New Battlefields for a New World


Apr 23rd, 2007 8:56 AM

April 22, 2007

Sue Bradley

In 1999, Colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), published an obscure volume detailing the many methods China and other countries hostile to the US may use in combination or independently to wage total war against the US or the North American continent entirely, many which involve non military methods.

"Unrestricted Warfare," initially received little attention by western nations despite author Qiao Liang’s premise that, "the first rule of unrestricted warfare is that there are no rules, [with] nothing [is] forbidden."

The book carefully catalogues a multitude of means, both military and particularly non-military, to strike at the United States to incite conflict or use during times of preoccupation or unrest. Hacking into websites, targeting financial institutions, terrorism, using the media, and conducting urban warfare are among the methods proposed.

New-concept weapons primarily include kinetic-energy weapons, directed-energy weapons, subsonic weapons, geophysical weapons, meteorological weapons, solar energy weapons, and gene weapons. Microbots, computer viruses and currency collapse can inflict paralyzing devastation with minimal expense and effort.

Factor in the warnings from US Senator John Kyl, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security who wrote, "An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the American homeland, said one of the distinguished scientists who testified at the hearing, is one of only a few ways that the United States could be defeated by its enemies -- terrorist or otherwise. And it is probably the easiest. A single Scud missile, carrying a single nuclear weapon, detonated at the appropriate altitude, would interact with the Earth's atmosphere, producing an electromagnetic pulse radiating down to the surface at the speed of light."

Joining Sen. Kyl is Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, Chairman of the House Projection Forces Subcommittee, who says an EMP attack - even by an underfunded comparatively unsophisticated terrorist group and would have the potential to cripple the US infrastructure and kill millions. Bartlett continued, "Today we are very much concerned ... about asymmetric weapons. We are a big, powerful country. Nobody can contend with us shoulder-to-shoulder, face-to-face. So all of our potential adversaries are looking for what we refer to as asymmetric weapons. That is a weapon that overcomes our superior capabilities. There is no asymmetric weapon that has anywhere near the potential of EMP."

FEMA notes, "An EMP acts like of stroke of lightning but is stronger, faster and shorter." Known as a "blackout bomb," an EMP would affect communication systems, economic networks, electrical appliances, automobile and aircraft ignition systems and have a catastrophic cascading effect, simultaneously disabling interdependent infrastructure sectors. It would functionally collapse the US, as well as her northern and southern neighbor, rendering them ripe for the resultant chaos and 'recovery' which would hopefully ensue.

Dr. Lowell L. Wood, acting Chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack described the nature of an EMP attack, "...electromagnetic pulses propagate from the burst point of the nuclear weapon to the line of sight on the Earth's horizon, potentially covering a vast geographic region...simultaneously, at the speed of light. For example, a nuclear weapon detonated at an altitude of 400 kilometers over the central United States would cover, with its primary electromagnetic pulse, the entire continent of the United States and parts of Canada and Mexico."

Even a decade ago, China was considered a threat of minimal consequence as their military consisted primarily of WWII technology. Just as people only grow older, militaries only modernize, but China has maintained the older technology that the west has essentially abandoned in favor of more technologically oriented weaponry, while China skillfully developed equally advanced methods, and is now capable of responding to or initiating with dual options.

The decade of the 90’s which saw brushfire conflicts such as Desert Storm, Somalia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, abruptly ended on September 11, 2001. Indeed, the very goals of warfare have become blurred: no longer are wars strictly territorial involving power and authority. There are now disputes over ideologies, trade sanctions and financial and ethnic unrest. "Battlefields" have become "battlespace," nonmilitary and remote operations can now decimate more thoroughly than conventional weapons producing effects and devastation exceeding even the most futuristic of strategists.

The events that changed the world ultimately changed war itself. In an astute summary of the new paradigm, General Fu Quanyou, chief of staff for the PLA quietly asserted, "The inferior can defeat the superior." And it is terrifyingly simple.