What Would China’s Counterinsurgency Strategy Look Like?

What Would China’s Counterinsurgency Strategy Look Like?

It's ironic that America hasn't analyzed how its competitor would fare in the type of war it has primarily engaged in this century.


On the American side, Washington should be cautious in drawing Cold War comparisons, although it is true that the latter intensified intrastate civil conflict. Similarly to the Cold War, China claims that it won’t intervene abroad (likely to downplay its ambitions to key partners), but it will arm separatists’ movements counter to American interests if need be.

Unfortunately for Washington, Beijing has an advantage. Americans are wary of counterinsurgency and likely will not rally behind significant assistance to low-intensity conflicts, while China can harness nationalism to support its endeavors. To bridge that gap, the Department of Defense should understand Chinese counterinsurgency doctrine, study its gaps, and assess its implications for strategic competition. Given that no one knows where the future of conflict with China is headed, it is prudent to remain informed on all domains, counterinsurgency included.


Sam Abodo is an undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Politics and Strategy and an intern at the National Interest. Follow him on Twitter @sam_abodo.

Image: Reuters