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PLA Senior Colonels On Strategy And Geopolitics: "Unrestricted Warfare": Part IV

A February 2000 report from U.S. Embassy Beijing

Summary: Two PLA Air Force senior colonels argue that modern warfare dissolves boundaries between the civilian and military spheres. Victory will depend upon innovative combinations of weapons, tactics, and arenas of engagement (often well off traditional battlefields). Drawing on U.S. thinkers such as Brzezinski and Toffler, the two senior colonels place their discussion of the revolution in military affairs in the context of onrushing globalism that they see as weakening states and strengthening international organizations and NGOs. "Unrestricted Warfare" is a very abstract book. It offers no concrete prescriptions for strategy and tactics or for the reorganization of the Chinese military. Chinese military thinkers, faced with the problem of defending their country against stronger foreign militaries, seem to see in this book inspiration on how a weaker military can use superior tactics to defeat a stronger enemy. During 1999 many military affairs books and web sites appeared. "The Global Revolution in Military Affairs" published by the PLA Publishing House in April 1999 complements "Unrestricted Warfare".

This summary translation concludes a four part series on the February 1999 book "Unrestricted Warfare" written by PLA Air Force Senior Colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui. The first three parts are on the U.S. Embassy Beijing website at

World Military Affairs Interview with Author, Editor of "Unrestricted Warfare" in January 2000 Issue

World Military Affairs [Shijie Junshi] in its January 2000 issue (pp. 28 - 31) interviews "Unrestricted Warfare" author Qiao Liang and his editor Xiang Xiaomi [STC: 7309 1420 4717]. Qiao Liang said that during a 1996 military exercise along the southeastern coast of China he and his co-author decided to write a book of reflections on the revolution in military affairs that preoccupied military theorists. Qiao said that "Unrestricted Warfare" had received considerable attention in Russia, Europe and the United States. Xiao noted that during Summer 1999, the western media including CNN, VOA, BBC reported on the book. He added that New York Times and Washington Post reports that implied that the authors were promoting terrorism had misunderstood the book.

Imaginative Thinking,Tactics: Hope for Weaker Militaries

Qiao said that the heart of "Unrestricted Warfare" is breaking down the traditional ways of looking at war so that one can think about war from a new perspective. According to Qiao, the national security threat no longer comes from traditional military forces but from non-military operations, trade wars, finance wars, etc. Technology far outruns military thought, especially in the United States. The big gap between generations of weapons makes it hard for decisive battles to be fought between opponents that are at radically different technology levels. Today many different generations of weapons coexist. The U.S. counts on an extremely expensive military machine to fight "no casualty" warfare for its security. "Unrestricted Warfare" points out, according to author Senior Colonel Qiao, how a weaker country can take advantage of the tactical lag of a great power by using imaginative strategies and tactics.

[Note: The authors on p. 106 of "Unrestricted Warfare" argue not that the U.S. lags other countries in strategy and tactics but that its strategy and tactics lag far behind its own high tech prowess. End note]

Recent PRC Books, Military Websites Discuss Modern Warfare

Military books, magazines and websites are fashionable in China today. Hobbyists run nearly all the military websites. Postings and articles on these websites sometimes appear to be well-informed and plausible albeit unsourced. These postings have become a security concern for the Chinese government. Lists of Chinese military affairs websites can be found on major PRC Internet portals such as Sina.Com (, Netease ( and Eastnet (

Many of the books on military affairs by Chinese journalists merely introduce foreign military hardware and so are of limited interest. Books written by the Chinese military, however are much more interesting. The PLA Publishing House has thus far issued several volumes in its series "Perspectives on Military Affairs in the Twenty-First Century". The first four volumes in the series are:

  • Information War [Xinxi Zhanzheng] published in November 1998
  • Digital Troops [Shuzihua Budui]
  • The Weapons of 2020 [2020 Nian de Wuqi] by the PRC Defense S&T Information Center [Zhongguo Guofang Keji Xinxi Zhongxin] in February 1999
  • New Global Revolution in Military Affairs" [Shijie Xin Junshi Geming] by Wang Baocun [STC: 3769 0202 1317]" in April 1999.
  • A Better Book? A Capsule Summary of "The New Global Revolution in Military Affairs" by Wang Baocun

