Category Archives: PLA

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Reshaping America’s Military to Fight Wars in a Transforming World

by Ehsan Ahrari on January 5, 2012, No Comments

The continuing economic crisis has created new pressures and demands for reduced expenditures inside the United States.  The chief question is how to lower defense spending without damaging America's capacity to project power globally and being able to fight more than one war in different regions of the world.  The fact that no such situation would present itself in the near future is irrelevant; the requirements of contingency planning make it vital that top U.S. civilian and military leaders remain prepared for emergencies.  An added variable is the presidential campaign that is currently being waged inside the United States.  This is also a time when a sitting president becomes a target of challengers to his job for not paying adequate attention to America's military strength.  These realities also necessitate a declaration of a "new" strategy. (more…)
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China’s Aircraft Carrier: A Symbol of Its Global Rise

by Ehsan Ahrari on August 11, 2011, No Comments

As much as the world's attention is focused on the loss of the United States' AAA rating and the related long-term consequences for its global dominance, the PRC seems to be taking full advantage of the politics of symbolism related to its military modernization.  Its decision to show off its first aircraft carrier is one such overwhelming example.  It was purchased in 1998 for $20 million from the Ukraine by a Chinese company to be used as a floating casino.  It was then retrofitted by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy (PLAN) to be used for scientific research and training.  As such, it is quite primitive in its technological capabilities, compared to the 11 awesome aircraft carriers owned by the US Navy.  It is also an open fact that it would take several years for the PRC to develop technological capabilities and human training to operate an aircraft carrier.  However, the fact that China has an aircraft carrier speaks volumes about the seriousness its leadership attac
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Who is “Humiliating” Pakistan, Really?

by Ehsan Ahrari on May 24, 2011, No Comments

Reading the headlines on Pakistan these days, it seems there is no end to the "humiliation" of that country. It was humiliated when Usama Bin Laden was found to be living in Abbottabad, only a half-mile from Pakistan's military academy. The government claimed that it was unaware of the world's most wanted terrorist's presence. Its Army was embarrassed when reports of an audacious raid carried out by the U.S. Special Forces flew in on helicopters, killed Bin Laden, and took his body as a "trophy." The Pakistani Army was caught napping during that entire operation (or so we are told). Pakistan's military was disgraced again when its naval base was attacked by the Islamists, which has been a frequently occurring phenomenon for the past few years. The list of embarrassments seems to be getting longer. Who is really responsible for those humiliations and what is wrong? (more…)
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Mil-to-Mil Contacts Are Only a Tool for Smooth U.S.-China Relations, Nothing More

by Ehsan Ahrari on May 17, 2011, No Comments

The news that China and the U.S. have reestablished their military-to-military (mil-to-mil) contacts is indeed a positive development. However, the differences between these two major actors promise to keep the element of competition both alive and steady. Thus, while not denying the benefits of sustaining such contacts, one has to keep in mind that they are no guarantee for smooth ties. (more…)
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China’s 2010 White Paper: A View from Washington

by Ehsan Ahrari on April 29, 2011, No Comments

China has always followed the U.S. military's strategic as well as operational innovations.  That is an important basis for its emergence as a rival of the American armed forces in the distant future.  That very fact also bothers the U.S. military.  Reading China's latest White Paper ("China's National Defense in 2010"), once again, convinces one about the commitment and resolve of its leaders to close the power gap between China and the U.S. military.  Exactly when that gap will be closed is matter of guesswork: the optimists (from the PRC's point of view) give it another twenty or so years, while the pessimists assign a longer period of catching up. (more…)
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Why the Rise and Outcome of a Chinese Awakening are Hard to Predict?

by Ehsan Ahrari on March 13, 2011, No Comments

If the Chinese leaders read Francis Fukuyama's latest essay, "Is China Next?," they should come away with ample mixed feelings.  As much as he relied on a variety of well-chosen variables to develop a highly rational analysis about why China may not be the next country to experience the Chinese version of the Arab awakening (and this part of his argument should please the rulers of China), Fukuyama's most persuasive argument in his essay was the following: "All social revolutions are driven by intense anger over injured dignity, an anger that is sometimes crystallized by a single incident or image that mobilizes previously disorganized individuals and binds them into a community. We can quote statistics on education or job growth, or dig into our knowledge of a society's history and culture, and yet completely miss the way that social consciousness is swiftly evolving through a myriad of text messages, shared videos or simple conversations."  This observation should make them lose a
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The PLA Versus The PRC’s Civilian Leadership: Who’s In Charge?

by Ehsan Ahrari on January 13, 2011, No Comments

  One unexpected development from the U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' highly publicized trip to China is that there are rumors and speculation that President Hu Jintao does not really have a firm grip on his country's foreign policy; that the PLA is getting ahead of the PRC's civilian leadership in conveying its displeasure of kowtowing to the United States; and that the PLA might be setting a precedent in creating fresh parameters for China's foreign policy.  (more…)