Authored by U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
Over the past two decades, China’s rapid military expansion has raised concern among U.S. policy makers and defense officials. While it publicly claims a policy of “peaceful development,” China continues to develop high technology weapons systems and force projection platforms that are widening its military advantage over its neighbors and could possible deny American military access to the region in the event of conflict. China’s true ambitions and long-term strategy are difficult to discern, as it is intentionally secretive about its military development and foreign policy. Despite its military buildup and secretive nature, China has not yet shown any intention of conducting strategic military aggression against other nations. However, could China’s non-aggressive posture change? And if so, what emerging conditions might indicate that such a change is taking place?
This study uses a case study of interwar Germany to determine the factors that led to Germany’s strategic aggression, and assesses modern-day China against those factors. Interwar Germany embarked on a rearmament program that produced the massive military force Hitler used to initiate World War II. In comparison, there are clearly substantial differences between Germany and China, but there are also some parallels and areas for concern. Emerging domestic problems could manifest themselves in China over the next two decades – possibly leading to instability – and China is not content with America’s military presence in the Western Pacific. If China is unable to maintain its current high levels of economic growth, potential domestic and international problems could destabilize the Chinese Communist Party and provide more aggressive leaders the credibility needed to seize power. The United States can no longer afford to train, and maintain an expensive, Cold War-style military force for an unlikely war. Therefore, it must monitor the military doctrine, domestic climate, international relations, and political conditions within China for negative trends. Provided the United States maintains its advantage in military technology, research, and development, it will likely have enough time to react to changing conditions and prepare its military forces for the right conflict.
Mar 30 2014
1497490723 / 9781497490727
US Trade Paper
8.5″ x 11″
Black and White
History / Military / Strategy