    The "New Global Revolution in Military Affairs", overlaps considerably with "Unrestricted Warfare" and in some ways it is a better book. Three chapters (50 pages) cover the gestation, infancy and adolescence of the revolution in military affairs (RMA). About fifty pages are devoted to the historical development of the revolution in military affairs in the USSR, Europe, Japan and the United States. The next several chapters discuss how new technologies, the faster pace of change and especially information technologies have transformed the world and military affairs.

    One chapter surveys U.S. - USSR Cold War confrontations that spurred the RMA and then notes that in the post Cold War years the danger of a general war is far less than before. Another chapter discusses on how The Gulf War showcased information warfare and information-enhanced weaponry. New technologies and new weapons are giving birth to new technologies, new ways of organizing military units, and new strategies. The "Global RMA" concludes with chapters on

  • The characteristics and trends of the RMA,
  • Information warfare as the core of the RMA,
  • Digital troops and the digital battlefield,
  • The RMA's much greater demand for highly educated soldiers,
  • The effect of the RMA on the global strategic situation.
  • Comparing "The Global RMA" and "Unrestricted Warfare"

    "Unrestricted Warfare" gives an Olympian view of the RMA, argues that the most important RMA is in the mind of the commander and strategist and that RMA is not the same thing as information warfare. "The Global RMA" takes the conventional (especially in China!) approach of introducing the historical development of the RMA, saying what the RMA is, and where it is going. The Olympian perspective on RMA in "Unrestricted Warfare" is invaluable. However, the reader (especially perhaps the Chinese reader without access to the abundant English language material on the RMA) is left with the impression that the two PLA senior colonels are more original than they really are.

    "Unrestricted Warfare" and "The Global RMA" are good books that complement one other. The scary title may have contributed greatly to the success of "Unrestricted Warfare". Another contributing factor may have been the senior colonels' challenge to Chinese military thinkers. The authors called on them to strive to become superior in tactics and strategy so that they could confront a materially and technologically superior enemy. This message meshed well with the national defense concerns aroused in the minds of many Chinese following the mistaken NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in May 1999.

    A Soldier's Military Novel: Breaking Out of Encirclement

    Chinese high tech warfare also has a novel. A November 1998 novel on high tech warfare by Lt. Col. Liu Jianwei {STC: 2692 1696 0251], "Breaking Out of Encirclement" Tuchu Chongwei [STC: 4499 0427 6850 0953] is in its third printing. The novel revolves around a large-scale Chinese wargame. According to the dust jacket, the novel examines the political, economic challenges including corruption and technical backwardness faced by the Chinese military at century's end. The novel was published by the People's Literature Publishing House. Chinese Central Television just finished broadcasting a twenty-part series based on this novel. The actors, according to a January 28, 2000 PLA Daily article, were special forces troops of the Chengdu military district. According to a advertisement during the broadcast, recordings of the series will be available in the Video Compact Disk (VCD) format.

    The Sources of "Unrestricted Warfare"

    "Unrestricted Warfare" contains many references to U.S. military doctrine on modern warfare as well as writings on geopolitics, economics and society by writers such as Zbigniew Brzezinski and Alvin Toffler. The two senior colonels quote approvingly Zbigniew Brzezinski's books "Out of Control : Global Turmoil on the Eve of the Twenty-First Century" and "The Grand Chessboard : American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives". The footnotes to "Unrestricted Warfare" bear witness to the strong influence of U.S. military and geopolitical thinkers on Chinese thinking. Brzezinski's books have appeared in Chinese translation. A full Chinese translation of "The Grand Chessboard" is even available on the Internet at

