The day before the Chinese Communist Party’s centennial celebration, Donald Rumsfeld, a two-time U.S. Secretary of Defense, died at the age of 88. Rumsfeld is mostly remembered for his role in the Iraq war, but he actually saw the nature of the Chinese Communist Party earlier than the world did when the United States was most actively engaged with China.
Rumsfeld has always insisted that China’s lack of military transparency has raised doubts around the world. According to his estimates, China’s actual military spending is two and a half to three times higher than the figures released to the public. Rumsfeld has publicly questioned China’s continued and significant military expansion and even the deployment of various missiles aimed at many parts of the world, despite the fact that China is not threatened by any country.
Rumsfeld has also taken the situation in the Taiwan Strait seriously. He argues that China claims it has no intention of using force against Taiwan, yet it has deployed a large number of ballistic missiles across the Strait against Taiwan. He emphasized that China’s sensitive military deployments have put not only the Taiwan Strait in military imbalance, but also the entire Asia-Pacific region at risk of military imbalance. On the Taiwan issue, Rumsfeld took a “retreat for progress” approach, not initiating but preparing a basic position: once the Chinese side raised the Taiwan issue, he told the Chinese side that he would recommend that China remove the 600 to 700 missiles deployed along the coast aimed at Taiwan and renounce the use of force against Taiwan as a way to improve relations. The beginning.
Rumsfeld also criticized the fact that China’s defense spending has grown in direct proportion to its economic growth, but political reforms have not advanced in step with economic freedom.
Amid a flurry of engagement with China by U.S. officials, Rumsfeld waited five years in his second term as secretary of defense before making his first visit to Beijing in October 2005. Beijing also attached great importance to his visit, even more so than President Bush Jr.’s visit to China a month later, because the Pentagon’s annual “China Military Strength Report” and “Defense Review Quarterly” were so influential and damaging that they not only shaped Bush’s The Pentagon’s annual “China Military Report” and “Defense Review Quarterly” are so influential and damaging that they not only influence Bush’s decisions but also affect the world’s perception of China.
Back then, the Chinese Communist Party had not yet resorted to “war wolf diplomacy,” but had instead been more sophisticated in its “smiley face offensive,” trying to accommodate most of his requests for visits. Rumsfeld’s proposed itinerary included the headquarters of the PLA’s Strategic Missile Force (Second Artillery), the Central Party School, which is responsible for ideological education, and the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences, which is responsible for weapons technology development. All three requests were agreed to by the Chinese side. The U.S.-China Defense Secretary’s hotline was also one of the outcomes of the visit.
Rumsfeld had already visited the Central Party School on the first day of his trip and exchanged views with about thirty cadets at the party school. Rumsfeld told these cadets that “every society should guard against another great wall of restrictions on free speech”; “history has shown that it is impossible to isolate anyone for long, and that eventually information penetrates through.”
Sixteen years ago, Rumsfeld was seen as a “hawk” on China, but his ideas are today the consensus of the American people. Rumsfeld may have made mistakes in the Iraq War, but perhaps his views on China should be fairly judged by historians!