They’re Breathing Easier in the Pentagon Tonight

Why China’s Generals Know Wine Better than War

Ted Haoquan Chu, the Shanghai-born Senior Manager of Economic and Industry Analysis for crippled General Motors, spoke at a recent conference on China sponsored by the Global Interdependence Center at the University of Pennsylvania about how China is looking overseas for ideas in a really big way:

“China has been importing ideas on a scale that is unprecedented since the Meiji Restoration in Japan in the mid-19th century.

For example, China is studying international accounting standards and looks to Britain, the United States and Hong Kong for securities laws. China is borrowing ideas about military systems from France, developing a Central Bank along the lines of the United States Federal Reserve system and looking to Singapore for exchange-rate policies.”

Borrowing ideas about military systems from France? Hello? A country whose sole meaningful contributions to modern armed forces are limited to the beret and the Foreign Legion? A country who got stomped by modern armies in 1871, 1914, and 1940 and by guerrillas in Vietnam and Algeria?

Mon dieu!

Look, if you want countries from whom to learn about military systems, study countries whose doctrine has actually been formed based on lessons learned (not ignored) in modern combat. Study the Israelis, the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Special Operations Command. Study the South Koreans, hell, even study the JSDF and the Bundeswehr. But the French?

If there is any credibility at all to Chu’s assertion, that the Chinese look to France for military ideas, this more than anything else should put the rest of Asia at ease that China’s rise will be a peaceful one, because the PLA will certainly lack the wherewithal for anything else.


About David Wolf

An adviser to corporations and organizations on strategy, communications, and public affairs, David Wolf has been working and living in Beijing since 1995, and now divides his time between China and California. He also serves as a policy and industry analyst focused on innovative and creative industries, a futurist, and an amateur historian.
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