    "Unrestricted Warfare" has several references to Col. Chen Bojiang's [STC: 7115 0130 3068] Spring 1998 interviews with U.S. military leaders and academics. Chen's book "Interviews with U.S. Generals and Famous Scholars: the Revolution in Military Affairs on the Other Side of the Pacific" [Meiguo Gaoji Jiangling yu Zhuming Xuezhe Fangtanluu] was published by the World Knowledge Publishing House in November 1998. This same publisher also issued the same book in English as an English study aid. Col. Chen spent the 1997 - 98 academic year in the United States on a Ford Foundation grant. General Zhao Nanqi, a Vice Chairman of the National People's Consultative Congress concluded his late 1998 foreword to Lt. Colonel Chen's book with a wish for improved friendly exchanges between the militaries of China and the United States.



    Some subheads are added for the convenience of the reader

    In Search of the Secrets of Victory

    "Brilliant military maneuvers should be routine, but once the enemy is expecting a brilliant movement, I hit him with a very conventional attack. This is making conventional tactics serve as brilliant maneuvers but once the enemy realizes that you are using conventional tactics then I hit him with a brilliant movement." -- Li Shimin [Note: Founder of the Tang Dynasty. End note]

    Certainly we can see that making a proper combination of forces is important, but how do we decide what is the proper combination of forces. The Golden Mean, the ratio of 0.618 remarked on in the writing of the ancient Greeks is also to be found in Chinese military history and throughout military history. We see it in the shapes of bullets and missiles and in the trajectory of bombers about to drop their bombs. We can see this ratio in the German war against the Soviet Union. The turning point of the war was Stalingrad at the 17 month point of the 26 month long German offensive campaign. After August 1943 the Germans were always on the defensive on the Eastern Front. 17 divided by 26 gives us the Golden Section!

    Searching For the Pattern Lying Beneath Incessant Change

    Before the Gulf War military experts estimated that if the Iraqi Republican Guard lost 30 percent of its forces, it would no longer be an effective fighting unit. Thus Desert Storm did not begin until Iraqi strength was brought down to about 60 percent of where it was at the beginning of Desert Shield. This 60 percent ratio is very close to the Golden Section. Yet this should not be understood narrowly as a certain number but rather as a pattern that can be discerned despite the incessant variations of forms and circumstances. [pp. 166 - 179]

    Methods, Tactics, Resources, Objectives Must Be Compatible

    Methods, tactics, resources and objectives need to be compatible. Even a rich country like the United States must pay attention to the efficient use of resources. Severe resource constraints affect tactics. For example the Soviet Union as its strength declined came to rely nearly exclusively on its nuclear forces while the United States aimed for all round superiority. The USSR based these choices on obsolete thinking. The killing power of a weapon is only one of its characteristics. As terrorists such as Ben Laden have shown, military tactics are just one kind of action. The increasing array of offensive tactics have brought with them the increasing participation of civilians in warfare. The hacker attacks against U.S. and Indian defense installations are examples. [pp. 180 - 183]

    No matter what action is involved the main problem is deciding the tactics to be used and the point of attack. And the heart of this for Alexander, for Hannibal and for Nimitz as it was for the ancient Chinese military strategists was to do the unexpected. [pp. 183 - 184]

    Patterns, Not Formulas

    It is hard to explain what warfare is. Warfare requires the support of technology but technology is no substitute for morale and strategy. Warfare requires a sensitive appreciation of technology but does not permit romanticism or sentimentality. Warfare requires mathematical accuracy but such accuracy can sometimes lead it astray into mere mechanical operations and rigidity. Warfare requires the abstraction of philosophy but philosophical debates have no place amidst the blood and iron of the battlefield. Not rules but patterns can be discerned in warfare. We do see patterns such as the Golden Section of 0.618 but there are no constant patterns. Someone who insisted on a strategy based always on the Golden Section would certainly lose. For example, we might well choose a "golden" deviation of 0.618 off center for our targeting but following any strategy will not guarantee victory. This Golden Section of western wisdom coincides very remarkably with the deviation concept of ancient Chinese strategic thought. [pp. 185 - 188]

