This article is part of a series examining the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) white paper “Unrestricted Warfare” from 1999. You can read part one here.

In this series, we delve into the comprehensive analysis presented in “Unrestricted Warfare,” a strategic paper by Chinese colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui. Here we explore technology’s profound impact on warfare and the need for adapting military strategies to the evolving global landscape.

Qiao is a retired Chinese air force officer and a People’s Liberation Army National Defense University professor, while Wang is a former colonel in the Chinese military and a professor at Beihang University in Beijing.

Technology is the Totem of Modern Man

Qiao and Wang open their paper by emphasizing the transformative power of technology in the past century. The rapid growth of technology and humanity’s insatiable appetite for innovation has led to unforeseen consequences, referred to as the “ramification effect.” This effect illustrates how the emergence of new technologies sets off a chain reaction involving second and third-order repercussions that are often not immediately apparent.