China and Clausewitz

Referring to the Diplomat’s China’s “Warfare” Strategies and Tactics, Norton talks about understanding China in order to deal with China’s growing military

Chinese leaders generally employ military actions in order to achieve political outcomes with little intent to escalate the conflict militarily. Only if the political outcome is not achieved, may the Chinese leader heighten the military actions. It is, thus, important to read the Chinese intent clearly and, either to meet their demands, negotiate for another solution or refuse to meet the demand entirely.

The message sent out may have different audiences in mind as well, either domestic, international or specific countries in mind. These messages must also be seen through China’s bureaucractic lens, where things may even get muddled up with the different layers of interpretation.

Nevertheless, as per the movie on the Cuba Crisis, military actions are simply a way of how the Chinese Leadership communicates with the outside world. This fits in nicely with Clausewitz’s famous line that, “War is merely an extension of policy”.

Thus, to read the Chinese mind behind the military action, is to read that there is another meaning behind the actions…

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