Mortal Enemy? How Does the People's Liberation Army View the United States?

Ian Easton

Key Point: Internal documents reveal the mindset of the PLA is offensive, specifically against the U.S.

In December 2017, the U.S. Government published a new National Security Strategy. This remarkable document referred to the People's Republic of China (PRC) as a "revisionist power" that sought "to shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests." One month later, in January 2018, the Pentagon released the unclassified version of its National Defense Strategy, which stated that "China is a strategic competitor." Thanks to these documents, we now know how the American military―and the broader national security community―officially views China.

been how the Chinese military, as an institution, views America. Indeed, many of the messages emanating from uniformed officials in Beijing appear mixed and even self-contradictory. The overall message they appear to be conveying is that China's armed forces have benign, peaceful intentions toward America, but they must sometimes react aggressively to destabilizing events created by others.

An initial assessment of authoritative Chinese sources indicates that Beijing is exploiting increased international attention to (and engagement with) its military to engage in a well-orchestrated strategic deception campaign. While the Chinese military's external propaganda tends to deny or downplay strategic competition between the U.S. and China, its internal writings are often strident and anti-American. The reality is that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) sees the U.S. as an adversary and acts accordingly―while at the same time working to lull American officials into a false sense of complacency.

Defining the Problem

Read the original article.