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Red Star Over The Pacific: China's Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy Hardcover – 31 Oct 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (31 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159114390X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591143901
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 16 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 943,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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... the authors explore the strategic thought that is shaping Chinese maritime policy. The United States must respond to China s ascent as a naval power, they say --Survival, March 2011

Red Star over the Pacific is an excellent overview of China s emerging naval capabilities, doctrine and strategy. It places China s rise in context. For this reason alone, this book will be an important source for anyone working in the fields of international relations, strategic studies or defence. For naval professionals it is essential reading. --Journal of the Australian Naval Institute, July 2011

About the Author

Toshi Yoshihara and James R. Holmes are associate professors of strategy at the Naval War College. Both authors hold Ph.D.s from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

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By R. Packham on 28 Dec. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not for the feint hearted casual reader but is informative and well researched and is a definite necessity for my Masters degree on International security.
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By Phillip Dang on 2 May 2012
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very good and reliable seller. The book is very interesting as I am doing some research about US-China relation. Again, thanks for the item
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Sea power with Chinese characteristics 30 Jan. 2011
By J. Michael Cole - Published on
Format: Hardcover
China's maritime capacity, two associate professors of strategy at the US Naval War College argue in an important new work, is close to reaching a point where its theories will be put into practice. What this commanding of the seas "with Chinese characteristics" will look like, and what it will imply for regional stability and the ability of the US to remain involved in the region, is the focus of Toshi Yoshihara and James R. Holmes' Red Star Over the Pacific.

While there is no dearth of studies on the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), efforts to understand it have for the most part been limited to the Order of Battle -- that is, tallying up what China currently deploys, plans to deploy and is developing. Much less effort, however, has been put into understanding China's maritime doctrine, and this is where Yoshihara and Holmes' book, which assesses a variety of Chinese-language sources and pronouncements on the subject, provides helpful illumination.

As "Western apathy toward traditional sea power" manifests itself, the authors write, "Asians bolt together fleets with gusto." Spearheading this effort is China, which has already built power-projection capabilities for what they call a "post-Taiwan" environment. Whether this rise will be benign and focused on non-traditional challenges (such as anti-piracy and protecting sea lanes) rather than "pounding away at enemy fleets" is something that can, if only imperfectly, be extracted from trends in Chinese defense circles.

Although the authors do not predict a cataclysmic clash of navies as seen during World War II between the US and Japan, they nevertheless argue that the "material ingredients for competition and rivalry are certainly present in the tight confines of the East Asian littoral."

In such a rapidly evolving environment, what Chinese naval experts are reading, saying and writing can provide important clues. And what many Chinese are reading, the authors tell us, is Alfred Thayer Mahan, the 19th century US Navy flag officer and military historian whose concept of sea power had an enormous influence on navies around the world. If Chinese strategists are selective in their usage of Mahan's theories and accept its martial themes uncritically, it is possible Beijing will follow along the lines of Germany and Japan to sea power, which in the authors' view would imply dim prospects for the region.

While the Chinese defense community is not monolithic, some Chinese analysts have tended to "gravitate toward the more memorable passages of Mahan's works for their own narrow purposes, ratifying predetermined conclusions" with Mahan furnishing the "geopolitical logic for an offensive Chinese naval strategy" and Mao Zedong thought providing the tactics to execute that strategy.

In some quarters, Chinese theorists have argued that China should achieve a national resurgence from "continental civilization" -- Mao's inward-looking strategy -- to "maritime civilization" and have made the case for national greatness as an inextricable component of sea power, a position that Yoshihara and Holmes see as "unmistakably Mahanian."

Based on their reading of the Chinese debate and signaling on its maritime strategy, the authors conclude that China's march to the sea and efforts to deny access to others will not end with Taiwan (though securing it would provide substantial advantages in power projection within and beyond the first island chain). China, they argue, will "strive to achieve and ensure access for itself -- and amass the capacity to deny access to others -- in concentric geographic rings ripping out from the Chinese coastline."

As it built its capabilities, the authors argue that Beijing carefully managed its maritime rise "to avoid setting in motion a cycle of naval challenges and response like the one that drove Anglo-German enmity," and therefore have so far succeeded where Germany failed. A factor that has helped China assuage fears of its naval rise, they write, is that unlike the German case, the Chinese naval threat remains largely distant and abstract to its potential targets, especially in the case of US policymakers and taxpayers. Given its geographical proximity to the UK, Germany had no such room to maneuver and an alarmed London mobilized accordingly to keep the scorpion in the bottle.

Despite cutbacks and other priorities, there is no doubt that the US remains a major actor and guarantor of security in Asia. As the Chinese navy expands its area of operation -- and barring a US pullout from the region -- the potential for friction between the two navies will increase. To Chinese eyes, the uncontested US presence in the East Asian seas is akin to the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) strategy of "encirclement and suppression" during the Chinese Civil War, the authors write, adding that the response to this encirclement is likely to be similar to that adopted by Mao, which is to elongate the war and tire out the enemy. Chinese naval strategists also often talk about prying the control of the waters west of the first island chain from the US Navy.

