Military History | How To Make War | Wars Around the World Rules of Use How to Behave on an Internet Forum
China Discussion Board
   Return to Topic Page
Subject: US Fears PLA Warlords Will Act Independly of Civilian Leadership (duh!)
Softwar    4/21/2008 8:45:32 AM Some of China's military leaders are not completely united with civilian Communist Party leaders, prompting fears among U.S. intelligence analysts last month that Chinese forces were set to take some kind of independent action against Taiwan, Pentagon officials said. Sensitive intelligence reports obtained by the U.S. over the past several months indicated that military commanders in China thought they had authority to use military forces without first seeking permission from Beijing's leaders, the officials said. The reports indicated the specific issue for China's military was Taiwan's March 22 nationwide referendum on whether to seek membership in the United Nations under the name Taiwan, rather than the current Republic of China. The measure failed to gain a majority of voters. However, the officials said, China's military leaders thought that passage of the referendum would be tantamount to a declaration of independence, a red line that Chinese leaders have set as a trigger for the use of force to reunite the island with the mainland. What alarmed officials were the indications that the action could be taken without first obtaining clearance from civilian leaders in Beijing, specifically Chinese President Hu Jintao, whose authority over the military comes from his party position as chairman of the Central Military Commission. Three U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups were dispatched to waters near Taiwan in the weeks leading up to the March 22 presidential elections, in part because of the intelligence, the officials said. One official said the divide is not a "hawks-versus-doves" split but is more complex and appears related to new assertiveness by top military leaders. Other signs of the split include the military's blocking of the planned November port visit to Hong Kong by the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, which had been approved by civilian Chinese officials, and discontinuity on official Chinese responses to the January 2007 anti-satellite weapon test by China. The apparent divisions have prompted the Bush administration to seek a strategic military dialogue with Beijing, something China so far has not accepted. Heritage Foundation China specialist John Tkacik said Beijing has used leaks of intelligence in the past to telegraph threats of military action. It is "highly likely that they leaked this intelligence — in connection with direct official warnings in diplomatic channels — to get America to buy in to the idea that Taiwan's pro-independence presidential candidate must be defeated." Mr. Tkacik said there is "cleavage" within the Chinese Communist Party between those who think the party must focus on social ills, and those who regard a "powerful army" as essential to the "wealth of the nation." China's military now thinks the country is such a wealthy state and that now the top priority should be on creating a power army, he said.
Quote    Reply

Show Only Poster Name and Title     Newest to Oldest
Nanheyangrouchuan       4/21/2008 1:12:08 PM
This rift has probably existed since the P3 incident.  The PLA and CCP hawks saw a chance to grab US spy technology and didn't even ask the other side of the aisle, who were left to deal with the diplomatic side.

Same for the Song sub "pop-ups".

Sid and I came to the conclusion that the PLA has decided to manage certain aspects of China's foreign policy, especially where the US is involved.  This scope may widen to other nations and theaters (like Africa) depending on what the PLA perceives as strategic/economic priorities.

The CCP needs the PLA to survive and the PLA knows that, you could say that a "soft coup" has taken place.

Quote    Reply

Softwar       4/21/2008 1:23:31 PM
So, basically what we are facing is more like a loose confederation of Warlords with CCP officials who may be out of the loop depending on what is happening.  This is the perfect mix for either a "hard" coup, or an accidental war.  Loose cannons rolling around doing their own bidding is a dangerous way of running a nation.  Thus, we can put less and less stock into negotiations, treaties and personal re-assurances from the CCP leadership.
Quote    Reply

Wicked Chinchilla       4/21/2008 2:42:04 PM
Sounds like an awful mess just waiting to be sparked off. 
Quote    Reply

Photon       4/23/2008 1:41:35 AM
The degree of severity of domestic turmoils will determine the 'window' of options available for the civilian government.  If they perceive that they cannot manage the boiling cauldron known as PRC, then they will more likely to seek 'quick fix' (or ... 'radical solution' perhaps).

In case of Mao, after the catastrophes of the 'Great Leap Forward', he incited the 'Cultural Revolution' to stay in power.  A plenty of agitation and ensuing mass purges including the virtual breakdown of civil administration managed to keep the masses distracted quite well.  (A situation that may result in resorting to a 'radical solution' would most likely to pop up in the aftermath of economic catastrophe.  How about something like the Chinese equivalent of the Great Crash and the Great Depression?  Its mercantilist/hyperexpansionist economy cannot go on forever.)

The CCP's reliance on the PLA to keep themselves in power has already been vividly shown in 1989 at a real-estate known as Tienanmen Square.  To top it off, ever since the Chinese economy has been growing like crazy, the military spending has been increasing at twice the rate of GDP.  Probably an 'unwise' thing for CCP top-brasses to not offer a bigger slice of the pie to the PLA.  Not likely for the PLA to blatantly take over Beijing; but most likely to gain more concessions from the CCP the more the latter becomes dependent on the former to stay in power.  (Not unlike numerous historical episodes of the most influential warlord having the actual power under the authority of nominal emperor.  This time around, perhaps the emperor = the CCP?  Hehe.)

The danger of the PLA is that, because it has not had much combat experience for decades, it may be prone to too much optimism, especially within its younger generation.
Quote    Reply

Herald12345    Ever hear of Ando Rikichi?   4/24/2008 9:24:32 AM

Ando Rikichi (1884-1946)

Those who forget history................................

Quote    Reply