By June Teufel Dreyer, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute
Reviewed by Ambassador Joe O. Rogers
Prof. Dreyer, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami, presents a very good synopsis of the efforts that Xi Jinping has made to solidify his position of authority over the People’s Liberation Army and some useful background on why this was necessary. Her assertion that “Little doubt exists that Xi does control the military” is not, however, entirely convincing as the evidence she sets forth can be equally interpreted to support the conclusion that the military controls Xi.
The most significant section of the article is the concluding two paragraphs in which Dreyer quickly reviews the actual actions of the PLAN fleet since Xi took office. In them she describes the increase in bullying, aggressive tactics in contested areas, and the success over weaker neighbors, such as the Philippines, which are accompanied by continued expansion of cyber warfare capabilities and an accelerated crackdown on domestic human rights.
These actions provide the real answer to her title question “Hawk or Reformer.” Hawk is ascending. The question is whether Xi is the falconer.