How Washington’s Adversaries Learn from One Another to Compete Strategically

  • Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea each exist within the contours of a loose partnership aligned against the United States and Washington’s Western allies, cooperating to various degrees to blunt American hegemony and position themselves to succeed in strategic competition.
  • China has been observing Russian and Iranian tactics, techniques, and procedures to discern what works well and what does not, with the intent of incorporating some lessons learned into Beijing’s own evolving strategy.
  • As China prepares for a range of potential future scenarios in Asia, including in the South China Sea, Beijing is undoubtedly harvesting lessons learned on the value and use of private military companies and proxy forces.
  • The Chinese Communist Party has closely studied the Russian and Iranian cases to evaluate the benefits and risks of utilizing non-state actors in conflict and while Beijing is unlikely to emulate either model exactly, it could craft its own model in accordance with Chinese foreign policy.

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