"Red Star over the Pacific, Second Edition"

China's Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy

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“If you are going to read one book about the Chinese military, read this one.” The Atlantic

Combining a close knowledge of Asia and an ability to tap Chinese-language sources with naval combat experience and expertise in sea-power theory, the authors assess how the rise of Chinese sea power will affect U.S. maritime strategy in Asia. They argue that China has laid the groundwork for a sustained challenge to American primacy in maritime Asia, and to defend this hypothesis they look back to Alfred Thayer Mahan’s sea-power theories, now popular with the Chinese. The book considers how strategic thought about the sea shapes Beijing’s deliberations and compares China’s geostrategic predicament to that of the Kaiser’s Germany a century ago. It examines the Chinese navy’s operational concepts, tactics, and capabilities and appraises China’s missile force. The authors conclude that China now presents a challenge to America’s strategic position of such magnitude that Washington must compete in earnest.


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Editorial Reviews

“This [is an] extraordinarily detailed work.” —The Washington Times
“This book, with its outstanding analysis of Chinese maritime strategic thinking, is recommended for scientists, politicians and naval officers to scrutinize the validity of their own strategic and operational maritime considerations and the demands for arms derived from them.” —Marine Forum
Red Star over the Pacific - Second Edition, provides readers an up to date view of the expanded capacity of the People's Republic of China's Army's Navy, its capacity, its philosophy, and its view as hegemon of Asian waters - extending to Africa…. I recommend reading the book, Red Star Over the Pacific to obtain a better and more balanced view of where China is, and where they plan to be as they expand sea lane control (to the extent that it is needed) to insure their supply of raw materials and to support their Belt Road Initiative through Asia and Africa.” —Virtual Mirage
“The renowned British geopolitical theorist Halford Mackinder wrote that great statesmanship requires 'geographical capacity' and 'an insight into the minds of other nations'.... American statesmen who want to develop these qualities to approach the 21st-century world should consult the new edition of Red Star Over the Pacific, written by Toshi Yoshihara of the US Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, and James Holmes of the Naval War College in the state of Rhode Island. The book combines brilliant geopolitical insight, a careful review of Chinese naval writings, and a thorough knowledge of Chinese and American naval weapons systems, tactics and strategies - both historical and contemporary.” —South China Morning Post
“An excellent analysis of Chinese maritime strategic thinking. It should be read not only by politicians and academics but by naval officers all over the world too.” German Maritime Competence Net
Red Star Over the Pacific should be read and studied not just by American policymakers and the American public, but also by the statesmen and people of the Asia-Pacific region, including those in China.” —Asian Review of Books
“This book is entirely readable.” McCall Digest
“For many years now, James Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara have been the go-to pair for both a granular and strategic understanding of the American-Chinese naval rivalry. Their new edition of Red Star Over the Pacific, a seminal work when first published, will be a requirement for everybody in the field.” —Robert D. Kaplan author of, The Return of Marco Polo's World: War, Strategy, and American Interests in the Twenty-first Century
“Based on meticulous use of Chinese language and other such authoritative sources and using Mahanian thinking as a frame of analysis, this books explains China's naval rise rather than just documents its latest ships and submarines. Setting the new Chinese navy firmly in its domestic and international context, the authors dissect China's naval aspirations and analyse their likely success and strategic consequence. Anyone plotting responses to China's naval rise must read this excellent book.” —Geoffrey Till, Professor Emeritus and Chairman of the Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy, King's College London, and author of Seapower
“This is must reading. In their landmark Red Star Over the Pacific, Toshi Yoshihara and James Holmes warned us Chinese sea power is here to stay and could veer toward aggression. Their warning was prophetic. With this second edition they help us prepare for the competitive future they foresaw.” —Admiral Jim Stavridis, author of SEA POWER and Dean, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
“Yoshihara and Holmes sounded an early alarm over China's strategic maritime competition in their seminal work, Red Star Over the Pacific, 2nd Edition. Their prescient warning contributed to the material shift in U.S. national security strategy in 2017 recognizing the risk and reality of great power competition in the maritime domain in the Indo-Pacific. Their updated insights in the Second Edition have implications for the evolution of U.S. maritime strategy, naval fleet architecture, and joint forces doctrine for the U.S. and regional allies that will reverberate across the global commons.” —Philip M. Bilden, Member, Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel, Vice Chairman, Naval War College Foundation
“In Red Star Over the Pacific (2010), James Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara presciently postulated China's game plan to become a serious oceangoing power. In this edition, they meticulously analyze how since then, China is innovatively expanding its envelope of maritime dominance in the Pacific. This is not to be missed.” —Admiral Nirmal Verma, former Chief of Indian Naval Staff and Chief of Naval Operations Fellow, U.S. Naval War College
Red Star Over the Pacific is at once succinct and expansive, accessible and erudite. Moreover, it is incredibly illuminating—the kind of book in which you will find yourself highlighting and writing notes in the margins. The authors don’t just admire the problem of China’s growing naval power; they explain how this power fits into China’s worldview and grand strategic design. They set out to tell us what Chinese leaders are doing and why. If you only have time to read one book about the challenge China poses to U.S. interests in the Pacific, make it this one.” —Strategy Bridge
“[We] recommend Red Star Over the Pacific to both experts and the general public as a useful insight into the remarkable shift in attitudes towards the sea and the maritime dimension in Chinese strategic, military and commercial thinking.” —United Service
“An influential book on China’s maritime ambitions.” —The Economist
“The second edition of Red Star Over the Pacific is an authoritative work on Chinese maritime power and naval strategy. To understand the maritime domain is to understand core elements of China’s historic transformation into a superpower. And through understanding naval strategy in the Indo-Pacific, the outline of how China could pose a serious military challenge to U.S. regional hegemony becomes clearer.” —The Foreign Service Journal
“[An] extraordinarily detailed work.” —Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies
Red Star Over The Pacific is particularly engrossing, relevant, and timely…. Their research is so thorough the details are clear.” —International Journal of Maritime History

“This book is a very valuable source of information for those interested in the trajectory of China’s navy, the history of its naval development, the motivations for its maritime expansion and the ways and means by which the United States and its allies could counter the PLAN—as such Red Star over the Pacific is highly recommended reading.” —The Australian Naval Institute

“This work provides an in-depth and up-to-date look into the Chinese navy’s capabilities and capacities. It also provides a thorough explanation of how the Chinese Communist Party has already used, and plans to use further, this maritime power to help achieve its strategic goals.” —War on the Rocks
Red Star Over the Pacific outlines the massive growth in capability and size of China’s naval forces in a way that is straightforward to understand, and they also cover the implications of Chinese naval force development and the way it impacts and compares to the U.S. Navy. Fascinating and current, the book is also a warning to the reader to take competition and potential conflict in the Pacific seriously, as the authors make clear just how important naval power has become to Chinese grand strategy.” —CIMSEC
“Extensive footnotes, a good index, and useful maps and illustrations make this a good research source for anyone interested in Asia and the players in question.” —The Ensign
2020 Marine Commandant’s Reading List
Red Star Over the Pacific is an informative read and should be read by anyone involved in the development and implementation of diplomatic, military and political strategy at the international level.” —Canadian Naval Review