Employing its deep continental interior, China's strategy aims to use of bases from which to strike targets in littoral sea areas, the authors say. As the range of its weapons increases, the PLA can employ its strategic depth to "draw enemies deep into Chinese territory before striking a devastating counterblow," a strategy that, as the authors point out, would have found favor with Mao. Given this strategy and the continental pull that continues to animate PLA strategy, it is likely the Chinese will prefer to keep the PLAN close to home, and there are questions whether it would feel confident dispatching fleets for independent operations beyond shore-based cover. Which platforms China deploys in the coming years should serve as an indicator of its preferred strategy, though according to the authors we can expect a mix of both.

The central section of the book -- "Fleet Tactics with Chinese Characteristics," "Missile and Antimissile Interaction at Sea" and "China's Emerging Undersea Nuclear Deterrent" -- touches on more technical aspects of naval warfare, but does so with commendable clarity and in a way that will prove appealing, even to readers who are not military experts. One conclusion that can be reached from this section is that the US ships equipped with the Aegis radar and missile system would be a priority target.

This discussion is followed by a section on China's "soft power" at sea, mostly through the use of the Chinese mariner Zheng He narrative, which dovetails with Beijing's continued efforts to portray its rise in peaceful, and therefore non-threatening, terms. The book concludes with a discussion of the future of US naval strategy in Asia.

Cautionary though never alarmist, Red Star over the Pacific is a superb addition to the growing body of literature on Chinese military power and strategy. Future architects of naval strategy for the region should study the prescriptions contained in this volume with great care to ensure that China's march to the sea is addressed with both the firmness and balance that is required.

(Originally published in the Taipei Times, Jan. 30, 2011, p. 14.)
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Red Star Over Th e Pacific 3 Nov. 2010
By ADVILL - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although quite short, this is a good book covering the rapid rise of the PLAN (People's Liberation Army-Navy) and its strategies to meet the challenges of the USN in Asia-Pacific region. It is a timely read as currently serious disputes are happening in the South China and East China Seas; and accusations of incursions in the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan/East Sea. There is no question that China Navy (PLAN) has intentions to replace the USN's domination in these waters (1st Island Chain) within 10 years, and pose a major challenge in the Western Pacific (2nd Island Chain) and the Indian Ocean in about 20 years time. Suggest all serving Naval Officers, researchers and those interested in Asian maritime affairs make it a point to read this book and be kept updated. After all it could not only be "The Red Star over the Pacific", but if care is not taken now, and there is no naval balance of power, Mao's dream of "THE EAST IS RED" could become a reality. Advill
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A book for sobering up 4 Feb. 2012
By Leo Li - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To some one living outside Asia, this book may look just an academic debate.
But for those living in the area, it can cause a lot of sleepless nights.
Being a Chinese who lives in Asia, I cannot agree more on the mentality described in the book, especially in the soft-talk approach, very much in the tradition of Sun-tze (If you are capable, show your opponent that you are not; if you are not capable, show your oppoent you can.) The recent admission that the PLA is 20 years behind western military sophistication is more likely to be deliverate deceiving rather than a rare show of humility.
The deployment of long range land based ballistic missile systems is not something to brush aside for the US and if the Chinese (meaning the current one in Beijing)lacks wisdom in good governance, it is never short of resourcefulness in exploiting Achilles heel of its opponents and disguising their intention until they are ready.
Two things were missed out in the book: 1. The Chinese government is far less concerned about casualities inflicted on its military and civilians than the US. Mao has declared that even can China afford to lose half of its population in an all out war, as long as it can achieve final victory and 2. though the book presents frightening scenerios in tactical analysis, it seems the Chinese may not have the resources to execute all of them in restricted span of time, (for example, they cannot tackle the tast of destroying the Japanese destroyers (using 150-200 firt line aircrafts) and achieving surprise to launch an anti-carrrier group assualt). At least, not yet. Also, the critical factor will be the guidance system and hence who can knock out the other's satellites while adequately protecting ones' own as well as cyber-war prowess would determine the outcome.
The US has a tradition of not waking up until it receives a brutal wake-up call (Pearl Harbor, 911) but hopefully, the top brass will listen and be prepared before reality demands a high price in blood. In this year when most of the focus is on the election campaign and economy plight, it is just too easy to miss the rising menance in the far horizon.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Has Mahan Influenced Chinese Naval Thinking? Should the U.S. be concerned about China's growing naval power? 24 Dec. 2010
By The Machine - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A more appropriate title for this book is "Red Star Over the Western Pacific". In 9 chapters and 224 pages, Yoshihara and Holmes eloquently demonstrate that the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) can conduct anti-access and area denial strategies against the USN to the 2nd island chain. Essentially, China has a "Great Wall at Sea" in the Western Pacific (attributed to NWU's Bernard Cole) and the United States would be wise to consider its diplomatic and military options. Should the U.S. be concerned? The answer depends on whether you consider East Asia vital to America's national security. Please note that if you are looking to get to the heart of the book, read Chapter 7 on China's soft power.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An study about modern naval strategy 3 Aug. 2013
By MARCOS VALLE SILVA - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An outstanding study about naval strategy on the 21th century encompassing both U.S. and China. Looking through Mahan the autors show that "access" for China envolves much more than Taiwan and A2/AD is the way that China found to guarantee access. An mandatory study for everyone that search understand modern naval strategy.
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