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Dr. Larry Wortzel discusses Chinese military strategy

Dr. Larry M. Wortzel, who serves on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, gave a lecture at IWP on “China: National Strategy and People’s Liberation Army Military Strategy” on September 24, 2013.

Dr. Wortzel began his lecture by explaining several key moments in China’s history, from the Qin Dynasty to the period of the Three Kingdoms, from the Ming Dynasty to our times. He explained that it is important to focus on certain aspects of Chinese history in order to have a better understanding of how China thinks and acts today. Dr. Wortzel emphasized the importance of the Chinese “Century of Humiliation” (i.e. the 19th Century) as one of the most crucial reasons why the Chinese nourish a “sense of hegemonic kingdom” still nowadays. Dr. Wortzel stressed the significance of Chinese uprisings in the 19th Century as a fundamental aspect of the internal security concerns that animates China’s top leaders today.

Dr. Wortzel then analyzed China’s national strategy, explaining that it is based on three themes: modernity, stability and sovereignty.

From 1988 to 1990, Dr. Wortzel was the Assistant Army Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, and in his lecture he drew from his profound knowledge of Chinese military strategy and of the PLA’s principles, among which there are the concentration of forces, the indirect attack approach, the use of surprise and of deception. Dr. Wortzel commented upon each Chinese top leader’s strategic points, from Deng Xiaoping to Jiang Zemin, from Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping.

At the end of the lecture, Dr. Wortzel discussed the future of Chinese military strategy and its challenges.

Lorenzo Vermigli
Intern, Fall 2013

Breaking Defense featured Dr. Wortzel’s talk in two articles:


Larry Wortzel September 2013