AMAC MAGAZINE: Volume 18, Issue 1 - JAN/FEB 2024

two specific historical experiences: the original period of the warring states which brought us the wisdom of Sun Tsu and the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century experiences of modern China. The former imbued the strategic personality of China’s generals and leaders with an obses- sion for maintaining internal cohe- sion to a degree that far exceeds any reasonable attitude other nations

have regarding internal peace and harmony. And the second created a suppurating psychological wound in the mind of the political elite that China must never again be exploited and humiliated by foreign powers, as it had been for so long in the modern age. What have these resulted in today when it comes to China’s strategic

goals and actions? Liang and Xiang- sui may not have expounded upon a revolutionary way of war for their nation, but Beijing is most definitely practicing a very shrewd form of irregular warfare that seems to reflect its prescription for war. Simply looking at China’s actions in Latin America and South Asia in recent years, with billions “invested”

CHINA DOMINATES THE RARE EARTH MARKET Global rare earth reserves in 2021 (in million REO tons)*

Leading countries’ share of global mine production in 2021

61.0% 15.5% 9.4% 8.0% 6.1%


United States

Myanmar Australia Others

*REO = rare-earth oxides Sources: US Geological Survey | Statista

in countries like Venezuela and Afghanistan for access to natural resources such as oil and rare earth elements, we see how China uses the non-kinetic to realize its national goals. Add to that the privatization and co-option of the state China has perpetrated in Africa in places such as Angola and Nigeria, and we can agree

with the label author Rafael Marques has used to describe China’s foreign policy: “new imperialism.” China buys the good will of whole governments in ways that are very reminiscent of the mercantilist methods of the West just a couple of centuries ago. Beijing’s approach has been to exploit weak nations and corrupt regimes

while capitalizing on the weaknesses of strong nations. And when it comes to the strongest of its competitors, such as the United States — to quote Liang from a CCTV interview in 2012 when he was already a general — the goal is “to make trouble for the trou- blemaker.” That was hard to do under President Trump because he under- continued on page 40

38 • AMAC Magazine

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