The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Chinese Admiral Expects "Quick" Win in Japan War

China’s armchair generals and active military officials alike are fully confident of a quick, decisive, and overwhelming victory against Japan if territorial disputes ever escalated into war. Time has the story:

“The real fight would be very short. It is very possible the war would end in a couple of days or even in a few hours,” said PLA Navy Rear Admiral Yin Zhou, a former director of the Navy Institute of Strategic Studies, in a recent primetime special on Beijing TV. . . .

“The keys to winning the war are quick actions, and good planning. . . . First, the troops that go into the battle must be well-trained, elite troops. Second, the troops must have precision strike capabilities. Once surface targets or air targets are chosen, the troops must be able to hit those targets immediately and precisely. Good planning also refers to accurately grasping the enemy’s situation, especially its operational (troop and ship) dispositions. We have to be very clear which disposition is the key and then plan our operations accordingly.”

When land powers like China attack sea powers like Japan, the initial results are often very dramatic. But the impact of even a short and “successful” campaign over the disputed islands would cause lasting economic damage to China. Would Japan’s navy interfere with China’s imports from overseas? Would war conditions halt China’s international trade, throwing tens of millions of Chinese factory workers out of their jobs?

War between China and Japan could be ruinous for both sides, as well as for countries caught or drawn into the middle. The world economy would take a huge dive.

Let’s hope China’s decision makers have cooler heads than some military leaders and nationalist bloggers.

(H/T to the tireless Daniel Lippman)

Published on February 22, 2013 3:41 pm