07 Aug 2006

Trenchant Analysis From Chinese Strategist

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Liu Yazhou

Confidential Reporter quotes a most intriguing recent (described as unpublished) essay by one of China’s leading military theorists, Liu Yazhou, a Lieutenant General and Deputy Political Commissar in the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, and son-in-law of the late Chinese president Li Xiannian.

Liu Yazhou is a very interesting thinker, who has previously been a novelist, and a visiting professor at Stanford. He is renowned for producing frequently provocative essays violating numerous conventional restrictions on discussion of politics and policy. He is clearly a rising star in the Communist Party leadership, and a very influential strategist. He is reported to be affiliated with Jiang Zemin‘s Shanghai clique.

Confidential Reporter quotes Liu as contending

that the West is engaged in a losing civilizational clash with rising, radical Islam, with which China must forge a strategic alliance via deepening ties to Iran. Like other PLA theoreticians, he extols the potential of “unrestricted warfare”–use of a variety of methods to isolate, weaken and ultimately defeat the enemy–and “winning without fighting” whenever possible, i.e. making maximum use of deception and diplomacy in the face of a technologically superior enemy, such as the “US hegemon.”..

His clinical analysis of the US position with respect to radical Islam, however, is quite clear, according to our sources. Ironically, Liu’s essay is supposedly in tune with the views of some US conservative critics of the Bush administration. His main point, reportedly, is that the US faltered following the 9/11 attacks when it failed to identify radical Islam, or Islamism, as its enemy and instead launched a “war on terror,” sending a confused–and confusing–message to the American people. Sources say Liu argues that the reluctance to name Islamism as an enemy reflects (a) US unwillingness to completely break with decades of secretly supporting rightwing Islamic fundamentalism as a counterweight against secular radicals in the Middle East, and (b) US “weakness,” by which he seems to mean an essentially idealistic and, in his opinion, ultimately self-defeating faith in its own democratic and humanitarian ideals, which prevent the US from taking truly drastic military action when necessary.

2 Feedbacks on "Trenchant Analysis From Chinese Strategist"

Steve Bodio

Why is it that nobody ever pays attention to China? Thanks, David.

THe Central Asians i know, Mongolian and Kazakh, consider our Islamist troubles a precursor to a far bigger challenge. And we are not behaving seriously.


Oh, I dunno…conducting two wars simultaneously is pretty serious. Thousands of military and millions of civilian lives lost is pretty serious. This is not to say there couldn’t be a better serious approach, which could be more effective than throwing lead around.


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