In 1949, China hit a historical inflection point with the Chinese Communist Party’s victory over nationalist Kuomintang forces and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. It also marked an inflection point in Chinese military strategy.
How have the revolutionary roots of China’s military forces influenced its strategy? How has the doctrine of the People’s Liberation Army been influenced by global events, changes in the international system, and technological advancement? And what does China’s military strategy—shaped by all of these factors—look like today, particularly with respect to the flashpoints of Taiwan and the South China Sea? This episode of the Irregular Warfare Podcast examines these questions as it explores the historical arc of contemporary Chinese military strategy since 1949.
Hosts Ben Jebb and Alisa Laufer are joined on the episode by retired Lieutenant General Charles W. Hooper and Professor M. Taylor Fravel. Hooper served in the US Army for over four decades, during which he spent much of his career on US policy in the Indo-Pacific and completed two attaché assignments in Beijing. Fravel is the Arthur and Ruth Sloan professor of political science and the director of the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A world-renowned China scholar, he is the author of Active Defense: China’s Military Strategy Since 1949.
Image credit: Cpl. Hilda Becerra, US Marine Corps