A Global People's Liberation Army: Possibilities, Challenges, and Opportunities

Kristen Gunness and Oriana Skylar Mastro, "A Global People's Liberation Army: Possibilities, Challenges, and Opportunities," Asia Policy 22, 2016.

32 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2017

Date Written: July 22, 2016

Abstract

Under what conditions will China decide to employ military capabilities abroad and will this be a positive or negative development for the United States and the international order? We argue that developing expeditionary capabilities is clearly a priority for high-level leadership and the domestic public’s expectation for protection while abroad further motivates plans to develop the military in this direction. Moreover, Chinese strategic thinking and debates about the shape and nature of such a capability suggest the doctrinal development needed to support an expeditionary force is already underway. But even if China develops the capability, this does not mean Beijing will always choose to use it. We develop a typology of to capture the conditions under which China may employ its expeditionary capabilities based on the degree to which China is directly targeted and international receptivity to a larger Chinese role. We evaluate the implications of these four types - China as an activist, vigilante, team player and free rider – and argue that under most conditions the United States should be open to a greater role for the PLA.

Keywords: Chinese military, People's Liberation Army, Asian-Pacific Security

Suggested Citation

Gunness, Kristen and Mastro, Oriana, A Global People's Liberation Army: Possibilities, Challenges, and Opportunities (July 22, 2016). Kristen Gunness and Oriana Skylar Mastro, "A Global People's Liberation Army: Possibilities, Challenges, and Opportunities," Asia Policy 22, 2016. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3008882

Kristen Gunness

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

Oriana Mastro (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

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