Since the 1949 communist revolution, China has devised nine different military strategies, which the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) calls “strategic guidelines.” What accounts for these numerous changes? Active Defense offers the first systematic look at China’s military strategy from the mid-20th century to today, says a review on the Princeton University Press website. Exploring the range and intensity of threats that China has faced, M. Taylor Fravel illuminates the nation’s past and present military goals and how China sought to achieve them.
Drawing from diverse Chinese-language sources, including memoirs of leading generals, military histories, and document collections that have become available only in the last two decades, Fravel shows why transformations in military strategy were pursued at certain times and not others. Delving into the security threats China has faced over the last seven decades, the book offers a detailed investigation into how and why states alter their defense policies.