    [Note: Footnotes include works on Pythagoreas and Greek philosophy; Bevin Alexander's "How the Marshal Win's Wars", Lidell Hart's "History of the Second World War", the U.S. Army's "Concept of The Army in 2010", USAF late 1997 "Global Participation USAF Strategic Concept", articles in PRC military journals on Col. Chen Bojiang's visit to the Fort Irwin National Training Center. For a discussion of quantitative methods, the authors refers to a 1993 book edited by Li Hongzhi [Note: Not the Falungong Li. End note] entitled "Quantitative Analysis Methods for International Politics and Military Problems". End note]

    "Today's wars affect the price of the fuel that flows through the oil pipelines, the prices of food in the supermarket, and the prices of stocks on the stock exchange. Wars can also destroy ecological balances and through the television screen enter the homes of each one of us." -- Alvin Toffler

    [Note: The theories of Alvin Toffler are well known and appreciated in China. End note]

    Ten Thousand Methods Come Down to One: Unrestricted Combinations

    Understanding the patterns of victory does not guarantee victory just as understanding the strategy of running in a marathon does not ensure victory. The wars of the future will require what most soldiers find themselves unprepared to do: to win the unconventional wars and the battles off the battlefield. From this point of view even Generals Powell, Schwarzkopf and Shalikashvili are not "modern" but rather traditional military men. There is a big gap between the conventional and the modern. A gap that can be bridged, but only by deep thinkers. What soldiers need to do now is to be military Machiavellis.

    The unlimited warfare thinking can be found in the thought of the Italian Renaissance thinker Machiavelli and of course much earlier in the Chinese military thinker Han Feizi.

    Unlimited warfare means the overcoming of boundaries, restrictions and even taboos that separate the military from the non-military, the weapon from the non-weapon, and military personnel from non-military personnel. Yet unrestricted warfare does not Mean that unlimited methods are always suitable.

    As we said before, combination is the Marshal's cocktail. The narrow seeking of combinations only from elements within the military arena is too narrow. To win the wars of today and tomorrow, you must employ all the resources available to you to conduct war. This is not enough, you have to see a pattern to guide you in determining the most effective combination. [pp. 195 - 198]

    Super National Combinations

    We have been talking in this book about the overcoming of restrictions. But every overcoming of restrictions must necessarily take place with a limited arena. Unrestricted does not Mean unlimited. Unrestricted warfare expands the limits to bring into play more resources and methods in new combinations. When the national security is threatened, resistance is not simply a matter of just choosing military action against a foreign state. National security is the highest security concept. For the Chinese, national security is equivalent to the "all under heaven" [tianxia] . But for a geographically or ethnically defined state it is nothing more than one of the links in the global village. States today are ever more influenced by regional or global super-state organizations such as the European Union, OPEC, the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO and the organizations of the United Nations. NGOs including multinational corporations, professional associations, Green Peace, the International Olympic Committee, religious organizations, terrorist organizations, and hacker groups are important too. These super-state, international and NGO organizations are creating the new global power structure.

    From Power Politics of States to Superstatal Organizations

    We are now in a time of transition in which great powers in politics are ceding place to super-state politics. Many extremes manifest themselves and many processes are just beginning. It is still not clear whether in the world today the power of states or the power of the super-state organizations, international organizations and NGOs will predominate. On one hand, states and especially the United States -- a great power across the board --- and some other states such as Germany and Japan as important economic powers still have a leading role. China as a large developing country and Russia as a great country are trying to exert their influence on world affairs. Some farseeing powers make use of the power of the super-state - international organization - NGO combination to augment their own influence to achieve otherwise unattainable objectives. The introduction of the Euro as a European currency is an example.

