Tuesday, January 5, 2016

China’s Non-Kinetic 'Three Warfares' Against America

Just as the pen can be mightier than the sword, China’s non-kinetic “Three Warfares” may prove to be far more effective at expanding China’s maritime and territorial boundaries than any arsenal of missiles or fleet of Chinese aircraft carriers. The Three Warfares were first officially recognized as an important warfighting capability by China’s Central Military Commission and Communist Party in 2003. They include everything from psychological and legal to media warfare.


Chiu ChunLing said...

Clausewitz famously observed, "War is a mere continuation of policy by other means." There is a fundamental distinction, in that this regards war as only one of the possible functions and methods of political government.

The Chinese view is different, and perhaps does not have a pithy quote (at least not of significant Chinese origin), but Weber's definition of the state as a monopoly of violence comes closest. Mao's famous aphorism that political power grows from the barrel of a gun is more poetry than truth. What these all point towards is an understanding that the fundamental question of government is who kills whom. Western thought on the matter is characterized by dichotomies, war or peace, guilty or innocent, love or hate. Chinese thought avoids all of these distinctions, at times to absurdity. The questions of war or peace, guilt or innocence, love or hate, are not irrelevant. But they are not answerable in absolutes, either.

The CCP (and the government it administrates) are fundamentally enemies of the rest of the world, including the Chinese people. But their warfare against everyone else exists across a continuum of actions, parts of which we would term "love and peace" and other parts of which we should recognize as "war and hate" (though it is pragmatic for them to avoid the areas which leave no question).

"Strategic competitor" was and remains a useful characterization. We need to recognize that the CCP has fundamentally divergent interests from ours, and from any possible free society. We also need to be realistic about what we can do about it...which is much less than we might once have.

For now, we should remember that the CCP doesn't want a strong, free, independent America any more than they want the same thing for China.

And recognize that the same thing is true of our own current political establishment.

Anonymous said...

Psychological, media, & legal warfare... check, check, & check. It sounds like the feral gub'mint except they use economic warfare as well.

Bad Cyborg said...

Chiu ChunLing, I would respectfully have to disagree with you on one point. Chairman Mao (may he rot in the same loathsome, unbearably unpleasant pesthole in Hell as Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Obama) was basically correct that pretty much all power proceeds from the possession of the means to apply deadly force. He who maintains a monopoly on the instruments of deadly force has the power - so long as those over whom he exercises said power allow it. The ratio of rulers to ruled will ALWAYS be in favor of the ruled. Sufficient numbers of completely disaffected underlings can always drown the rulers with sheer numbers. Read Colin Ryan's remarkable "When Men Become Truly Free" and see how it works. The originators of the chant, "The people united will never be defeated." were under the thumb of as ruthless a dictator as they come. That dictator - like all of his kind - worked very hard to maintain a monopoly on deadly force. And yet the basically unarmed underlings were able to defeat the dictator's minions and remove the dictator. Sufficient numbers of unarmed people, totally untrained in the arts of combat, can take down an armored knight by sheer weight of numbers.

Chiu ChunLing said...

Oh, I didn't mean to say the aphorism wasn't essentially true, just that it could easily be misunderstood if you tried taking it too literally.

On the other hand, it is not functionally true that sufficient numbers of unarmed and untrained people can take down an armored knight by sheer weight of numbers, a man that has a sword and has devoted his life to learning to use it can make a small mountain of bodies to stand atop if his enemies are unarmed and untrained (the history of pre-firearms combat furnishes sufficient examples). What is necessary is to wait until he is asleep and kill him then...but he better be too tired to rouse even then. So, not sheer weight of numbers, but slightly clever use of numerical superiority.

That is part of why Mao's statement is more poetry than truth, the existence of firearms dramatically limited the practical concentration of political power in technologically advanced societies, that's where modern representative republics really start, is when an armed militia becomes a serious contender to professional military. Of course we can trace it back a bit further, to yeomanry, but as the term indicates it was still a social class distinction. Power didn't grow from firearms, it shrank. Ironically, it is the printing press and other advances in information technology which have allowed political power to become more concentrated (Orwell understood this well). Social media is a good example of the vast inequality in reach and influence between, say, Mark Zuckerberg and all other facebook users. He couldn't win a gunfight against two, he can't buy outright more than a few thousand, but by control of the platform he dominates millions (which if of course where he gets all his money, so forget that bit about buying anyone).

Not that the press should be outlawed or restricted, just that concentration of media influence is even more dangerous to freedom than concentration of weapons, and easier to accomplish. You can, after all, make, keep, and even bear arms secretly pretty easily. Try doing that with significant political speech.