By: Clare Lopez | CCNS

This is the second in a series of articles describing the full-court press by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s “Unrestricted Warfare” or “people’s war” against the United States.

First outlined in “China’s Aggression Encompasses Information Warfare” on September 12, 2023, that “people’s war” includes a broad span of what the CCP and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) call “methods of operation.” In the PLA’s 1999 military manual written as a Master’s Thesis by two then-PLA Colonels and titled “Unrestricted Warfare,” we read that

“The American military is naturally inadequately prepared to deal with this type of enemy psychologically, in terms of measures, and especially as regards military thinking and the methods of operation derived from this. This is because they have never taken into consideration and have even refused to consider means that are contrary to tradition and to select measures of operation other than military means.”

Xi Jinping and other CCP-PLA leaders of today’s China are steeped in the philosophical strategic thinking of Sun-Tzu as written in his 5th century BC “The Art of War.” They know that strategic objectives of conquest and domination can be accomplished by many means other than military. In fact, as Sun-Tzu wrote nearly 2,000 years ago:

“Ultimate excellence lies not in winning every battle, but in defeating the enemy without ever fighting. …The skillful strategist defeats the enemy without doing battle. … Know when to fight and when not to fight. … Hence the saying, Know the enemy, Know yourself, and victory is never in doubt, not in a hundred battles.”

When the CCP Xinhua News Agency mouthpiece declared a “people’s war” against the U.S. in May 2019, too many Americans, including at top levels of academia, media, and national security, leaped to the conclusion this was all about sanctions and a trade war during the Trump administration. Of course, it was no such thing: Sun-Tzu also wrote “The Way of War is A Way of Deception.”

With this understanding in mind then, let’s look at some of the recent acts of brazen military provocation the PLA has engaged in. Forthcoming articles will discuss some of the other methods of operation China is deploying along with its open military aggression.

As I wrote in my earlier piece, Chinese planes and ships have ramped up their aggressive, even reckless, behavior over the last year or so.

In December 2022, a Chinese navy J-11 fighter jet deliberately flew within 10 feet of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft in international air space above the South China Sea. The U.S. aircraft pilot was forced to use evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision.

Then in May 2023, a Chinese J-8 jet flew directly in front of a U.S. surveillance plane again flying in international air space over the South China Sea. That dangerous maneuver forced the U.S. plane to fly through the Chinese jet’s turbulent wake.

Just a month later, in June 2023, a Chinese navy ship cut sharply across the path of an American Navy destroyer in the Taiwan Strait, forcing the U.S. vessel to slow abruptly to avoid a collision.

In what may be the most provocative display of military aggression to date, China and Russia conducted joint naval maneuvers involving 11 ships near Alaska’s Aleutian Islands in August 2023. They were tailed by U.S. naval destroyers and P-8 Poseidon aircraft and never crossed the international maritime boundary but clearly were sending an unprecedented and provocative message.

These overtly aggressive military displays by the PLA against American planes and ships coincide with similar aggression against Philippine vessels, also in the South China Sea.

At the recent September 18-19 U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) meeting in New York City, the foreign ministers of the United States, Japan, and the Philippines called out China for its aggressive behavior, which they termed “inconsistent with international law.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa, and Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo held a trilateral meeting on September 22 on the sidelines of the 78th UNGA session to reaffirm their commitment to working together to confront and deter China’s dangerous military displays.

Even closer to U.S. sovereign territory are reports of hundreds of young, single, military-looking Chinese men trekking up from South America, through the Darien Gap, into Panama, and from there moving northward to the U.S. southern border.

By their observed ritual of killing chickens and then drinking shots of their blood upon successfully navigating through the rugged Darien Gap, some of these illegal aliens have been identified as belonging to China’s 75th Special Operations Brigade, called the Jungle Tigers. How many of the hundreds that have been seen have made it to and across the wide-open U.S. southern border is unknown but deeply concerning.

Lastly, as noted in my blog post of June 23, reports about the establishment of a joint military training facility on the island of Cuba could be assessed as a Chinese military command-and-control center to coordinate and direct the entire spread of Beijing’s hostile activities now taking aim at the U.S.

All of this taken together should be understood in a modern-day framework of Intelligence Preparation of the Environment that is thoroughly grounded in the principles of the 5th century BC Sun-Tzu strategy.