Skip to content

PRC Expert: U.S. Strategic Capabilities Are Declining

The following article was written by a professor from the Beihang University Research Center of Strategic Issues. It points out that, “The outdated and ill-mannered western conduct is a reflection of their insufficient self-confidence. Not only are they reluctant to let go of the opportunity for the Olympic Game; they use the Olympics to criticize China.  Effective diplomacy is uttering fine words while holding weapons to dominate the enemy. However, the West is only cursing on the streets, while holding no weapons to dominate China. At the same time, the West is dependent on strategic cooperation with China.” Below is the translation of the original article. [1]

The culture of strategy belongs to the category of soft power. In this respect, the East and West each have their own characteristics. Hence the large Eastern and Western countries have different national strategic capacities, different characteristics and different national fates.

With a culture of reunification (a unified culture), Modern China has witnessed (in the area of economics) the development of Marx’s maxim, “One day equals 20 years.”

The West is the home of metaphysics. Dialectics is the way of the East. However, Westerners often seem clumsy when they come across the Eastern dialectics. Metaphysics solves problems mainly by using incremental approaches. Let’s look at how Bush Jr. fights Iraq. His strategy emphasizes the superficial form, with little change, fighting in a single way from the beginning to the end and using tons of gold to hit countless targets. Except for those addicted to a foreign country’s way, true Asians usually are not like that. Asians know that “If you are winning the war, fight; if you are not winning the war, leave.” They thus take the initiative. They have an understanding of Mencius’ words: “The answer is already within me. Therefore whatever happens, I will not be unhappy.”

Different cultures bring different results to their countries. Modern China’s development started at a very low point, but the rate of [economic] improvement is rare among the world’s countries. This is, to a large extent, related to our profound cultural advantages accumulated over 5,000 years of history, not to mention the rapid changes in the 20 year period from the 1901 “Xin Chou Treaty” to the victory of the Northern Expedition in China. The history before and after the Pacific war (World War II) is sufficient to illustrate the point. In 1940, when China was at the lowest point in relation to the allied countries, China was divided into a number of political entities. Those political entities merged into two major entities in 1945 when China, in one stride, became one of the four big victory countries. By 1949, except for Taiwan, China had basically achieved national reunification. In 1953, China defeated the insufferably arrogant Americans in the battlefield of North Korea. In 1964, China became one of the world’s few nuclear countries. It only took 24 years for China to complete these miraculous transformations.
{mospagebreak}
The same situation also appeared in Europe, albeit with the exact opposite results. In 800, Emperor Charlie unified Europe, similar in significance to the reunification of China by China’s first Emperor, Qin Shihuang. However, in 843, Emperor Charlie’s three grand children signed the “Treaty of Verdun” and divided Europe into three parts. Thereafter the European geographical sections were divided into smaller and smaller pieces like “Calculus.” This laid a deeply broken foundation for the European geo-political section that has been extremely difficult to repair to date and which Britain, Russia and the United States very easily manipulate. Why is it so? It is the different ways of thinking. Westerners emphasize analysis, like the “Calculus” of metaphysics, while Asians emphasize integration, the integration of grand unification. This is the essence of the Eastern philosophy, and also the essence of the Oriental spirit.

It is precisely because of the humanistic spirit of unification and anti-secession that in 1945, despite Marshall’s advice not to go northward across the river, Chiang Kai-shek decided he would rather resign than not re-unify China. Whereas in the north, Mao Zedong did not listen to Stalin’s advice not to go southward across the river. After winning the Northeast and with the notion of “With our courage unspent pursue the overthrown foe to the end; do not fish like the Herculean King for reputation, while letting the enemy go,” he continuously fought across the river to the south and reunified China. This is Chinese people’s grand philosophy: fight rather than separate. It is precisely because of this unification culture that modern China has achieved rapid development. Like Marx said: “One day equals 20 years.” What was the determining factor? It is not mainly the material force—China was weak in this regard then. It was the Asian-specific humanistic spirit of re-unification and anti-secession, based on China’s great historical and great philosophical legacy. Stalin had told Chiang Ching-kuo, “As long as China is reunified, you will make progresses faster than any other country.” Clearly, the dialectical thinking of Oriental culture with the premise of reunification should be the most profound basis of our strategic research.