    [Note: Footnote references for this passage to Chinese translations of two books by Zbigniew Brzezinski -- "Out of Control : Global Turmoil on the Eve of the Twenty-First Century" and "The Grand Chessboard : American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives". Also referred to is Alvin Toffler's 1991 "Powershift : Knowledge, Wealth, and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century" End note]

    As Borders Become Permeable, Interest Defined More Broadly

    In a world in which politics, economics, ideology, technology and culture penetrate national borders freely those who take a very narrow definition of state interests and security will have a difficult time. One example is idiots like Saddam Hussein who try to make a naked grab for territory. This kind of move in doomed to failure in the late 20th Century. As far as a state seeking its own security and interests, the United States is much more subtle than Iraq. Ever since the U.S. had come onto the world stage, the U.S. has gotten far more advantages from other countries that Iraq would have gotten from its conquest of Kuwait. Grabbing an oil field isn't just a matter of "might makes right" and is not just a matter of a violation of international principles.

    The U.S. Strives to Act Through International Groupings

    In all its actions, the U.S. is the one that is always trying to pull together the largest number of allies so that it won't become isolated. Except for its actions against small countries like Grenada and Panama, the U.S. seeks to involve a super-state organization to achieve its interests. The U.S. organized a group of 30 nations to counterattack Iraq under the command of a U.S. general and got UN approval for its actions. [p. 201]

    Economic, Political, Cultural Globalization Good and Bad

    After the Gulf War the trend towards super-state organization settling conflicts has become more pronounced. What we are seeing is economic globalization, the internationalization of the domestic politics of individual states, the networking of information resources, the shortening of technology innovation cycles, the concealment of cultural conflicts, and the strengthening of NGOs which brings humanity advantages and disadvantages in equal measure.

    Most of the national security threats today come from non-state actors. Only a super-state combination can respond to these threats effectively.

    The U.S. Aims to Be Lead Every International Organization

    The world's only remaining superpower, the United States, is the country that has been best at using supernational organizations as a weapon to achieve its objectives. The U.S. participates in all the international organizations it can and strives to guide their actions to put them in line with U.S. interests. No matter whether it be in Europe, the Americas, or Asia, the U.S. wants to put part of every organization so that it can take the lead within. The 1996 U.S. Department of Defense annual report put it bluntly: "In order to protect and realize U.S. interests, the U.S. government must have the ability to influence the policies and actions of other states. This means that the United States must participate in foreign affairs, particularly in those regions where U.S. interests are most threatened."

    APEC is An Example

    One example of this is APEC. The Australian Prime Minister's initial APEC concept was a grouping of Asian countries to include Australia and New Zealand. President Bush strongly opposed this concept, so the U.S. and Canada joined APEC. The U.S. has prevented Asian economic cooperation from emerging by the conclusion of agreements between the North American Free Trade Area and some Asian countries. This strategy of pushing into Asia and pulling others out to NAFTA can be called a two level strategy.

    How The U.S. Profited From the Asian Financial Crisis

    Most objectionable of all is the way the Americans handled the Asian Financial Crisis. As the Crisis began the U.S. immediately vetoed the Japanese suggestion that Japan set up an Asian Monetary Fund while insisting that matters be handled through the IMF in which the U.S. is a major stockholder. Then the U.S. set conditions on IMF assistance aimed at forcing the Asian countries to accept the U.S. economic liberalization policy. The USD 57 billion loan to South Korea required South Korea to open up its market so that the U.S. could buy Korean companies cheaply. This action of the developed countries with the U.S. at it head is a kind of economic occupation.

    We can put it all together and look at the big picture. We see these the actions of the U.S. government, of people like George Soros, in the rise in U.S. mutual funds in ten years from USD 810 billion to USD 5 trillion. We can also see it in the actions of Moody and of Morgan Stanley in reducing the credit ratings of Japan and Hong Kong at the most critical time. We can see it in the concerns raised by Alan Greenspan on whether the anti-speculator counterattack by the Hong Kong government was changing the playing rules. We can also see it in the precedent shattering rescue of the Long Term Credit Management (LTCM) investment company on the one hand and on the other the voices in Asia that said "no" or called for an Asian Century. All these things fit together.

    [Note: Footnotes cite the Japanese rightist Ishihara Shintaro, Fortune magazine, and the Russian press as translated in the PRC newspaper "Reference News" Cankao Xiaoxi. End note.]

