Why did observers of the PLA want to study what Chinese military analysts might learned about non-Chinese wars? The answer is twofold. First, the PLA has not fought an actual war since 1979. Yet, during the last 3 decades, fundamental changes have taken place on the battlefield and in the conduct of war. Since the PLA has not fought since 1979, it had no experience in the changing face of war, and thus could not follow Mao Zedong’s admonition to “learn by doing”; instead, it must look abroad for ways to discern the new pattern of warfare in the evolving information age.
Second, Chinese military analysts have noticeably more freedom in assessing and commenting on the strength and weakness as well as the success and failures of other countries’ wars. Indeed, for political reasons, Chinese military analysts have to emphasize the heroics and triumphs of the PLA’s war experience and downplay setbacks and failures. To date, there is no critical analysis of the PLA’s claimed success or dismissed failure in the Sino-Vietnamese Border War of 1979 by Chinese military analysts.
Studying Chinese military analysts’ observation of other people’s wars, therefore, provide us key hints as to what Chinese military analysts consider important aspects of current and future military operational success and failure.
The importance of China stems not only from its current international role and its influence on the Asia-Pacific region in particular, but also because China’s impact on global developments will likely continue to grow.
This volume provides unique, valuable insights on how the PLA has applied the lessons learned from others’ military actions to its own strategic planning.
Author: Editors: Andrew Scobell, David Lai, Roy Kamph