Chinese Assessment of New U.S. Naval Strategy

February 19, 2021 10:28 AM USNI News

The following is a translation of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies assessment of the recently released U.S. maritime strategy, Advantage at Sea: Prevailing with Integrated All-Domain Naval Power. The China Maritime Studies Institute at the U.S. Naval War College made the translation.

The Prelude to All-Encompassing Maritime Competition Between China and the U.S. is about to Begin—An Appraisal of America’s Newest Maritime Strategy

By Shi Xiaoqin and Liu Xiaobo

On December 17, 2020, the U.S. Navy (USN), U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) jointly issued a new maritime strategy entitled Advantage at Sea: Prevailing with Integrated All-Domain Naval Power. This tri-service strategy is a follow-on to A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower, which the three services jointly issued in 2007 and 2015. Two characteristics of the document deserve attention: one, it directly regards China as an opponent and two, it simultaneously classifies China and Russia as opponents. Compared with the U.S. maritime strategy issued at the height of the Cold War in 1982, this document might be regarded as the first maritime strategy document issued after the inauguration of Sino-U.S. strategic competition.

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China’s Global Media Footprint – Democratic Responses to Expanding Authoritarian Influence

ABOUT THE SERIES

The Sharp Power and Democratic Resilience series aims to contextualize the nature of sharp power, inventory key authoritarian efforts and domains, and illuminate ideas for non-governmental action that are essential to strengthening democratic resilience.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Cook is research director for China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan at Freedom House. She directs the China Media Bulletin, a monthly digest providing news and analysis on media freedom developments related to China. Cook is the author of several Asian country reports for Freedom House’s annual publications, as well as four special reports about China.

This report describes the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) sharp power efforts to shape media content around the world. It also documents how nongovernmental actors contribute to a growing accumulation of activities aimed at countering Beijing’s media influence while protecting democratic institutions.

Leveraging propaganda, disinformation, censorship, and influence over key nodes in the information flow, Beijing’s expanding efforts to shape global narratives go beyond simply “telling China’s story.” Their sharper edge undermines democratic norms, erodes national sovereignty, weakens the financial sustainability of independent media, and violates local laws. An acknowledgment and understanding of the challenges that China’s party-state and related actors pose to media freedom globally—not only by China experts, but by the full array of nongovernmental actors engaged in the media, news, and technology sectors—must be central to a comprehensive response.

It is imperative that anyone engaged in the media space—be they journalists, regulators, technology firms, press freedom groups, or even news consumers—acknowledge the influence exerted by China’s authoritarian regime on the news and information circulating in their print publications, radio broadcasts, television programs, and social media feeds.

KEY IDEAS FOR NONGOVERNMENTAL RESPONSES:

  • Investigation and research: Academic institutions, think tanks, research entities, and donors should continue existing work and ensure resources are available to monitor and expose CCP media influence activities in a credible, professional, and sustained way in the coming years.
  • Action by media outlets: Local media should improve their awareness of the potential journalistic and political pitfalls of accepting Chinese state or proxy investment, paid supplements, or coproduction deals.
  • Civil society advocacy: International and local press freedom groups should consider whether and how to incorporate a CCP media influence dimension into current or future projects, with support from donors. Such initiatives could support internal capacity building, journalism trainings and education, media literacy, policy advocacy, and information sharing and coordination.
  • Technology sector collaboration: Technology firms should seek further opportunities to work with researchers and civil society in identifying emerging threats and problematic accounts tied to the Chinese party-state. They must also ensure that independent voices, activists, and content producers who are critical of the Chinese government have a clear avenue for appeal if they encounter problems on the companies’ platforms.

The report also highlights specific actions taken by media outlets and civil society to counter the CCP’s expanding global footprint. Categorized by sector, these responses illustrate ways for media, civil society, think tanks, and the technology sector to build resilience to sharp power across the information ecosystem.

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The Second Island Cloud: A Deeper and Broader Concept for American Presence in the Pacific Islands

By Andrew Rhodes Joint Force Quarterly 959PRINT  |  E-MAIL Nov. 18, 2019 — Washington Headquarters Services

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Andrew Rhodes wrote this essay while a student at the U.S. Naval War College. It won the Strategic Research Paper category of the 2019 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Strategic Essay Competition.