    Regardless of U.S. Intentions Were In Then, the Asian Financial Crisis Showed the Potential Power of Financial Warfare

    If we put all those things together, can we say that it was the first coordinated action among super-state organizations, international organizations and NGOs? Although there is no direct proof that the U.S. government and the U.S. Federal Reserve made a detailed plan beforehand we can see just how they could have used this immensely powerful and silent weapon. But we can, from what can be seen, say that at least some of these action got their active or at least tacit consent beforehand. This is the heart of the question that we address here. Not whether the U.S. consciously used financial warfare against the Asian countries but whether this [combination] is practical as a weapon of financial war. The answer is yes, it is. [pp. 198 - 204]

    The Combination of The Superregional: Breaking Barriers

    When we speak of supernational and superregional combinations and than add the words "combat operations" [zhanzheng xingdong] we get at an important concept. Only by breaking down regional barriers can our thinking be free. This is the same concept as the Full Dimensional Warfare of U.S. military theorists. Yet this U.S. concept, the invention of some brilliant soldiers, does not have a solid intellectual foundation so it may prove to be just a flash in the pan.

    [Note. From the footnotes to this section: "In the U.S. publication "Joint Forces Concept for 2010", it can be seen that "Full dimensional warfare" is limited to the military arena and really comes down to improving the information security of U.S. forces. According to the head of the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, full dimensional means a force that can go anywhere in the world. Clearly for the U.S. forces the full dimensionsal concept has been emptied of its meaning. Only the name remains." End note.]

    The expansion of the scope of war is the natural consequence of the expansion of the scope of human activities. The civilian sector was once considered to be merely subordinate to military necessity. We see this narrow thinking in General Kutuzov's burning of Moscow to prevent Napoleon from getting supplies and in the bombings of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Now all areas, the military and the civilian, should be seen as one.

    Death and Destruction No Longer Measure War Intensity

    Destruction and slaughter are not the measure of the intensity of war. That is an obsolete concept. War can now be intense with low or even no casualties. For example, information warfare, financial warfare, and trade warfare. One example is the sharp decline of the Taiwan stock market in Spring 1996 when mainland China began a series of missile tests in the Taiwan straits. While this wasn't planned as part of the mainland Chinese strategy but if stock market attacks were to be combined with military operations wouldn't that boost the effectiveness of an attack? [pp. 205 - 208]

    The Combination of Super-Methods

    Should special methods be used in a murderous war say to carry out psychological operations against soldiers' families in the rear? Should assassination be a tool in the protection of a country's financial security? Should special funds be set up to influence the operation of a foreign government or national assembly? Should stock purchase or control be used to control the mass media of a foreign country? These questions all involve the use of supernational or superregional use of methods. This can be called the combination of super-methods.

    What methods are at the level of individuals is easy; at the level of the state it is a much more complex question. means and ends can be hard to distinguish. For a super-state organization, an individual state might be a means. The military, political, economic and other areas can be seen as means. Economic assistance, trade embargoes and cultural penetration can also be seen as means. Methods of science and technology can be used as means for one's own benefit or to hurt an enemy. As Liddell Hart said, strategy is "the art of distributing military means to fulfil the ends of policy."

    A Broader Perspective is Needed

    What is needed is a broadening of perspective so as to understand that anything can be a means. For example when the personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Iran were taken hostage, the U.S. first used military means and then after that failed switched to freezing Iran's foreign assets, stopping arms shipments and supporting Iraq in the Iran-Iraq conflict. Finally, it made diplomatic efforts through a number of channels to eventually win the release of the hostages.

