Sun Tzu said: Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted.
WASHINGTON: Because China believes it is much weaker than the United States, they are more likely to launch a massive preemptive strike in a crisis. Here’s the other bad news: The current US concept for high-tech warfare, known as Air-Sea Battle, might escalate the conflict even further towards a “limited” nuclear war, says one of the top American experts on the Chinese military.
[This is one in an occasional series on the crucial strategic relationship and the military capabilities of the US, its allies and China.]
What US analysts call an “anti-access/area denial” strategy is what China calls “counter-intervention” and “active defense,” and the Chinese appraoch is born of a deep sense of vulnerability that dates back 200 years, China analyst Larry Wortzel said at the Institute of World Politics: “The People’s Liberation Army still sees themselves as an inferior force to the American military, and that’s who they think their most likely enemy is.”
That’s fine as long as it deters China from attacking its neighbors. But if deterrence fails, the Chinese are likely to go big or go home. Chinese military history from the Korean War in 1950 to the Chinese invasion of Vietnam in 1979 to more recent, albeit vigorous but non-violent, grabs for the disputed Scarborough Shoal suggests a preference for a sudden use of overwhelming force at a crucial point, what Clausewitz would call the enemy’s “center of gravity.”