The role of the US is increasingly transforming from a world manipulator to a “strategic scavenger” for other countries

Shortly after the Soviet Union disintegrated, the position of the US in Middle Asia was advantageous to the US. At that time the Taliban was checking and balancing the five republics in the North of the former Soviet Union, with the Soviet Union on the north and Iran on the west. Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban and Iraq under the rule of Saddam Hussein were Sunnis, while Iran was Shiite. The Taliban and Saddam were containing Iran, a major rival of the Americans, from the east and from the west. In the Gulf War, the United States defeated and retained Saddam Hussein and used him to constrain Iran; they used the liberated Kuwait to contain Saddam from the south. The United States also used minimum force to achieve their maximum strategic interests in the Middle East. After Bush Jr. gained power, however, the United States defeated the Taliban, while instead allowing the Russian forces to enter the south of Afghanistan. The toppling of Saddam granted the victory to the Iraqi Shiites and instead resulted in the expansion of Iran’s territory.
{mospagebreak}
Moreover, before the expiration of his presidency, after toppling the Taliban and Saddam for Russia and Iran, Bush Jr. shifted from the Middle East to Europe to actively support the independence of Kosovo, further eliminating the strategic obstacles for the rise of the Europeans. Accounting for the shaking effect of the Euro against the U.S. dollar, the United States is now self-destructing the foundation established in the Yalta system after World War II, which was beneficial for the US as world hegemony. In World War II America not only wanted to defeat German’ and Japanese’ fascism, but also wanted to use the war to destroy the European hegemony. For these reasons, Roosevelt supported Marshall’s plan in Normandy on the east coast of the Atlantic Ocean, rather than launch a second battlefield in Italy on the north coast of the Mediterranean. This naturally left east Europe to the Soviet Union. The consequence of the Normandy landing was the rise of the Soviet Union’s forces and the large-scale squeezing of Europe’s strategic space. Since then, the great Europe of history has become the now “Western Europe” caught between the Soviet Union and the United States. West Europe subsequently became a political vassal of the US.

After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Americans were overjoyed like children and unconsciously took the job of “strategic scavenger” for Europe. In 1999, the US promoted Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to join NATO. In the same year the US led NATO to launch the Kosovo War that separated Kosovo from Serbia. In 2004, the European Union (EU) achieved the largest eastward expansion in history and its member countries increased from 15 to 25. On February 17, 2008, the Kosovo Assembly adopted the Declaration of Independence; the United States subsequently declared the formal recognition of Kosovo independence. If we look at the map, we will be surprised to find that if Kosovo finally achieved “independence” or de facto independence, the European forces and their geographical basis would again be close to overlapping the great European map that existed before World War II. Thus, the geographical layout of the “mini Europe” that Roosevelt and Marshall designed to squeeze out the Europeans was lost.

Studying the Kosovo issue in the post-war Yalta pattern, we will find that the Kosovo event drew a perfect period for the resumption of Europe’s political map at the North Atlantic Ocean before World War II. Europe’s new rise will again create strategic pressure on the US similar to that before World War II. Such pressure will force the United States to further implement the Nixon style contraction strategy from the west bank of the North Pacific. If taking into account the U.S. defeat in the Middle East and the resulting rise of the Euro and the decline of dollar, it is reasonable to believe that this shrinkage will be considerably large-scale. The changes on the two sides of the North Atlantic Ocean inevitably leave greater expansion space for China—and of course for Japan, who has been extremely fragile in the current geo-political situation—in the West Atlantic Ocean area. It will also create a more proactive, free and relaxed geo-political environment for China to resolve the Taiwan issue.
{mospagebreak}
The West’s outdated anti-China practice indicates that Westerners no longer have the self-confidence they had before

