Post-COVID China: Core strategic drivers and multi-dimensional asymmetric warfare in Asia

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The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership, headed by President-for-life Xi Jinping, views itself as the unquestioned master of roughly 1.4 billion Chinese citizens and 5,000 years of Chinese civilizational history. Over the course of this history, the CCP believes that China has been the primary state in the Asia-Pacific region. This has been embedded in the Mandarin Chinese language with China’s name for itself, Zhongguo, which translates to English as “Middle Kingdom.” The CCP views the previous roughly 100-year time period of both Western (particularly American) and Japanese (albeit short-lived) leadership of the Asia-Pacific as historically aberrant, temporary, and due to hostile and parasitic actions carried out by China’s adversaries. Xi and the CCP leadership view their strategies and tactics as serving as correctives for these anomalies and the current unnatural state of regional affairs. Put simply, Xi and the CCP believe that China’s time for regional dominance has come and they are entitled to redeem this right regardless of third-party considerations.

Given this reality, it is essential that new fundamental approaches are taken to this problem that properly recognize the shortcomings of previous approaches. These new approaches must be able to generate clear, executable options that more effectively utilize current-state American capabilities while also providing a strategic blueprint for the new capabilities that will be necessary to cease and reverse these adverse trends. We are clearly nearing the threshold of historic irreversibility. 

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Ryan Clarke
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