chapter  4
21 Pages

Chinese Views of Future Warfare

This chapter recommends that we need to understand more thoroughly how PLA open source publications may be related to actual Chinese modernization pro­ grams. The chapter draws in part on articles published in China since 1993 trans­ lated in Chinese Views o f Future Warfare} However, much more work will be needed before the role of public writings can be linked to actual Chinese defense intentions and capabilities.2 A new school of thinking about future warfare can be identified, which I have labeled the “RMA advocates.” They advocate ideas found earlier in Russian studies of the RMA, and sometimes echo American views of the RMA. They focus on military programs that would mature in the period beyond 2010, not the near term. They presume optimistically that China can leapfrog current technology by focusing on “magic weapons” designed to implement a traditional Maoist doctrine that the “inferior can defeat the supe­ rior.” One goal appears to be to develop asymmetrical military capabilities with which China could defeat even a power as superior to China as the U.S. is admit­ ted to be today. However, no Chinese military leaders have publicly advocated that China should follow these recommendations or change the modernization program laid down by Deng Xiaoping over a decade ago. Speeches and articles by the very highest Chinese military leaders have avoided the subjects proposed by the RMA advocates. What then do these writings mean-wishful thinking or a debate about a potential new option?