The Chinese Military Is a Paper Dragon
The original article is Published in War is Boring
Some Points from there
Corruption, bad neighbors, inflation and a demographic time bomb—these are just a few of Beijing’s woes
But they’re wrong. Even after decades of expensive rearmament, China is a paper dragon—a version of what Mao Zedong wrongly claimed the United States was … in 1956.
Yes, the People’s Liberation Army is slowly becoming more technologically advanced. But that doesn’t mean Beijing can mobilize its armed forces for global missions. Unlike the world’s main expeditionary powers—the United States and the U.K., to name two—China is surrounded by potential enemies.
China’s other neighbors are weak or failed states, such as Pakistan and North Korea. Their instability—or their outright collapse—could have serious security repercussions for China, and help explain why Beijing lavishes funds on its armed forces.
“China’s land borders have never been more secure than they are today,” As M. Taylor Fravel, an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told War is Boring
Vietnam fought China in 1979 and killed 9,000 People’s Liberation Army troops in a single month. Japan’s occupation of China in the 1930s and ’40s killed millions of Chinese. India fought China as recently as 1962. China and Russia waged a short, undeclared war in 1969.
China’s list of allies in the Pacific, on the other hand, is a short one. Russia. Globally, China’s allies include Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and the countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization—Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. All are despotic or near-despotic states, many are unstable and many have long records of human rights abuses.