Thursday, July 18, 2013

CHENG: Winning a war without fighting

We would do well to pay attention to my good friend Dean Cheng.  Also at this link is an expanded piece from Dean from last year that goes into more detail on the "Three Warfares" below today's article.

We should not only gain a better understanding of China from this, there are also lessons we could learn as well.

CHENG: Winning a war without fighting
By Dean Cheng

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


The ultimate proof of generalship, Sun-Tzu observed nearly two millennia ago, is the ability to defeat an opponent without fighting. How did one go about convincing opponents that their cause was hopeless and that they were doomed to defeat, in an era before nuclear weapons?

By striking at the psychological will of opponents to resist — whether by displays of overwhelming might, undermining of their home fronts, or luring them into disadvantageous ground.

Fast-forward to the 21st century, and we find that the People's Republic of China has updated Sun-Tzu’s playbook. The People’s Liberation Army has issued regulations regarding “political warfare” to be conducted by the General Political Department — one of the four general departments that manage the army. These regulations highlight the “three warfares”: legal warfare, public opinion warfare, and psychological warfare, reflecting modern ways of ensnaring and defeating opponents without having to engage in combat.

Legal warfare, or lawfare, involves the use of national and international law to constrain and restrict an opponent’s ability to wage war. Whether it is raising doubts about whether one could legally fire missiles at Mullah Mohammed Omar’s convoy or debating the legality of drone warfare, it is clear that the courts are another battlefield in modern warfare.

Meanwhile, in the struggle to mold perceptions worldwide, China has established a global 24/7 news presence through such state-owned media outlets as the Xinhua News Agency and China Central Television. Both of these support the broader effort to influence military and civilian decision-makers, the ultimate focus of psychological warfare.

Too often, we associate psychological warfare with tactical actions, e.g., leaflets and loudspeakers. Indeed, elements in the U.S. military now prefer the term “military information support operations” over “psychological warfare.”
(Continued at the link below)

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