Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Republicans yet again miss the point...

Richard Bennett writes approvingly of this piece in the LA Times by CRF senior fellow Max Boot.

Chinese strategists, in the best tradition of Sun Tzu, are working on craftier schemes to topple the American hegemon

In 1998, an official People's Liberation Army publishing house brought out a treatise called "Unrestricted Warfare," written by two senior army colonels, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui. This book, which is available in English translation, is well known to the U.S. national security establishment but remains practically unheard of among the general public....

Their different approaches include financial warfare (subverting banking systems and stock markets), drug warfare (attacking the fabric of society by flooding it with illicit drugs), psychological and media warfare (manipulating perceptions to break down enemy will), international law warfare (blocking enemy actions using multinational organizations), resource warfare (seizing control of vital natural resources), even ecological warfare (creating man-made earthquakes or other natural disasters)...

It's pretty much a given that when you see something like this, there's more to the picture, and sure enough there is.

It turns out, you can actually read the treatise referred to here.

There's much, much to read there. And I've only read a few pages so far. But what seems clear from what I've read is:

There's the intent to become a major player without being the US.

The US would do well to head its advice on strategic blunders attributed to the US:

When setting objectives, give full consideration to the feasibility of accomplishing them. Do not pursue objectives which are unrestricted in time and space. Only with limits can they be explicit and practical, and only with limits can there be functionality. In addition, after accomplishing an objective, one will then have the resilience to go on and pursue the next. [6] When setting objectives, one must overcome the mentality of craving great successes, and instead consciously
pursue limited objectives and eliminate objectives which are beyond one's abilities, even though they may be proper. This is because every objective which is achievable is limited. No matter what the reason, setting objectives which exceed allowable limits of the measures available will only lead to disastrous consequences.
The most typical illustration of expanding objectives is the mistake which MacArthur made in the Korean War. Subsequent to that are similar mistakes committed by the Americans in Vietnam and the Soviets in Afghanistan, which prove that no matter what sort of action it is and no matter who is executing it, when objectives are greater than measures, then defeat is certain.

Not all of today's statesmen and strategists are clear on this point. The 1996 U.S. Department of Defense Report contains this premise from President Clinton: "As the world's most powerful nation, we have a leadership obligation, and when our interests and sense of values are subject to great danger we will take action." When he spoke those words, obviously even Clinton was unaware that national interests and sense of values are strategic objectives of two completely different scales. If we say that the former is an objective which American power can protect through action, the latter is neither an objective that its power can achieve nor is an objective
which the United States should pursue outside its own territory. "World's number one," an ideology corresponding to "isolationism," always makes the Americans tend to pursue unlimited objectives as they expand their national power. But this is a tendency which in the end will lead to tragedy. A company which has limited resources but which is nevertheless keen to take on unlimited responsibilities is headed for only one possible outcome, and that is bankruptcy.

Also good reading is, starting from page 181, "Supra-National Combinations."

The message though should be clear: regardless of what you think about China or the United States, what Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui wrote will likely come to pass, simply because it will serve the interests of enough people, nations, and organizations to do so.

The approach they write about actually seems to depend on cooperation with competing entities rather than confrontation.

What a concept.

Now, if this can be used to improve the human rights situation in both China and the US, so much the better.

But about all the hoopla about "THEY'RE OUT TO GET US!" - I'd say simply simmer down. Folks, they have had a history of US aggression against them. We do have a history of going around invading other countries (which, with the possible exception of Vietnam, they don't), and their military's job is to watch out for threats to their own nation.

And I'd also say if you were that concerned about China, - well, you'd want to pull out of Iraq, now wouldn't you?

Or, faling that, maybe you'd like to volunteer?

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