Beyond seeking to avoid arousing the American ba by inducing complacency, China’s strategy is largely intended to respond to the types of threats Chinese leaders believe the United States poses to China. Many U.S. officials—myself included—were late to recognize just how seriously Chinese leaders considered the U.S. “threat” to be; the accumulation of evidence to this effect convinced many, although not all, of us to look at Chinese perceptions differently. China was far less interested in conventional force projection than it was concerned with countering the American threat. The Assassin’s Mace is a key component of this approach.
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