The strategic capability of the US is in decline. On the contrary, after experiencing confusion and difficulties a few years ago, China and Russia are on the rise in their national strategic capabilities. The rise of China has once again aroused the narrow-minded complex jealous mentalities of Westerners who once admired Chinese civilization. Their unique mentality of old city households that have now finally lost control have been transformed to curses and abuses on the streets in the course of the Olympic torch relay. Viewed throughout history, we have found that cursing on the streets and beating people when upset are not novel to the Europeans and were exactly the way Europeans treated the United States, with the consequence of forcing the United States to become a world power. Interestingly, today’s Americans also have the same kind of mentality that the Europeans had in the past. The outdated and ill-mannered Western conduct is a reflection of their insufficient self-confidence, so that they are even reluctant to let go of the opportunity of the Olympic Games. Effective diplomacy is uttering fine words while holding weapons to dominate the enemy. Today the West is only cursing in the street with absolutely no weapons to dominate China; meanwhile it is dependent on strategic cooperation with China. This indicates that the current western anti-China diplomacy, if not mentally retarded, is showing the “the trick of an empty city.”[2]

In July 1897, Russia’s Finance Minister Witt talked about Europe to the visiting German Emperor William II, “In the near future, the angel-like Europe admired by scholars and artists will become a senile and trudging old woman.” An old woman always gossips about “Cinderella” because she has lost the confidence of a young woman. It now appears that today’s United States is not far from that day. (The author Zhang Wenmu is a professor in BHU Research Center for Strategic Issues. The original article was published on April 30, 2008 in Global Times)

Endnotes:
[1]. Xinhua News Agency, April 30, 2008
http://news.xinhuanet.com/world/2008-05/02/content_8091192.htm
[2] According to a famous intelligence story of about the wise Chinese, ZhuGe Liang, during the three country period after the Han dynasty, ZhuGe faced total defeat and could not go home. Therefore, he played the Empty City trick on his opponent SiMa. Both were intelligent and knew each other well. When SiMa saw ZhuGe’s city was empty, he was afraid it was a trick, and withdrew his army. Thus ZhuGe could safely go home. Thus the “Empty City trick” here implies there is no substantial threat.

The Development Plan of China’s International Broadcasting Station

A recent issue of Qiu Shi Magazine published an article by Wang Gengnian, manager of China’s International Broadcasting Station and the editor-in-chief of the publication. This article is helpful to understand the foreign strategy of the Chinese official broadcasting station. Below is the translation of the article [1].

Let China’s Voice and Information Spread Further and Broadly

Wang Gengnian

General Secretary Hu Jintao in the 2008 National Propaganda Ideological Work Conference emphasized to pay special attention to strengthen the foreign propaganda as the overall national development strategy mission, to form the strength of foreign dissemination to match the level of our country’s economic and social development and international standing, and to let China’s voice and information spread further. International broadcasting is an important field of public opinion and an important part of foreign dissemination. Strengthening the construction of the modern international broadcast system; powerfully strengthening foreign broadcast propaganda; enhancing the influence and competitive ability in foreign broadcasting; serving well the reform and open policy and modernization; and promoting bigger contribution to the motherland reunification, world peace, and the progress of humanity are the international broadcasting’s overall and strategic tasks.

Since the reform and open policy, our county’s economic and social development has obtained a magnificent achievement. However, compared with our country’s international standing and international influence enhancing day by day, the strength of our foreign dissemination is still insufficient. The pattern of world consensus of “the West is stronger and we are weaker” has not changed fundamentally. In the last 10 years, America and other Western countries using broadcast, satellite TV, Internet, and other emerging media have established a multi-dimensional surrounding net. In our country’s peripheral locality, Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, British BBC, Voice of Germany, France International Broadcasting Station, and Japanese NHK have set up several dozens of relay stations and hundreds of frequency channels to broadcast to our country. Facing all sorts of challenges, the standing and function of strengthening our country’s foreign propaganda work appear more important.

