In This Review

Chinese Views of Future Warfare
Chinese Views of Future Warfare
Edited by Michael Pillsbury
National Defense University Press, 1997, 421 pp

Politicians and journalists sound the alarm about a rising China, yet within the Pentagon, something approaching complacency reigns. Casting a knowing eye on obsolescent technology and the economic corruption of the People's Liberation Army, American intelligence and defense analysts have pooh-poohed China's potential as a serious military power. This volume, which brings together the writings of many of China's leading military thinkers, should moderate such disdain. Despite the clumsiness of some of the translations, these articles taken from Chinese military journals provide a window into Chinese military thinking that reveals some considerable sophistication about modern warfare and particularly the problem of "defeating a powerful opponent with a weak force in a high-tech war." To be sure, Chinese soldiers, like their counterparts elsewhere, resort liberally to platitudes and trivialities (for example, "the law of the victory of the superior"), and some of their prescriptions surely fall short of Chinese capabilities -- for the moment. Still, a useful reminder that some in the PLA, at any rate, take their profession seriously indeed.