(From the National Interest)
By Peter Navarro
Just as the pen can be mightier than the sword, China’s non-kinetic “ThreeWarfares” may prove to be far more effective at expanding China’s maritime and territorial boundaries than any arsenal of missiles or fleet of Chinese aircraft carriers.
The Three Warfares were first officially recognized as an important warfighting capability by China’s Central Military Commission and Communist Party in 2003. They include everything from psychological and legal to media warfare.
The goal of China’s psychological warfare is to deter, demoralize, or otherwise shock an opponent nation and its civilian population and thereby discourage the opponent from fighting back. As former White House advisor Stefan Halper starkly revealed in a watershed report to the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment in 2014: “It employs diplomatic pressure, rumor, false narratives, and harassment to express displeasure, assert hegemony and convey threats.”
Thus, for example, when China imposes an economic boycott or bans Chinese tourism, it hopes to coerce a Japanese populace struggling with economic stagnation and hungry for prosperity into acquiescing to China’s territorial demands regarding the Senkaku Islands.
As for China’s legal warfare, its goal is to effectively bend—or perhaps rewrite—the rules of the international order in China’s favor. A case in point is China’s campaign to restrict freedom of navigation within its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone as defined by the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty.
In fact, this claim has no legal basis within the context of the actual Law of the Sea Treaty language. Yet China repeatedly and falsely asserts the opposite—in the spirit of the oft-repeated Orwellian axiom “if you say it enough, they will believe it.” Read more