Patterns in China's Use of Force: Evidence from History and Doctrinal Writings

Patterns in China's Use of Force: Evidence from History and Doctrinal Writings

Patterns in China's Use of Force: Evidence from History and Doctrinal Writings

Patterns in China's Use of Force: Evidence from History and Doctrinal Writings

Synopsis

The People's Republic of China has often used force in ways that surprised and perplexed other countries. The Chinese appear to believe that, by carefully designing military operations to achieve maximum political effect, they can successfully use force even when the overall military balace is unfavorable. China's past successes in using force in this way while avoiding a massive reaction from its adversaries may give it confidence that it can succeed in the future as well.

Excerpt

China is emerging as a major global and regional player that will impact U.S. foreign policy well into the 21st century. A better understanding of China's interests as well as economic and military capabilities will assist in crisis prevention and war avoidance.

This study examines the characteristic ways in which China might use force to protect or advance its interests. It looks at the record of Chinese use of force during the past 50 years, as well as at Chinese doctrinal writings concerning future conflict to understand what particular characteristics future Chinese uses of force might be expected to display.

This research was conducted within the Strategy and Doctrine Program of Project AIR FORCE, as part of a larger project entitled “Chinese Defense Modernization and the USAF,” under the sponsorship of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations (AF/XO), and the Commander, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF/CC). Comments are welcomed and may be addressed to the project leader, Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, or to the authors.

PROJECT AIR FORCE

Project AIR FORCE, a division of RAND, is the Air Force federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) for studies and analyses. It provides the Air Force with independent analyses of policy alternatives affecting the development, employment, combat readiness, and support of current and future aerospace forces. Research is performed in four programs: Aerospace Force Develop-

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