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Dai Xu: The Only Type of Warfare That Could Destroy China

[Editor’s Note: Dai Xu, a renowned Chinese social commentator, who is President of the Marine Institute for Security and Cooperation, a Professor at the National Defense University, and Senior Colonel in the People’s Liberation Army Navy, wrote an article for Xinhua about the danger to China of information infiltration. Dai observed that an information war in Cyberspace is the only type of war that could destroy China.] [1]

There were no major wars in 2013, but there were conflicts worldwide. These conflicts have had a much larger impact on the world situation than regional wars in previous years.

I. Obama Withdrew from the Middle East and Moved the Battlefield to East Asia

Using the foundation of its dominance that defeated all who challenged its empire in the 20th century, the U.S. national strategy for the 21st century is now focused on dividing the three main political forces: the Middle East Eurasia Islamic world, Russia, and China. It is bent on isolating them, thereby establishing a U.S. global empire.

Obama’s most significant strategic initiative in his first term was his public announcement that the country’s strategy was to move eastward. The U.S. State Department promoted and established the TPP (the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement), which excluded China, so as to isolate China diplomatically and economically. The Pentagon announced the implementation of the Air-Sea Battle against China and plans to transfer 60 percent of the naval and air mobilization of U.S. forces to Asia. The U.S. is punching China politically, economically, and with military force.

Wind in the U.S. creates waves in Asia, and the Asian countries immediately line up to take sides. Some countries such as the Philippines and Japan are even provocatively jumping to the front of the stage and constantly making trouble. Japan especially has chosen to ignore the common understanding Japan and China reached in the past. New Prime Minister Shinzo Abe even displayed in his attitude that he is “not afraid of being labeled militaristic” and is ready to engage in an all-out confrontation with China. The Philippines tried to bring the United States back to Subic Port. India and Vietnam are also insidiously signaling to [ally with] the United States.

In the first year of his second term, Obama did not know who the enemy was. He didn’t know who to fight with or what his focus should be. He was trying for something bigger, to locate what the target was for him to pull trigger. But this does not mean that this Nobel Prize winner truly knew how to appreciate the peace that this medal represented. Perhaps he is stalking a bigger prize. Following its pullback from the Central Asian front, the United States may begin to do likewise in the Middle East, thus enabling it to take steady aim at the Asia-Pacific front – putting China squarely in the crosshairs.

II. The Specter of the Asian Version of World War I and the Memory of Japan’s Empire: Does Japan Want to Re-build its Old Empire?

2014 is the 100th anniversary of World War I. U.S. strategists long ago discovered that “the current Asian situation shares some interesting similarities with the situation in existence before 1914, when World War I started.” Both the Chinese and Japanese governments “do not want to appear weak before their old enemies and current opponents.” The U.S. strategists want China and Japan to act out what happened in Europe in 1914, so they will perish together. This explains the U.S. position on the Diaoyu Islands dispute. It does not side with either country.

The United States wants to provoke a confrontation between China and Japan so that they will cancel each other out, just like the United Kingdom and Germany did in Europe. Yet Japan hopes to challenge China as a soldier at the front in the final battle between China and the United States. Then Japan could re-arm and eventually rise as the sole power in the Western Pacific. In their articles, Japanese naval and air force generals such as Mutsuyoshi Gomi, former commander-in-chief of the Self-Defense Fleet, have made no secret of this plan.

Japan is not yet a big power and does not have the courage to engage fully in a war against China. However, if the United States had a military showdown with China and China’s military forces were weakened, then Japan could seize the opportunity to grow and pounce on China. It would thus repeat its September 1894 victory over the Chinese navy and end China’s revival.

The United States and Japan each have their own ax to grind, which has become obvious since China established the Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea. Japan continues to be peremptory. The U.S. is duplicitous. It flies military aircraft into the Air Defense Identification Zone to appease Japan; at the same time, it uses its commercial airlines to appease China and sell out Japan. It is provoking China while pleasing China.

The world in 2013 was like the calm before the storm. This fierce beginning will, for a period of time, determine the fate of East Asia and the world’s political and military focus. Because of the formulation and implementation of U.S. global strategy and Japan’s strategy, the military situation in East Asia and the Asia Pacific region will continue to deteriorate. However, the rest of the world is relatively calm due to the United States’ absence. Russia will take this opportunity to “unify” the former Soviet Union.

Another earth-shattering political, military, and economic reshuffle is brewing. The Asia Pacific region, the bloodiest region in modern history, will once again become the main battlefield.

III. The Ideological War in Cyberspace: The Only Type of War that Could “Destroy” China

Since World War II, almost every strategic shift in American policy has been in response to new technology: nuclear weapons for the Cold War and information technology for the Gulf War. This time, cyber technology is driving the U.S. eastward shift. This can be seen in Cyber/electronic space warfare and information warfare. The former is confined to the traditional military field, while the latter is an implicit form or warfare that breaks through military concepts.

In 2013, mysterious overseas forces manipulated anti-CCP, anti-Chinese government, and anti-China forces. These overseas forces echoed one another at some foreign-controlled Chinese portals and launched sieges against the Chinese military and patriotic people, only to be rebuffed spontaneously by the patriotic majority of Internet users. In cooperation with government departments, [we] won the “Shangganling” battle of the Internet. [2]

Although conflicts over culture, ideology, and cyber-technology do not involve smoke and fire, in fact, they are quite earth-shattering. They will increasingly shock and enlighten Chinese military thinkers. Think of the disintegration of the military of the Soviet Union. It used to have tens of thousands of nuclear warheads and close to 4 million troops. What about Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt that “Twitter” recently overturned so easily and what about regimes that were overturned overnight starting with an ideological collapse during the cyber era. These are absolutely chilling developments.

“Still waters run deep” and China’s crackdown on Internet rumors has triggered massive attacks from overseas “non-governmental forces,” revealing the tactics of this new type of warfare. The public speech by Jon Huntsman, who sought to “topple China” through hundreds of millions of Chinese mobile phone and Internet users also proves from one perspective that “the Fifth Column” [3] should be the focus of China’s military researchers. The military, politics, the economy, culture, hardware, software, history, reality – everything is intertwined. The new battlefield for war is like nothing we’ve ever seen before.

The informational and psychological warfare on television and the informational war of the U.S. dollar era was the only type of warfare to defeat the Soviet Union. Theoretically, it is also the only type of warfare that can destroy China. The Chinese military must not overlook the forest for the trees. The Internet era requires totally new knowledge and anti-war knowledge for China to be prepared.

[2] The Battle on Shangganling Mountain refers to a 1956 Chinese war film that depicts the battle of Triangle Hill during the Korean War. The Chinese People’s Volunteer Army soldiers held Triangle Hill for several days against US forces. The battle has become a symbol of Chinese “die for the sake of motherland” heroism. On January 19, 2011, pianist Lang Lang played the theme song of this movie at a White House state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao, generating significant controversy.
[3] “The Fifth Column” refers to any group of people who undermine a larger group, such as a nation or a besieged city, from within.