In the early 20th century, the visionary Marine officer Earl “Pete” Ellis compiled remarkable studies of islands in the Western Pacific and considered the practical means for the seizure or defense of advanced bases. A century after Ellis’s work, China presents new strategic and operational challenges to the U.S. position in Asia, and it is time for Washington to develop a coherent strategy, one that will last another 100 years, for the islands of the Western Pacific. It has become common to consider the second island chain as a defining feature of Pacific geography, but when Ellis mastered its geography, he saw not a “chain,” but a “cloud.” He wrote in 1921 that the “Marshall, Caroline, and Pelew Islands form a ‘cloud’ of islands stretching east and west.” His apt description of these archipelagoes serves well for a broader conception of the islands in, and adjacent to, traditional definitions of the second island chain. A new U.S. strategy should abandon the narrow lens of the “chain” and emphasize a broader second island cloud that highlights the U.S. regional role and invests in a resilient, distributed, and enduring presence in the Pacific.

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Powers Jockey for Pacific Island Chain Influence

By: Christopher P. Cavas    February 1, 2016 Defense News

WASHINGTON — The extensive chains of Pacific islands ringing China have been described as a wall, a barrier to be breached by an attacker or strengthened by a defender. They are seen as springboards, potential bases for operations to attack or invade others in the region. In a territorial sense, they are benchmarks marking the extent of a country’s influence.

“It’s truly a case of where you stand. Perspective is shaped by one’s geographic and geostrategic position,” said Andrew Erickson, a professor with the China Maritime Studies Institute at the Naval War College.

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How the United States Can Effectively Contain China

| May 21, 2020

Pluralism and freedom vs. Communist autocracy

During his Senate confirmation hearing last week to be the next director of national intelligence, Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe emphasized China is this country’s “greatest threat actor,” a status only confirmed by rising acrimony over Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. But though tensions are rising in the South China Sea, where U.S. Navy missions challenge China’s unsubstantiated claims of hegemony over the region, an actual war between the two powers appears unlikely.

But are the United States and China on a path to a new Cold War?

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A China Strategy

CEPA

A China Strategy

Photo: The portrait of China's President Xi Jinping appears during a military parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of a nation at the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China on October 1, 2019. New weapons were unveiled at the largest military parade ever. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun ) Credit: REUTERS

Edward Lucas

December 7, 2020

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In an era of geopolitical competition, the West — the U.S.-led countries of the transatlantic alliance and their East Asian allies — lacks a strategy for dealing with its most formidable competitor: the People’s Republic of China (henceforth China). But the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a strategy for dealing with the West. It involves a long-term goal of “national rejuvenation”1 — making China the world’s most powerful country by 2050 — implemented with decisive leadership; a clear-eyed appreciation of Western diplomatic, economic, political, and social weaknesses; and effective means of exploiting them. These tactics, best characterized as “sharp power,”2 include censorship and manipulation of the information system, cyber operations, divide-and-rule diplomacy, leverage of trade and investment, and propaganda, plus military bluff and intimidation.

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CSBA: SEIZING ON WEAKNESS – Allied Strategy for competing with China’s globalizing military

January 4, 2021  Toshi YoshiharaJack Bianchi
Resources: Strategy & Policy

China’s military is going global. In the coming decade, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) could be well-positioned to influence events and conduct a wide range of missions, including limited warfighting, beyond the Western Pacific. The United States and its close allies, who have enjoyed largely unobstructed access to the world’s oceans for the last three decades, will need to adjust to new military realities as the PLA makes its presence felt in faraway theaters.

In this study, Senior Fellow Toshi Yoshihara and Research Fellow Jack Bianchi argue that a deep study of China’s weaknesses as they relate to its worldwide ambitions is required to formulate an effective allied response. These weaknesses offer insights into the costs that Beijing will have to pay to go global. Importantly, the United States and its close allies enjoy agency over certain Chinese weaknesses, furnishing them leverage that, if exercised, could yield strategic dividends. The report concludes with a range of allied options that exploit China’s weaknesses to constrain and complicate the PLA’s global expansion.  

AUTHORS Toshi Yoshihara Senior Fellow, Jack Blanchi, Research Fellow

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How China sees the world

How China Sees the World

And how we should see China

Illustration
Karan Singh

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I. The Forbidden City

On November 8, 2017, Air Force One touched down in Beijing, marking the start of a state visit hosted by China’s president and Communist Party chairman, Xi Jinping. From my first day on the job as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, China had been a top priority. The country figured prominently in what President Barack Obama had identified for his successor as the biggest immediate problem the new administration would face—what to do about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. But many other questions about the nature and future of the relationship between China and the United States had also emerged, reflecting China’s fundamentally different perception of the world.

