Dare to Face the "Strong Enemy 强敌": How Xi Jinping Has Made the PLA Talk about the United States
By Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga
This is another in the ongoing series of guest posts on Sinocism, this one by Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga, an Associate Policy Researcher at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.
Dare to Face the Strong Enemy:
How Xi Jinping Has Made the PLA Talk about the United States
Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chairman Xi Jinping’s efforts to improve the Chinese military’s performance in a future war, if the CCP’s political objectives cannot be achieved through other means, has been a staple of his broader military modernization program. When Xi came to power in 2012, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was well along on its hardware modernization but clearly had internal doubts over its battlefield performance, so Xi has called for the PLA to become a force that can “fight and win” (能打胜仗)1. Perhaps the most pressing problem was that it was racked with corruption so badly that a sitting general and close friend of Xi, General Liu Yuan, reportedly said, “Only our own corruption can destroy us a…