Jeffrey LewisKnow Your Enemy–China

The cover of a recent RAND report (right) depicts the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) five-star logo stretching across a Eurasian landmass that has been colored black in a fashion strangely reminiscent of propaganda films. A professor of mine from Augusta College, David Snowball, notes:

The spreading stain is a fairly common motif in propaganda films. It’s used in the Nazi film Eternal Jew (Ewige Jude) and is used in at least two of the “Why We Fight” series (“Prelude to War” and “Know Your Enemy: Japan”). It’s likely also used in the Disney film Victory Through Airpower though I’d need to check to the sure – VTA has the famous scene of the Japanese octopus extending its tentacles throughout the Pacific, the eagle’s airstrike and the withering of the octopus as it releases its grip.

The RAND report isn’t as bad as its cover, but the next edition of Chinese Military Power may be. Chris Nelson has been covering the battle royal between DOD and NSC regarding the much anticipated (and delayed) publication, officially titled Annual Report on the Military Power of the People’s Republic of China.

Apparently, Michael Pillsbury pushed for the inclusion of this “Assassin’s Mace/State Security Project 998” crap being pushed by disreputable Hong Kong tabloids. [For a scholarly analysis, Iain Johnston’s got a good start.] When the report comes out, we’ll get real scholars to ferret out the hoaxes and half-truths.

In the meantime, Demitri Sevastopulo at the Financial Times has the story.

Update: Umm. For some reason RAND says that “this document has been withdrawn.” But is is still here.

Late Update: The document has been superseded.


  1. Tim (History)

    Looking at the RAND China report entry, I note that the report that is “still here” has no cover graphic.