Note: This is part of a series examining the 1999 PLA white paper “Unrestricted Warfare.” Parts one and two can be read here.

Picking up where we left off, Qiao and Wang introduce the idea of “Weapons of New Concepts and New Concepts of Weapons.” They open by arguing that most of what we term “new weapons” are, in fact, not really that new. They may be some kind of improvement on an existing weapons system or a composite of several discrete weapons, but they are still essentially the same sorts of things: guns, missiles, bombs, etc.

They serve as a means for soldiers to kill other soldiers or, in the case of what has been termed “ultra-lethal weapons” (i.e. weapons of mass destruction), entire populations. These are not really new concepts, but refinements on ageless ones. Qiao and Wang proceed to argue that even some of the most out-there ideas, such as man-made earthquakes, tsunamis, and weather engineering, are in fact still old-concept weapons just meant to kill more people.

A pitfall in this idea of improved traditional weapons, they point out, ties in with the previously mentioned fetishization of anything “new,” particularly in the realm of technology. They point to this being a pronounced American weakness, thinking that technology holds all the answers.