In all, Chinese analysts assess that the war in Iraq represents a major strategic failure for the United States. Despite the quick victory of coalition forces in OIF, they write, sectarian violence and the shortcomings of the Iraqi government have frustrated Washington?s attempts to achieve its overall political objectives, and the U.S. military has become bogged down in an increasingly costly and unpopular conflict. In short, as one Chinese scholar puts it, the United States ?won the war, but lost the peace? . As for the military dimension of the conflict, Chinese analysts have seized the opportunity to study the world?s premier military in action. Chinese writings on military operations in Iraq indicate that China is further refining its understanding of the U.S. military?s strengths, seeking to identify and prepare to exploit its potential vulnerabilities, and applying the ?lessons learned? from the Iraq war to the ongoing modernization of the PLA.
It seems the Chinese learn faster than the Bush administration. What can Beijing learn in four more years?