Understanding “Unrestricted Warfare”
April 22, 2022 | Authored by Robert Spalding via RealClear Books & Culture | Zero Hedge | Communist China Has Thrown Out The Old Rules of War
“When I first read the Chinese war manual “Unrestricted Warfare” in 1999, I thought it was wacky. I was flying B-2 Stealth bombers out of Whiteman Air Force Base in western Missouri and reading a lot about war. As an Air Force officer, I thought it was part of my day job to understand the bigger picture – even though the prevailing attitude in the military was “Just fly the planes.” “Unrestricted Warfare” was one of those books that caused a stir among some military folks because it had recently been translated into English. It had that insider whiff of mystery and secrets, a peek into the mind of the Chinese Communist Party.
Despite that mystique, not a lot of people were finishing the book. For one thing, regardless of its title, no one thought we were ever going to be fighting a war with China, so it seemed like a lot of work for very little payoff. For another, the book itself is not a light read. It is a dense compendium of strategy, economics, social theory, and futuristic thoughts about technology. It imparts centuries of military history, particularly as it relates to the United States, but I already knew a lot of that. It seemed vague and also a little sci-fi, not relevant to a U.S. bomber pilot – even one with a fascination for military history. My mistake.
If you look closely at everything China has done since 1999 – at all aspects of its economic, military, diplomatic, and technological relations with the rest of the world – it’s like watching “Unrestricted Warfare” come to life. One can find other glimpses into the secretive mentality of the CCP leaders, but this one is the single most important book for understanding the China of today. “Unrestricted Warfare” is the main blueprint for China’s efforts to unseat America as the world’s economic, political, and ideological leader. It shows exactly how a totalitarian nation set out to dominate the West through a comprehensive, long-term strategy that includes everything from corporate sabotage to cyberwarfare to dishonest diplomacy; from violations of international trade law and intellectual property law to calculated abuses of the global financial system. As one of the authors stated, “The only rule in ‘Unrestricted Warfare’ is that there are no rules.”
The book is the key to decoding China’s master plan for world domination, which has been progressing more steadily and successfully than most Americans realize – even accelerating in the reign of Xi Jinping. The manipulation of COVID policies, stonewalling the world about its origins, and mounting a massive disinformation campaign to blame the United States are merely recent examples.”
Robert Spalding retired from the U.S. Air Force as a brigadier general after more than 25 years of service. He is the CEO of SEMPRE and the author of “War Without Rules: China’s Playbook for Global Domination” (Sentinel, 2022).