Sunday, April 03, 2005

Unrestricted Warfare

There is a lot of talk about China becoming the main adversary of the United States in this century. The fight over resources both natural and cultural will take on new forms as conventional warfare becomes too expensive and dangerous. After all strategic victory is impossible without nuclear weapons. A couple of years ago, I got a hold of a book by two Colonels in the People Liberation Army of China. It is called Unrestricted Warfare. The book argues that because of the domination of the United States military on the battlefield, countries and movements needing to resist its hegemony must use very unconventional tactics. The most interesting part is their discussion of tactics used in economic warfare. I sometimes worry that the strength of the United States is rapidly becoming quite hollow. We have current account debts, low savings rates, poor educational system, bad infrastructure and are over extended militarily and economically. A simple selling of t-bills, a devaluation of the US$, or a pricing of oil in Euros would do more damage to this country than a military attack. That is exactly what the authors argue for. Our economy is very vulnerable and level of conflict between nations over resources is going to increase. The form of war has changed, some kinds of warfare are out of bounds and old types of power just do not cut it. Who can do more damage a carrier task force or a group of Forex traders. I bet it is the Forex traders and they are cheaper.

If you have the time, read the book. It is important.