History clearly shows us China has suffered from technological obsolescence on the battlefield for some time—allowing various nations to take advantage. A century of humiliation has taught Chinese planners that to allow military forces to be able to approach the coast and be able to build up forces for a possible attack invites strategic weakness and possible subjugation by foreign powers. Beijing does not feel it has the luxury of time to wait for the development of a first-class military if it were challenged by Washington or another great power. A2/AD solves an age-old problem for China and might just be able to at least deter America and others from possible infringement on China's core interests. And if history is any guide, it seems clear that is exactly the outcome Beijing wants.
Harry J. Kazianis is Executive Editor of the National Interest and Director of the Center for the National Interest's Korean Studies Program.