    [Note: Of course the failed rescue effort was carried out only after several months of diplomatic efforts. The authors cite "The Analysis of International Relations" by [transliteration of foreign author: Ka-er Duo-yi] as the source of this misinformation. End note]

    From Broader Thinking Emerge New Means

    States often don't understand how to combine super-means and supranational approaches. NGOs do however. Terrorist organizations and George Soros are examples. To free our thinking what first of all needs to be overcome are ethics or principles which limit our thinking about means. That is much harder than merely combining one method with another. For example to harm the economy of another country, an attacking country need not use military means or a blockade. Merely adjusting economic policy to make exchange rates go up or down can create public pressure in the attacked country for a policy change. We can see that this strategy is possible from the way the Asian Financial Crisis dampened arms races in the region although in this case there wasn't any big country trying to change the monetary policy of other countries.

    A Responsible Power, China Refused To Devalue Its Currency

    China, a country that is on the verge of becoming a global power, has the power to influence the world economy. If China were a selfish, self-seeking country and had betrayed its 1998 commitment not to devalue the Renminbi, an RMB devaluation certainly would have deepened the crisis. A devaluation would have upset world financial markets and severely hurt the United States which as the biggest debtor nation in the world depends upon net capital inflows. That result of an RMB devaluation would have been greater than a military attack.

    The intertwining of interests and the expansion of the scope of war means that any country of sufficient importance has the capacity to threaten other countries by non-military means. [pp. 208 - 212]

    The Combination of Levels

    Wars have stages. A war might progress from a local war to a regional war and then to a world war. There might be battles at each level. Victory or defeat is the result of an accumulation of victories and defeats. The question is how to combine a tactical maneuver or a battle directly or strategically with the level or war or strategy being employed. In this we distinguish four stages that are essentially the same as those of U.S. military thinkers.

    [Note: Reference is made to USAF order AFM1-1 translated in "Fundamental Aerospace Ethics of the USAF" published in 1992 by the Military Sciences Publishing House. End note]

    Military thinkers need to think how to integrate actions at all levels to win a war. Bin Laden with two car bomb attacks -- a tactical level action -- was able to threaten U.S. security at the strategic level. A hacker with a modem can cause an enemy as much damage as a war. [pp. 213 - 218]

    [Note: References include the Summer 1996 Armed Forces Quarterly and the "Joint Forces Concept for 2010" End note.]

    Necessary Principles

    "Principles are the precepts of behavior but they are not absolute precepts" -- George Kennan

    Sun Zi was the first to apply principles to fix the ways of fighting war. His principles such as "Know yourself, know your enemy and you will be victorious", "Hit them when they are not ready and come out of where they are not looking", "Avoid the strong and attack the hollow" are article of faith among soldiers to this day. The English general J.F.C. Fuller distilled five principles that still guide Western soldiers.

    Precision guided missiles and non-lethal weapons have reversed the course of war: the new trend of war is towards less death and destruction. All military ideas arise from a certain time. Sun Zi's ideas arose from China's Spring and Autumn Period. Fuller's are drawn from the lessons of the Napoleonic Wars. The Full Dimensional War Fighting concept of American military thinkers and our Unrestricted Combination War Fighting grew out of the Gulf War.

    As a patterns of fighting wars coalesce into strategy, principles emerge. The worth of these principles and tactics [of unrestricted warfare combination war fighting] will not be clear until they have been tested in war. [pp. 223 - 225]

    Here they are:

    Full Dimensionsional -- This is the starting point of unrestricted warfare thought. Its basic demand is that in looking at battlefields and potential battlefields all methods, plans and resources be brought into play. There is no distinction between on and off the battlefield. Politics, economics and culture are also battlefields.

    Simultaneity -- Operate in many different spaces at the same time. Many kinds of tactics that were once down in stages can now be done simultaneously. Modern communications made it possible for one U.S. information warfare base to provide attack data for 4000 targets to 1200 aircraft within one minute.

    Limited Objectives -- Make an action plan within the scope of available means. Always consider whether an objective is practically attainable. Do not seek objectives that are not limited in time and space. The mistake of General McArthur in the Korean War is the classic case of expanding a limited objective. The experience of the U.S. in Vietnam and of the USSR in Afghanistan prove the same point. Means must be adequate to the objective in view.