China’s International Broadcasting Station is an organization that specially undertakes the duty of international broadcasting. In 66 years of development, it has made great achievements. However, compared with the world-famous international dissemination organizations, China’s International Broadcasting Station still has a long way to go. First, along with the change in the development and dissemination pattern of the media environment, new media technology based on the Internet [is growing by] leaps and bounds.
{mospagebreak}
The world’s main international broadcasting media have made a strategy adjustment as a goal of developing new media. In the situation of the day-by-day high-tech, who controls the newest media methods, whose information will disseminate quickly and broadly, and who influences and controls power, will be stronger. Overall, China’s International Broadcasting Station that specifically undertakes the foreign propaganda task is stronger in the traditional media but weaker in the new pattern of media. It is stronger in the channel dissemination but weaker in the multimedia dissemination. Only if we speed up new media development and walk the synthesis media development path, can we meet the rapid development needs of the international media dissemination model. Second, entering the 21st century, international broadcasting has entered a development period that has online broadcasting of new media as the main method. After 66 years of development, China’s International Broadcasting Station has almost reached the development level of British Broadcasting Corporation, Voice of America, and a few other world main international media in terms of the broadcasting languages, time periods, broadcasting target rates, and other measures. However, there is a big disparity in the launch retransmission, the service constitution, the human resources, the ground coverage, the funds safeguards, and the technical support, and so on. Speaking overall, our country’s foreign broadcasting cannot meet the needs of the new round of competition with the world’s main international broadcasting media.

The Central Party Committee headed by the general secretary, Comrade Hu Jintao, highly values our country’s foreign broadcast work. In 2004, when Li Changchun and Liu Yunshang inspected China’s International Broadcasting Station, they emphasized that we should surround the goal of enhancing China’s international voice. Through “two hands grasp and two legs walk,” on one hand pays special attention to radio broadcasting, and on the other hand pays special attention to online broadcasting, and quickly establishes the modern international broadcasting system. During the celebration of China’s International Broadcasting Station’s 65 years of establishment, the general secretary, Hu Jintao, pointed out in the written comment, “actively constructing a modern international broadcasting system, unceasingly enhancing our country’s foreign broadcasting quality and level, diligently establishing a bridge of friendship that promotes the mutual understanding between Chinese people and people in other countries, and building a harmonious and friendly world consensus environment for a well-off society.” This symbolizes a new historical period, and our country’s international broadcast has an explicit developmental strategy and goal.

According to the Central Party Committee’s strategic plan and the world’s main media development situation, and based on China’s international broadcasting reality, we have formulated “China’s International Broadcasting Station ‘11.5’ Development Plan Summary.” We will strive to form a bare-bones modern international broadcasting system by 2010. We will catch up on the whole or partially reach the level of the BBC and Voice of America in services, new media development, equipment level, frequency quantity, broadcasting time periods, abroad grounding, abroad stationed organization, audience feedback,
{mospagebreak}
human resources, funds safeguards, research standards, and other important measures. We will build a new media entity combining radio broadcasting, online broadcasting, and multimedia broadcasting, and play a vital role in the competition for world consensus. Presently, we begin with several important aspects, actively advance the modern international broadcasting system construction, and promote the core competitive ability of China’s international broadcasting.

Complete the transition from the sole media to comprehensive media. In transnational and cross-culture information dissemination, the sole media production and transmission platform can no longer comply with the trend of the media development globalization. Currently, the world’s main international broadcasting media are all comprehensive media, and the sole media of the radio, TV, or newspaper is rare. They have all established multimedia information sharing platforms, through the coordination of all kinds of media to share the resources and therefore reduce the dissemination cost. China’s International Broadcasting Station has the sound, audio, network, newspaper, and publication media intelligence, and initially formed a comprehensive media form from first to fifth media means to cover the newspaper, broadcasting, television, the network, the new media, and so on. But for various reasons, the comprehensive influence and competitive abilities need the enhancement of the newspaper, magazine, and television. We must learn from the world’s main international broadcast development direction, fully display the language and the superiority of talented persons, adjust the foreign dissemination work, build the multi-ways and broad coverage for the foreign dissemination network, expand the dissemination space, and gradually form a multimedia development pattern to enhance the overall effect of the international broadcasting. The pattern is centered by the new media services and based on television, newspaper, publication, and magazine business with a reasonable structure, complete classification, disposition science, and smooth operation.

