Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sea power with Chinese characteristics

In Red Star Over the Pacific, Toshi Yoshihara and James R. Holmes examine China’s navy and how it is influenced by Mao Zedong ... and a 19th century US Navy flag officer

China’s maritime capacity, two associate professors of strategy at the US Naval War College argue in an important new work, is close to reaching a point where its theories will be put into practice. What this commanding of the seas “with Chinese characteristics” will look like, and what it will imply for regional stability and the ability of the US to remain involved in the region, is the focus of Toshi Yoshihara and James R. Holmes’ Red Star Over the Pacific.

While there is no dearth of studies on the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), efforts to understand it have for the most part been limited to the Order of Battle — that is, tallying up what China currently deploys, plans to deploy and is developing. Much less effort, however, has been put into understanding China’s maritime doctrine, and this is where Yoshihara and Holmes’ book, which assesses a variety of Chinese-language sources and pronouncements on the subject, provides helpful illumination.

My review of Red Star Over the Pacific, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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