late announcement that they intend to test will place other countries at a psychological disadvantage. These countries have already selected their teams, and some of those selectees might not pass the test. So it will constitute a pre-competition strategy for Chinese authorities to summon any athlete they choose for testing. Even if that individual passes the test, her psyche may be jarred and she may not perform as well. Imagine the anxiety of waiting for test results, when you know that loss of your career, your previous medals, might result.

Either way, a medal prospect who can be knocked out by the gender test, or rattled enough to miss making the podium, will ensure more medals for the Chinese.

"The Art of War" was written 2500 years ago by a great Chinese general named Sun Tzu, who probably lived during the Warring States period (403-221 BCE). It's a brilliant study of military strategy and realpolitik whose principles can be applied to any non-military situation as well. As such, it's one of the most influential pieces of thinking ever written. No matter who governed their country, whether emperors or communist leaders, the Chinese have never stopped living by "The Art of War." The best Western military minds have always studied Sun Tzu -- the ones who flouted its principles (like Hitler, when he invaded Russia) always went down in defeat. Any nation who goes against China without doing their Sun Tzu homework is probably in for a shock, whether it's in battle or free trade...or sports.

Sun Tzu wrote, "Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt." Sounds like the Olympic Games to me.