Skip to comments.China’s Deceptively Weak (and Dangerous) Military
Posted on 02/23/2014 5:35:57 AM PST by Lower Deck
While recent years have witnessed a tremendous Chinese propaganda effort aimed at convincing the world that the PRC is a serious military player that is owed respect, outsiders often forget that China does not even have a professional military. The PLA, unlike the armed forces of the United States, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and other regional heavyweights, is by definition not a professional fighting force. Rather, it is a party army, the armed wing of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Indeed, all career officers in the PLA are members of the CCP and all units at the company level and above have political officers assigned to enforce party control. Likewise, all important decisions in the PLA are made by Communist Party committees that are dominated by political officers, not by operators. This system ensures that the interests of the partys civilian and military leaders are merged, and for this reason new Chinese soldiers entering into the PLA swear their allegiance to the CCP, not to the PRC constitution or the people of China.
(Excerpt) Read more at thediplomat.com ...
I'd say that the US is in a better position, and that our front-line military (so to speak) understand how to get results in difficult circumstances. But this part struck me:
Chinas military is intentionally organized to bureaucratically enforce risk-averse behavior
From an acquisition stand-point, the US is very much in this same position. We spend money badly, we avoid failure like the plague, we can't settle on requirements. We end up with a lot of failure because we try to play it safe and avoid all risk.
China has the best infrastructure in the world for a country of its low economic standing. They are spending close to $200b on defense per year. I expect they will spend it well. China’s not the first country to lose a sub with all hands while on peacetime maneuvers, and it won’t be the last. The sub that sank was a 50 year-old design and built at least 20 years prior to the accident. In other words, it was a dinosaur doing what old equipment occasionally does - malfunction in critical ways. In contrast, the USS Thresher was a 3 year old boat when it sank in 1963, while the USS Scorpion was a 9 year old boat when it sank in 1968. F-22’s have crashed due to oxygen-related malfunctions, but no one calls that the result of a readiness problem. The writer’s being way too glib in his conclusions.
From a tactical perspective in the Army, thankfully, we're not like that. Mistakes are expected, even encouraged--so long as the Soldier/leader learns from them. In this era of the drawdown, though, it makes me wonder if we're going to start hammering people who make mistakes. I get the impression the Air Force and Navy have typically been brutal in that regard.
The biggest blunder in a history of US foreign policy is a Nixon&Kissinger’s romance with Red China. It is believed that Soviets, after they have abandoned communism in favour of a softer socialism were seeking US neutrality towards their planned military operation against Stalinists in China in 1970, but US has de-facto declared alliance with the Chinese instead. It has led to a series of communist-inspired decisions including backing Chinese-allied Pakistanis against when-neutral India, moving US technology to China, 9/11 terror etc.
A recent defeat of US economy by Chinese industry and commerce is a direct consequence of these policies.
I thought our Military has now pledged allegiance to Bammy.
Nixon was one of the worst Presidents ever and this has nothing to do with Watergate. Nixon shows what a moderate Republican will do the be ‘liked’ by his enemies. In the end they just ran over him after he gave them everything.
Nixon is the worst? Really? I didn’t like Nixon but anything he did has been totally eclipsed by the past 4 administrations
Yes. The EPA etc... He set this country up to fail for appeasement.
It sounds a little like George Washington’s complaints about the militia and the reason why the Prussian drill master von Steuben marched the Continentals all over Valley Forge that winter of 1777-78.
What about empowering Red China? Clinton is unfairly granted the most credit in this, he has just followed Nixon.
If not for Nixon and Kissinger, China could have been overrun by Russian and East German forces back to 1970 the way NATO did to Saddam in 1990s.
It could have been another docile former SSR in class of Kazakhstan or Mongolia by now.
The Soviets backed the Chinese, North Korean and North Vietnamese communists with money, training and equipment to kill 100K GI's, and were still backing the DRV at the time they were contemplating a punitive expedition against China. What did they expect Nixon to do?
Overall, Nixon's decision made little difference. Before Deng Xiaoping's decision to adopt capitalism (which he dubbed "socialism by other means") in 1979, China's economy was moribund, even though Nixon's opening occurred in 1972. After visiting non-Communist Southeast Asia, and noticing that the China's former vassal states were prospering while China was living an impoverished hand-to-mouth existence, Deng opened up the Chinese economy, and the irreversible result was decades of double digit growth that is still ongoing. It's no different from what happened with Soviets - it was the Soviets who held the Soviet empire's economy back, not the embargo. Thatcher was as anti-Soviet as anybody else, but she refused to let that get in the way of purchasing Soviet natural gas.
As soon as the Chinese decided to let in foreign investment, American manufacturers faced the choice of spending more money making widgets elsewhere because of an American embargo and losing market share in the world markets because of price competition or pressuring the US government to end the embargo. The Europeans had been trading with China for decades and stood to benefit from being able to make their products at lower cost due to China's low labor costs combined with superior infrastructure and minimal red tape (compared to other countries with similar labor costs). Bottom line is that there was no avoiding what happened. Economically-speaking, China bound itself hand and foot from 1949 to 1979 and it was China that ultimately unshackled its own economy starting in 1979. It wasn't even a China-specific thing. It was merely following in the footsteps of its non-communist former vassal states in Southeast Asia.
I almost said the writer is declaring the PLA to be a national guard developed to protect the government.
That is true in a sense because the present army (armed forces) evolved from the civil war army that defeated Chang Kai Sheck and the Nationalist.
If we date the success of Mao to say 1950 or so, the PLA is relatively young, only 60. The evolution continued such that it is only now realizing there are threats both real and imagined from external sources.
There must be tremendous friction internally about how to proceed into totally uncharted territory. China’s primary potential enemy is either China or Russia.
Because what country wouldn't want air quality like they have in Beijing or Shanghai, or water like they have in Sochi?
This kind of thing has been true since the dawn of human history. A monarch's or dictator's army exists to protect him. Hitler, Stalin, Genghis Khan, Alexander and Napoleon seem to have had no trouble winning battles despite this fact.
What we did to our Military following the Vietnam war is what we are now doing following Iraq and Afghanistan. It took Ronald Reagan to rebuild the military after the post Vietnam wind down. Who is going to rebuild it this time and when? Criticize China’s Army all you want, but they are pouring resources into modernizing it, while we are going in the other direction.
The “political enforcement” in the ranks really makes no difference if it is done for the “party” as it is in China, or if it is done by a very politicized and politically monolithic officer class “for the emperor and the nation” as it was in Japan; as Japan showed, it can still be a formidable foe.
Quality of training, of equipment, of resources and of strategic military thinking accord as much advantage as being a “professional” military.
I would not UNDER estimate China’s military ability on the basis of its tight political control.
China has also built the worlds largest army of cyber warriors, and the planets second largest fleet of drones, to exploit areas where the U.S. and its allies are under-defended.
I would assume the USA has the largest fleet of drones...
I never even heard that China has drone capacities, let alone the worlds second largest fleet...
Thanks Lower Deck.
Heck, Iowa farmers have “drone capabilities”!