China: April 10, 2001

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The EP-3 hostage crises is no accident. The Chinese military have, throughout the 1990s, been actively and openly portraying the United States as China's opponent in a future war. Two Chinese Air Force colonels (Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui) wrote a book ("Unrestricted Warfare") several years ago that predicted a war with the United States in the near future. The book offered advice on how to defeat America, including attacking first, cyberwarfare, assassination and crippling America's financial system. The book was published with official endorsement and encouragement. The book is currently required reading for all Chinese officers. The book was also a blatant appeal for more money from the Chinese government. The Chinese generals see their power slipping away as the market economy produces more independent minded businessmen. The military used to have a lot of say in how the government was run. But no more. To make matters worse, the 1991 Gulf War scared the generals big time. Before that, they thought the American military was all show and no performance. After watching U.S. troops roll right over the Iraqis in record time, they realized that the Chinese military (organized and equipped much like the Iraqis) was very vulnerable to a well trained, well equipped Western foe. They also noted that part of this superior performance came from the all volunteer force that most Western militaries had. China has having a harder time getting people to stay in the military after their mandatory service was completed. Without a cadre of professional officers and NCOs, China would never be able to have a high quality force. But to have a all volunteer force, China would have to spend a lot more money on the military. So the generals have been running a propaganda campaign to make the government, and the Chinese people, realize how much the military was needed. And what a good idea it would be to increase the defense budget big time. Forgotten for the moment is the long history of corruption in the armed forces and the many previous programs to build up the armed forces. Programs that spent a lot of money, to little effect. The Chinese generals are playing a dangerous game. But this would not be the first time. Such adventuresome activities are an ancient Chinese tradition, and they usually result in disaster. 

 

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