To mark the 90th birthday of the People’s Liberation Army on Aug. 1, China’s President Xi Jinping went to the Inner Mongolian steppe to the site where Genghis Khan began his conquest of Eurasia. There, at Zhurihe, he was welcomed by an impressive display of China’s martial might: a parade of Chinese troops, tanks, helicopters, aircraft and missiles. But the main course was a massive war game demonstrating the state of China‘s preparation to “fight and win” future military conflicts.
For what war is the PLA preparing?
Recent events should make the answer abundantly clear. In July, North Korea conducted two ICBM tests that put the American heartland within reach of its nuclear weapons. In response, the U.S. flew two B-1 bombers over the Korean peninsula to send the message, in the words of Pacific Air Forces commander Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, that the U.S. is “ready to respond with rapid, lethal and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing.”