Don’t Call it a Gray Zone: China’s Use-of-Force Spectrum

WoTR Dont Call It Grey Zone Chinas Use Of Force Spectrum

On Oct. 30, 2020, Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, placed a phone call to assure his Chinese counterpart that the United States did not intend to start a war with China. Both U.S. and Chinese government circles have come to refer to this phone call and the events surrounding it as the “October surprise.” This event shows us, among other things, what happens when there are misperceptions about the use of force on both sides and the potential dangers of said misperceptions. By better understanding China’s philosophy about the use of military force, U.S. policymakers may be able to lower the chances of future surprises happening.

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