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article imageOp-Ed: China’s ‘Fight and win’ military doctrine vs media idiots

By Paul Wallis     Sep 1, 2018 in World
Beijing - The news that China is developing a “fight and win wars” military structure has global media flapping its wings like chickens in a berserk henhouse. What are they supposed to do, develop a military designed to fight and lose?
The headlines, based on US military analysis, (Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2018) indicate that China has adopted a “fight and win” model for future military development.
The world’s media, therefore, has seized on a phrase and extrapolated to say that the Chinese military is now being designed to fight and win against the US. This is despite the fact that the analysis says in so many words that China is designing to fight and win local/regional wars on page 2 of the Annual Update section. OK, it sells clicks, but it’s hardly an in depth, or accurate, view.
There are broader strategic narratives in this analysis, and they are very complex. The analysis shows that:
1. The Chinese military is modernizing on an unprecedented scale.
2. China is developing the capacity to “project power” which means send forces to anywhere they’re needed.
3. China’s military is also integrated in to China’s global economic expansion and developments.
4. President Xi’s innovation initiatives are playing a major role in the modernization and development of future roles for China’s military.
5. The PLA (People’s Liberation Army, the basic term for China’s military) has beefed up its anti-corruption program. (Translation: Much more efficient, realistic military admin at all levels, as well as anti-corruption measures.)
6. Taiwan is a realistic potential source of conflict, possibly more so, as a result of the new military developments.
I’m not about to list everything in the analysis, which is well laid out and quite readable. This analysis is clearly designed for those who have the time and inclination to find out what they’re talking about. The analysis is neither melodramatic or alarmist in any sense. Nor is it cluttered with the innuendo of media coverage. It’s the media which is generating the wrong messages from the right information.
The Other Side of the Chinese Military
China watching is a hobby of mine, and it’s fascinating to see how much utter claptrap can be published every second on the subject of China. The development “fight and win” doctrine has been ongoing for some time in practice. A revamped Chinese navy, new air capabilities, etc. The very lengthy shopping list of upgrades has been going on for at least 11 years to my knowledge.
During this time, the Chinese army has gone from worrying about pork prices when feeding its troops in 2007 to a much more elite, far more modern force. The old human wave army is long gone. The idiotic (and useless) rhetoric is also gone. The Party may control, but the professionals do the thinking. President Xi isn’t Mao, or anything like Mao, on or off the world stage.
Meaning – The whole image of the Chinese military is totally out of date. The modern Chinese military has no resemblance to the old military, any more than modern China resembles the China of the Cultural Revolution. The “fight and win” model is a natural result of that process.
A quick (if slightly simplified) inventory of current Chinese military power and resources indicates that the upgrades have been gigantic, but also very necessary. That’s not too surprising, because the old Chinese military was in a state of virtual fossilization in the pre-economic boom decades. China IS a global power; why would it allow its military to decay? Yet, for years, media have been hammering the theme of Chinese military expansion as if they should stick to bows and arrows.
The Big Imponderable – President Xi
The other big issue is President Xi Jinping. This guy has one major indicator of being a very competent person – He doesn’t say much. He’s no vacuous blowhard, Tweeting his every thought to the world. He’s more like a Chinese Putin, providing only information which he wants known. The other very revealing aspect of Xi is that you don’t rise through the Communist Party hierarchy as fast as he did unless you’re a particularly good survivalist. The guy is mentally and politically agile, a proven DIY thinker, and definitely a doer when it comes to physical realities.
If you must see him as an enemy, you should consider him to be very dangerous indeed. The simplest fact about the big names in Chinese history is that what is seen is only part of the story, and what is actually intended is likely to be almost invisible. Compare that with plodding Western military moves over the last 70 years. Sufficient hint?
President Xi is now the major driver of one of the world’s biggest ships of state. Fortunately for the world, Xi is looking like his visions go a lot further than the very limited comprehension of global media. It’s very unlikely that an integrated strategy would or could be purely military, for example.
It looks more like he’s building military capacity in context with this strategy, rather than anything else. One of his initiatives, and perhaps the only reliable clue to the scale of China’s visions of the future, is the “New Silk Road”, aka “Silk Track”, a truly vast trading land road and rail network, designed by China to assist in its economic growth and expansion.
There really is nothing quite like this idea in global trade at the moment. This is also not the sort of idea which comes from some very shallow “fight and win” strategy. Projecting power can be done in many ways, and military power is only one of the options. China’s worldwide economic initiatives have been very successful. Why fight an expensive war which might upset trade, when you can win whatever you want with a few phone calls? The view of China’s military as the only option is ridiculous at best.
If the US intends to view China as some sort of latecomer imitating its own global military profile, it’s seriously wrong. China simply doesn’t need to do that. China doesn’t even need to fight the US to win what it wants. We can only hope that the US analysis is read and understood by the administration, and translated in to crayon drawings for the thick headed, backward corporate yokels now in office.
There’s an old Chinese saying which states in effect that the superior general defeats an enemy in ways which the enemy simply doesn’t understand. The inference is that the enemy doesn’t even recognise the strategies and tactics used. That may well be the case.
Professional readers please note: I’m well aware that there are many other factors in this situation across a virtual universe of other areas, notably intelligence, covert ops, cyber wars, etc. Those issues are not included in this piece because they’d take too much space to define, let alone explain. The objective of this article is to deal with current media hype, not do another analysis.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Chinese military, PLA, xi jinping, Chinese military expansion, US analysis of Chinese military 2018
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