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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Rousing China To Military Dominance

March 21, 2010

March 19, 2010 -  Newsweek
By Isaac Stone Fish

As China prepares to become the world's second-largest economy in 2010, its
leaders are struggling to express a convincing and satisfying ideology that
assuages international fears about the country's global intentions. Having
taken note of how Soviet overextension and belligerence led to the
U.S.S.R.'s downfall--and how the perceived arrogance of American hegemony
has alienated many of Washington's key allies--Beijing has been peddling a
theory called "Peaceful Rise." It goes like this: China's rise won't shake
the rest of the world, unlike the ascent of the great empires that preceded
it. China will "only focus on its core interests" (Taiwan and Tibet, for
example), say party spokesmen; China "wouldn't invade anyone in 10,000
years."

But leaving aside historical truths--including those from China's own
past--about whether great powers can dominate without conflict, certain
members of China's military are publicly starting to itch for a more
assertive role in international affairs. The latest hawkish call to arms is
from Ling Mingfu, a senior colonel and professor at China's National Defense
University, whose new book, The China Dream, argues that the country must
aim for long-term military dominance so that America does not try to
neutralize its power.
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The book, though not official pol-icy, is a discrete "line of thinking
within the People's Liberation Army," says Roy Kamphausen, an expert on
U.S.-China defense relations at the National Bureau of Asian Research. While
Liu doesn't directly challenge Beijing's Peaceful Rise mantra, he stresses
that America--an old hand at deflating ambitious rivals like Japan and the
U.S.S.R.--will inevitably attempt to contain China. As such, Liu calls for
boosting China's preventive military capacity to dissuade the U.S. from
declaring war on the Middle Kingdom. "If you want peace, prepare for war,"
Liu says, citing the Roman author Vegetius. "China must use military
strength to defend and safeguard that its strategic objectives and strategic
course is not stopped."

Despite this call to arms, Liu insists that China's rise will still be
conflict-free--and, because China has a "superior culture," it will be
welcomed with open arms by the rest of the world. Of course, China's
influence abroad has already stirred up controversy, both from international
organizations who decry its willingness to deal with rogue governments, to
local communities in Africa and the Middle East, which are protesting
against the importation of Chinese workers to staff infrastructure projects.
Nevertheless, Liu and other hawks claim that China will practice "leadership
without coercion [and will] exercise its power differently from its Great
Power predecessors," according to Andrew S. Erickson, associate professor in
the China Maritime Studies Institute of the U.S. Naval War College. It's
true that ever since its disastrous invasion of Vietnam in 1979, China has
restrained itself from military actions against other countries. But whether
a rising China will result in global harmony remains far from certain.
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