Inside the Ring

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The judge then summoned Lt. Barry back to the courtroom, where he ordered his arrest on two counts of disorderly conduct and two counts of interfering with a law enforcement officer.

“Media interest not anticipated,” the Navy message said.

The Cole was attacked nearly 10 years ago by suicide bombers as the destroyer refueled in the Yemen port of Aden.

The Party army

A new book on the Communist Party of China reveals that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is a major rival for power and the current civilian party leader, President Hu Jintao, is seeking to maintain party controls over the armed forces that have been growing in size and power for more than a decade.

Richard McGregor, author of the new book “The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers,” has penned a detailed look at the Chinese Communist Party that is must reading for U.S. officials and China affairs specialists who profess to be perplexed at why the regime in Beijing consistently operates like a Soviet-style communist dictatorship and not a Western-style democracy.

“The party never takes the PLA’s support for granted,” Mr. McGregor, a reporter for the Financial Times newspaper, told Inside the Ring. “That’s why party [news]papers relentlessly stress the PLA’s loyalty to the [Communist Party] and has been so generous with budgets and hardware acquisition over the last decade.”

Unlike most national militaries dedicated to defending a nation, the PLA is dedicated to a single task: preserving the power of the Communist Party, which Mr. McGregor said “has clung onto what I call the ‘three Ps’ — the PLA, personnel and propaganda.”

“The PLA remains very much the party’s army — it is not the nation’s army. This is a distinction that is lost on many people, but it is not lost on the party itself, which understands very clearly that the PLA is its ultimate guarantor of staying in power.”

The recent firing of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who was ousted for off-color comments by aides about civilian leaders, highlights the West’s demand that national militaries remain nonpolitical. In China, Mr. McGregor notes, a politicized military under Communist Party control is an absolute requirement.

“In China, it is the opposite — the [Communist Party] is paranoid about the military becoming de-politicized,” he said, noting constant propaganda in party and military newspapers about the unwavering bond between the party and the PLA, propaganda read by most China observers as a worrying sign that ties are strained.

Mr. McGregor points to some evidence: statements by a Chinese general criticizing civilian leaders’ conciliatory policy toward Taiwan asserting that the island is lost forever as a part of China.

The book notes that party paranoia can be seen in the fact that the PLA has set up 90,000 party committees within the military that seek to cement party controls.

Russian incursion

Efforts by the U.S. Northern Command to gain the cooperation of Russia so that its nuclear bombers stop trying to run up against U.S. and Canadian air defenses do not seem to be working.

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About the Author
Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.

He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.

Mr. ...

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