    National Interests and National Values Are Different

    Yet not all political and military leaders understand this. For example the "1996 U.S. Defense Department Report" quoted President Clinton as saying " As the world's strongest country, we have the responsibility of leadership, and to take action where our interests and values are severely threatened." President Clinton didn't understand that national interests and nations values belong to two different strategic levels. The first is that the United States is able to take action to achieve its objectives. But the second is unattainable and is not an objective that the United States should pursue outside its own borders. [p. 229]

    Globalist Ideology Tempts USA to Unlimited Objectives

    In the ideology of globalism, as opposed to isolationism, the Americans are expanding their national strength in the direction of unlimited objectives This will lead inevitably to tragedy. A company with limited capital yet unlimited responsibility will inevitably go bankrupt.

    Unrestricted means -- Move in the direction of no restrictions in the means used, but the means used are restricted in that they must be proportional to the objective sought. Unrestricted means is in opposition to restricted means and does not signify that any and all means may be used. means must be suited to objectives. Unrestricted warfare ideology is about expanding the scope of means and not about expanding objectives. General Sherman's devastation of Savannah in order to break the resistance of the Southerners in the U.S. Civil War is an excellent example of the use of unrestricted means to achieve the war objectives of the North.

    Unbalanced -- Seek the action point by moving along a direction opposite to that of balance and symmetry. This ancient Chinese war fighting principle of deviating from the center aims to find the enemy's weak point.

    Minimal Expenditure -- Use the minimum amount of battle resources needed to achieve an objective. A case of needless expenditure was the war of attrition fought by the Germans and the French at Verdun. An example of applying this principle is the German crossing of the Maginot Line in World War II using the blitzkrieg strategy.

    [Comment: The German forces went around the Maginot Line and through Belgium in World War II. They did not cross the Maginot Line. End note]

    Multiple Dimension Coordination -- coordinate all the military and non-military resources available to achieve an objective. The battlefield can be anything and any force might be used in a war. Thus multiple dimension coordination is essential.

    Make Adjustments Throughout -- War is full of chance and opportunities for creativity. Thus adjustments must be made continually. The art of continual adjustment made possible by modern communications has become even more of an art with the great increase in the number of different elements involved in war.

    [Note: Footnotes include references to a Chinese translation of "The Theory and Conduct of War" by General Fuller; the nine military principles of the U.S. military; the U.S. military "United Forces Concept for the Year 2010". End note] [pp. 225 - 240]


    Globalism is an growing trend. No longer is the nation-state the top level of social, political, economic and cultural organization because now there are supranational and super-regional organizations. This development challenges conceptions of national sovereignty, national interests and the very idea of nationhood more than ever before. War has gone beyond being the business of soldiers and beyond the scope of merely military affairs. War is becoming more and more the business of politicians, scientists and even bankers. Clemenceau said at the beginning of the Twentieth Century "War is far too important to be left to the military."

    The revolution in military affairs brought about a radical transformation in the last decade of the Twentieth Century. War has expanded beyond the confrontation of two armies. Think of Lockerbie; think of the bombings in Nairobi and in Dar es Salaam. This is the cruelty of the new warfare. This is warfare in the age of globalism.

    Soldiers Must Ask Themselves Just What Do I Do?

    With the turn of the century, soldiers need to ask themselves, "What do I do?" If Bin Laden and Soros are military men, then who isn't? If Powell, Schwarzkopf, Dayan can be considered politicians, then who is a politician? That is the question of globalism and warfare in the age of globalism

    The distinction between soldiers and non-soldiers has broken down. The distinction between war and non-war has broken down. All these questions are related to the onrush of globalism. The key to resolving these questions must suit the requirements of strategy and tactics and must be suitable for politicians and for the general down to the foot soldier. That key is unrestricted warfare.

    [Note: Footnotes refer to a US Army manual TRADOC PAMPHLET 525-5: FORCE XXI OPERATIONS that "clearly refers to 'non-state forces" as the "future enemy" and to a Chinese book entitled "Map of the World in the Information Age" by Wang Xiaodong published by China Renmin Daxue Publishing House in 1997. End note.]


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    One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias