New Publication: CCP Weapons of Mass Persuasion

December 20, 2022

The Andrew W. Marshall Papers

CCP Weapons of Mass Persuasion: The Past and Potential Future of the United-Front Threat to America

Jacqueline Deal and Eleanor Harvey

“CCP Weapons of Mass Persuasion: The Past and Potential Future of the United-Front Threat to America” is a must-read by all who are serious about understanding where China has come from, where it might be going, and the long-term strategic competition the United States and China are engaged in. This is only the beginning of what we hope will be several volumes of work.

The authors have captured Andy Marshall’s dictum that to understand what the future might be like, one must understand the past and how it has led to the present. The analysis is brilliant and the research is meticulous. It will be on General Secretary Xi’s reading list.

The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) approach to the United States today reflects the party’s formative competitive experiences a century ago. Starting in the 1920s, the CCP vied with the Nationalist Party (KMT) for control over China, but the CCP was also nominally allied with the KMT in the First United Front, 1924–27. In that context, the Communists waged political warfare against the KMT at the elite and the grassroots level. Initially, the CCP’s aim was to coopt the KMT. When cooption failed, the Communists turned to subversion before attacking the Nationalists kinetically. In recent decades, the CCP has used this united-front template against the United States, thanks partly to a foundation of U.S.-CCP cooperation laid during the Sino-Japanese War and reinforced in the late Cold War. This report accordingly traces the CCP’s repertoire for strategic competition to the Chinese Civil War (Part 1). It then analyzes the application of this toolkit to the United States across a series of interactions beginning in the late 1930s and continuing through the present (Part 2). The report concludes with two alternative visions of how the coming decades could unfold, hinging upon Washington’s ability to counter Beijing’s ongoing subversion campaign (Part 3).