Complete the transformation from the traditional media to the modern media. Coordinate the development of traditional media and modern media, utilizing new and high technologies, especially digital and network technologies, to upgrade traditional media and develop modern media. Based on wireless radio, in worldwide important countries and regions, setup English, Chinese, and multilingual global radio broadcasting by the end of the “11.5” period (2004), and build a good audience of English, Chinese, and local official languages listeners. Based on the frame of online radio, by using the Internet’s features of high-speed, borderless, big-capacity, and openness, develop “International Online” into our country’s online broadcasting center to foreign countries, become the important means and new tools of participating in international media competition. As the direction of new media development, from the high point of controlling cultural communication, mastering ideological propaganda in the information age, use new and high technologies to create new ways of cultural communication, make great efforts to develop new media enterprises based on online radio, TV, cell-phone broadcasting, cell-phone TV, actively control the new media technologies, make more efforts to develop and produce new media contents and programs, establish a united multimedia platform, actively broaden new frontlines of propaganda to foreign countries, accelerate the building of a rapid and broad cultural broadcasting system, and constantly enhance the effectiveness of the new media propaganda to foreign countries.
{mospagebreak}
Complete the transformation from the overseas broadcasting to the international media. International media is an audience-oriented mode, and such a model is obviously very different from our self-oriented overseas broadcasting model. In international media, from the reality of China’s social development, close to the foreign audience’s need of China’s information, close to the foreign audience’s way of thinking, insist on the media notion of “China’s perspective, worldwide view, and humankind’s point of view.”

The so-called “China’s perspective” is to use Deng Xiaoping’s Theory and “Three Represents” as the guide, thoroughly carry on the Scientific Development View, closely staying with the big picture of the Party’s work, 100 percent carry out the strategic decision of the Central Committee, show the core values of socialism from the media propaganda, broadcast the thoughts and spirits that are good to the might of the country, rising of the nation, happiness of the people, and social harmony.

The so-called worldwide view is from the global angle and view to objectively introduce all aspects of China to the world, introduce the ideas and practice of our Party’s Work-for-the-People, Work-for-the-Public, the great achievement of our country’s reform and openness, and socialist modern construction; introduce the peaceful development road, policy and proposal to push to build a harmonious world, introduce the long history and richness of Chinese culture, win the acceptance and understanding of China by the international society.

The so-called humankind’s point of view is to carry on the international broadcast from the standpoint of all of human society, respect and accept cultural differences; respect the values, political attitudes, religious beliefs, living ways, and thinking traditions of different countries, races, and regions.

Establish the broadcast ideology of for-the-audience, care-for-the-audience, understand-the-audience, guide-the-audience; based on the need, reform the programs’ format, optimize programs’ structure, adjust programs’ editing and arrangements, enhance targeting of the programs, increase the attractiveness of the programs; follow the foreign audience’s way of thinking and learning, use international common practice and easy-to-accept languages to foreigners, increase the attractiveness of overseas broadcasting, work hard to combine the targeted audience with China’s view of propaganda, constantly enlarge the international clout of greater China’s culture in the globalization and information ages.

(Author: Manger and Editor-in-Chief of the China’s International Broadcasting Station)

Endnote:
1. Qiushi Magazine,May 1, 2008
http://www.qsjournal.com.cn/qs/20080501/GB/qs%5E478%5E0%5E6.htm

Party Members Urged to Lead by Example in Earthquake Relief

Members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) are called to take the lead in earthquake relieving efforts to demonstrate the party’s superiority by leading the people to win the battle against the disaster, according to a new announcement released today (May 20) by the Central Party Organization Department. All basic level party organs damaged by the earthquake must be quickly restored and temporary party organs should be established in all displacement centers. All party leaders need to be at the frontline of the relief work so their images and voices can be heard at all times. Their performance will be the basis for future appointments and promotion. Individuals with heroic and consistent performances should be actively recruited into the party. The party cadres are encouraged to donate for the disaster relief through "special party membership dues". All propaganda departments should heavily promote the exemplary deeds demonstrated by all level of the party organs, leaders and members during the earthquake relief.

