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China draws first military lessons from Russian difficulties in Ukraine

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Chinese military experts remain very silent on the war in Ukraine for the time being. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) daily, the National Defense University or the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, close to the party, have not produced official analyses, which can be explained by the ambiguous policy of support chosen by President Xi Jinping vis-à-vis his Russian partner, Vladimir Putin.

“Nevertheless, it is certain that the Chinese are watching many aspects of the conflict closely and learning from it”, believes Mathieu Duchâtel, of the Institut Montaigne. At least for one reason: “With this complete failure of a blitzkrieg supported by 1,500 missiles to defeat in three days, it is surely necessary to completely rethink, for Taiwan, such a scenario, supposed to eliminate the enemy defense apparatus, set up air superiority and achieve an immediate capitulation before the United States intervenes. »

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In view of the great principle of war, “know your enemy and know yourself”, the Russian failure can only astonish Beijing, like the Western capitals. Operationally, the Russian invasion campaign even violated the other three “fundamentals” of China’s offensive doctrine, notes David Finkelstein, director of security affairs for China and the Indo-Pacific at the US CNA center. Arlington: those of surprise, unified coordination of operations and their overall support (logistics and politics).

“The Three Wars”

This former officer notes, on May 2, on the blog “War on the Rocks”, that it is not the aggressor, Vladimir Poutine, but the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, who practices perfectly the “three wars” defined by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), namely the “war of public opinion”, the “psychological war” and the “war of law”. Under the authority of the CCP’s political commissars, “People’s Liberation Army analysts will pay close attention to the cognitive and human dimensions of this war, and they will read reports of poor Russian troop morale, lack of discipline in field communications, and war crimes charges”assures Mr. Finkelstein.

Opposite, attacked Ukraine resists, since the invasion of February 24, like a nation in arms. “The question, for China, is therefore that of the determination of a Taiwanese population which could organize itself into a long guerrilla warfare on the entire west coast of the island in the face of a landing”emphasizes Mathieu Duchâtel.

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