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Atlantic Council: Global Strategy 2021: An allied strategy for China

Atlantic Council

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This strategy was produced in collaboration with experts from ten leading democracies.

Foreword

Following World War II, the United States and its allies and partners established a rules-based international system. While never perfect, it contributed to decades without great-power war, extraordinary economic growth, and a reduction of world poverty. But this system today faces trials ranging from a global pandemic and climate change to economic disruptions and a revival of great-power competition.

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To Counter China’s Rise, the U.S. Should Focus on Xi

A proposal for a full reboot of American strategy toward China.

Xi Jinping

Ju Peng/Xinhua via AP

By ANONYMOUS, Politico

01/28/2021 08:15 AM EST

The author is a former senior government official with deep expertise and experience dealing with China.

In 1946, the American diplomat George Kennan wrote a lengthy cable to Washington—since dubbed the “Long Telegram”—laying out the basis for the next several decades of U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union. He published his work as an article under the simple pseudonym “X.” In that spirit, a former senior government official with deep expertise and experience dealing with China has published with the Atlantic Council a bold and ambitious new U.S. strategy toward its next great global rival. It is similarly delivered anonymously, which the author requested, and POLITICO granted. Here the author describes the broad outlines of the strategy. The full memo is available here.

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THE LONGER TELEGRAM – Toward a new American China strategy

by Anonymous

Atlantic Council

Key points

  • The single most important challenge facing the United States and the democratic world in the twenty-first century is the rise of an increasingly authoritarian and aggressive China under Xi Jinping. China has long had an integrated, operational strategy for dealing with the United States. The United States has so far had no such strategy with regard to China. This is a dereliction of national responsibility.
  • US strategy and policy toward China must be laser-focused on the fault lines among Xi and his inner circle–aimed at changing their objectives and behavior and thus their strategic course. Communist Party elites are much more divided about Xi’s leadership and vast ambitions than is widely appreciated.
  • The foremost goal of US strategy should be to cause China’s ruling elites to conclude that it is in China’s best interests to continue operating within the US-led liberal international order rather than building a rival order, and that it is in the Chinese Communist Party’s best interests to not attempt to expand China’s borders or export its political model beyond China’s shores.

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Table of contents

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These three Pacific military flashpoints could shape Biden’s China strategy

Analysis by CNN Staff

Updated 0327 GMT (1127 HKT) January 29, 2021 CNN

(CNN)Any suggestion that the departure of former US President Donald Trump from Washington would provide a temporary pause in US-China tensions has been swiftly dispelled.In the short time since President Joe Biden was sworn into office, China has flown more than two dozen combat aircraft near to the self-ruled island of Taiwan and passed a law allowing its coast guard to fire on foreign vessels. Meanwhile, the US Navy has sent an aircraft carrier strike group into the South China Sea.Analysts say such moves are likely only the beginning of what is expected to be a potentially uneasy initial relationship between the new Biden administration and Beijing.

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The Future of the U.S. and China

The Future of the U.S. and China Opening Session: The Global Chessboard

January 14, 2021 — Asia Society Northern California Executive Director Margaret Conley gives welcome remarks to the center’s signature one-day conference, The Future of the U.S. and. and China: Seeking Truth Through Facts, followed by opening remarks from Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis, lieutenant governor of California. Asia Society President and CEO Kevin Rudd then delivers a keynote address on the necessary frameworks for China and the United States to co-exist and continue collaboration, maintain competition, and prevent conflict. (31 min., 22 sec.)

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US Congress stings China with new Tibet law on the next Dalai Lama

The Hindustan Times

The Central Tibetan Administration welcomed the Tibetan Policy and Support Act passed by the US Congress, calling it a historic move and a clear message to China

WORLD Updated: Dec 22, 2020, 15:20 IST The Hindustan Times

Shishir Gupta

Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The US Congress has passed a law that reaffirms the right of Tibetans to select the successor to His Holiness Dalai Lama.
The US Congress has passed a law that reaffirms the right of Tibetans to select the successor to His Holiness Dalai Lama.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

The US Congress has passed a bill that reaffirms the right of Tibetans to choose a successor to their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. The law has been described by Dharamshala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, as a historic move and a clear message to China.

The Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020 (TPSA), which was passed by the US Senate, calls for the establishment of a US consulate in Tibet’s main city of Lhasa and underlines the absolute right of Tibetans to choose a successor to the Dalai Lama.

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