Souce: Xinhua, May 20, 2008
http://news.xinhuanet.com/newscenter/2008-05/20/content_8215702.htm

Xinhua Tightens Reporting on Victims of School Collapse In Earthquake

Xinhua has banned reports about kids who were buried in classrooms that collapsed during the earthquake. According to a Xinhua correspondent, three internal directives were issued over the past two days. The first asked correspondents to write more articles with details about the emotional moment when a child was found alive among the debris. The second that came on May 19 and ordered that no reports should be published about those children who died in schools during the earthquake or about their heartbroken parents. The latest May 20 directive bans any reports related to schools in the earthquake stricken regions. Apparently a large number of casualties of the earthquake were children who were attending classes.

Source: Boxun, May 20, 2008
http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2008/05/200805190802.shtml

Confirmed Death Toll Reaching 40,000 in Sichuan Earthquake

According to China’s official news agency, the confirmed death toll in Sichuan Province following the Wenchuan earthquake reached 39,577, and another 236,359 people were injured. Li Chengyun, vice governor of Sichuan Province revealed the number at a news conference.

Source: Xinhua, May20,2008
http://news.xinhuanet.com/newscenter/2008-05/20/content_8215239.htm

Media Strategy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Prior to The Olympics Games

More than 30,000 foreign journalists are expected to enter China during the August 2008 Olympics Games.  This presents a challenge to the CCP, known for its stringent media control.  The CCP, from the central authorities to the local governments, has started to prepare for the media challenge.  Below is a translation of an article from Xinahua Net (Zhejiang Channel) ) [1].

Promote Friendliness to the Foreign Media While Enhancing Self-Capabilities

The Jianggan District Party Committee Center organized a special seminar to enhance the strategies and skills of dealing with the media for the leading cadres. On April 16, Zhang Baogui, Deputy Director of the Provincial Party Committee Propaganda Department, lectured at a special seminar presided over by Zheng Guilan, Member and Propaganda Chief of the Center. All attendees watched the informational film, “Beware of the Political Scheme Under The Olympic Flag (The Five Interlocking Rings).”

Zhang gave an overview of three aspects:  “The policy changes that relaxed restrictions on foreign media interviews, [the goal of] treating them with kindness, [and] dealing with them squarely and skillfully.”  He pointed out that the new policy relaxes the requirements for foreign press-correspondents to come to China, relaxes the control of foreign reporters on their interviews and relaxes the feasibility of foreign reporters to employ local Chinese citizens.  The policy also simplifies the screening procedures for foreign reporters and their equipment.  These changes of the policy, allows each local government to make full use of foreign media for our own propaganda, but also subjects us to “the trouble making" of these [reporters].  Especially during the period of the Olympics Games, more than 30,000 foreign correspondents will be coming to China.  Although these reporters are coming for the Olympics, we cannot exclude the possibility that some western hostile influences will be sneaking in and seizing the opportunity to link China’s social problems with the Olympics, to politicize the Olympics and to cause social unrest.  Local officials should be prepared to deal with these situations.

He emphasized that local authorities should implement the policy of improving media relations while recognizing that media relations is like “a marriage of cooperation between information client and the competitor.”   Second, they should also follow the news dissemination rule; namely, guarantee the authority, authenticity and effect of the information. Third, they should learn to make use of the media to direct public opinions according to information from the government.  When dealing with sudden incidents, the government should act according to "The Five Rapids" and "The Five Avoiders." "The Five Rapids" are to establish  a media control organization, to appoint a media spokesperson, to set up a local news center for foreign media  to conduct interviews, to standardize official releases to the media and to follow the information in media and the internet rapidly. "The Five Avoiders” are to avoid passive propaganda, falling into reporter’s question traps, being angered by reporters, refusing reporter’s inquiries and getting into direct conflicts with the press.
{mospagebreak}
Deputy Director Zhang’s lecture was very well received.

Participants of the seminar included the core members of the Jianggan District Committee, leaders of various units at the levels of communities, towns, news spokespersons, propaganda committee members, news liaison officers and so on.  (Source: Jianggan Government Net)

Endnote:
[1] Xinhua, April 17, 2008
http://big5.xinhuanet.com/gate/big5/www.zj.xinhua.org/df/2008-04/17/content_13007931.htm