This article is part of a series on the PLA white paper “Unrestricted Warfare” from 1999. You can read part one here.

Part one of this series dealt largely with the framework through which we are going to examine “Unrestricted Warfare,” as well as going through the preface, which laid out what Qiao and Wang were aiming to address. Now we get into the meat with part one.

Part one of the paper begins with a brief discussion not so much of warfare, but of the general impact and perception of technology. The title of the introduction is “Technology is the Totem of Modern Man.” They point out the rapid growth of technology over the past century, along with the insatiable appetite for what is “new.” Along the way, they discuss what they term the “ramification effect,” or what may be termed the second- and third-order effects of a new technology, usually not foreseen when the technology is first implemented. The example they use is the automobile, pointing out that the goal of transportation was not necessarily connected to the mining, smelting, manufacturing, rubber extraction, oil drilling and refining, etc. required to make the automobile work as a usable technology.

The interesting thing about this particular passage, aside from the humanism illustrated in the ruminating on the cost to the human soul of runaway technological progress (which does seem slightly odd coming from officers of a communist country), is that it illustrates the depth of thinking that we are going to be in for. Second- and third-order effects are to be considered, as well as the factors that go into the initial point of consideration.