Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-1-2003

Abstract

This paper discusses the emerging discourse on, and capability of the PRC in, information warfare (IW)--as well as the implications of such developments for cross-Strait and U.S.-PRC relations. Chinese discourse shows that informed PLA officers realize that IW constitutes the war of the future and plays a critical role in the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) --a key step necessary for China's military modernization. One allure of this type of warfare is the potential for China to wage an "asymmetric war" -i.e., the use of surprise force b.v a weaker party against a stronger but vulnerable adversary-by applying traditional stratagems. The Chinese argue that using such traditional maxims as Sun Tzu's "overcoming the superior with the inferior" and Mao Zedong's ''people's war" in modern warfare would both counter overall American strengths by focusing on certain ''pockets of excellence" and present China with a credible military option for achieving its political objective of unification with Taiwan (on Beijing's terms). These strategic considerations could, however, introduce instability into the Taiwan Strait; they also challenge conventional wisdom in international relations. This paper critically evaluates the doctrinal-capability gap in China's IW development-the double-edged nature of technology, the low connectivity of Chinese society, and Taiwan's responses-and concludes with a cautionary note on an emergent digital "mutual assured destruction" (MAD) dynamic across the Taiwan Strait.

Comments

Copyright © 2003, National Chengchi University's Institute of International Relations. This article first appeared in Issues & Studies: 39:2 (2003), 107-143.

Please note that downloads of the article are for private/personal use only.

Publication Name

Issues & Studies

Volume Number

39

First Page

107

Last Page

143

Issue Number

1

Share

COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.