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POLI 338 (20)
Juan Wang (20)

POLI 338 - Tsou & Halperin: Mao's Revolutionary Strategy and Beijing's International Behaviour.doc

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Political Science
POLI 338
Juan Wang

Tsou and Halpern – Mao's Revolutionary Strategy and Beijing's International Behaviour Success of Mao-era foreign policy lies in its simultaneous struggle with both superpowers. Explanation of this lies in Mao's revolutionary strategy in Chinese internal political-military struggle and his belief in the applicability of this strategy to the international area. “His revolutionary experience proved to his own satisfaction that his integrated and comprehensive strategy would enable him presently to score political gains from a position of military inferiority, and ultimately enable him to achieve highly ambitious objectives with initially meager means in a protracted struggle.” I. Revolutionary Strategy and International Behaviour Mao's doctrine of protracted warfare was “by no means profound,” but “they were perfectly adapted to the objective conditions confronting him and were in the best tradition of Realpolitik and the age-old military-political wisdom of China.” These doctrines have encountered little to no resistance in being applied to the international realm. The experience of China during the century of humiliation “militates against wholehearted acceptance of the system of national states and the rules governing nations in that system.” Four observations: 1) All-out war between US and Soviet Union was improbable in the near future 2) Struggle between socialist and imperialist camps would take place in the areas separating the US and Soviet Union 3) Atomic bomb is a 'paper tiger' wars would be decided by people 4) All reactionaries are also 'paper tigers' Supported by call to colonial and semicolonial countries to rise up and take the Chinese path, given by Liu Shaoqi. This strategy was evinced in Korea, when Chinese “forces successfully carried out Mao's strategy of retreating deep into one's base area, waiting for the enemy to commit mistakes and fighting a battle of quick decision as a prelude to a general counter-offensive.” War with India: decisive victory followed by unilateral ceasefire exhibit's Mao's strategy of limited victory and restraint. Support for underdeveloped areas mirrors war-strategy of encircling cities from the countryside. Beijing's “Policy is actively to cultivate close relationships with countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, but not the Western countries.” II. The Balance of Forces in China High initial contrast between Mao's ambitious goal and initially meager means. [What a stupidly short section...] III.An Integrated Strategy to Achieve Ambitious Goals with Meager Means “Mao's genius consisted in combining an ability to face reality squarely and a determination to change that reality.” He devised set of doctrines to enable him to survive attack of vastly superior forces, then expand own power, finally transforming the balance of social forces in his favour. − surround the cities from the countryside − fight protracted war − use guerrilla warfare and mobile warfare − retreat and disperse to avoid defeat; concentrate to win battles of quick decision − subordinated goal of defending/gaining territory to the goal of annihilating enemy's effective strength and preserving his own forces − emphasized importance of men over weapons − do not underestimate the enemy in specific circumstances; do not overestimate the enemy overall IV.Indispensability of Military Power Due to Nationalist suppression, CCP learned quickly that survival is contingent on command of military power. “In China war is the main form of struggle and the army is the main form of organization.” Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun! V. The Primacy of Politics “To seize power by armed force required a military power superior to the Kuomintang. But the Kuomintang's greatest strength was precisely its military power.” Thus, it was necessary to exploit the Kuomintang's political, economic, and social weaknesses. “Necessity and political expediency reinforced the imperatives of a revolutionary ideology in stressing the paramount importance of the political purpose.” Without a political purpose, a political foundation of military power, guerrilla warfare must fail. This also means that military power must be subordinate to political policy. VI. From the Countryside to the Cities in a Protracted Struggle “The location of his base area, his selection of targets, and the form of military operations enabled him to use his inferior armed forces to his maximum advantage by exploiting the political weakness of the Kuomintang.” In this, Mao was reacting against other strategists who advocated for tactics adapted from the Soviet experience. This became “a basic source of his dispute with the Soviet Union today.” The vast rural areas were home to the peasants, and where the Kuomintang's control was weak. By building bases there, “the Communists exploited a fatal weakness of the Kuomintang and gradually developed their own military strength to defeat the Nationalists.” Protracted struggle meant an oscillation of Nationalist offensives that take the form of 'encirclement and annihilation,' and Communist counter- campaign. This pattern would end when Communist achieved military superiority, because Nationalists lacked political prerequisites to wage counter-campaigns of their own. Protracted struggle was also adapted against the Japanese, with three stages: strategic retreat
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