A Weapon Without War: China’s United Front Strategy

Less headline-grabbing than China's military advances and expanding economic reach is China's united front activities, which have become an increasing cause for concern among countries in Asia, particularly U.S. allies. Not as benign as the name might sound, united front work aims to influence the policies of foreign states toward Chinese ends, through means that may be legal, illegal, or exploit gray areas. The term has a long history, going back to Vladimir Lenin's desire to unite all enemies of colonialism and imperialism as an intermediate stage toward the ultimate triumph of communism, after which the colonialists and imperialists could be discarded. In his successor Joseph Stalin's colorful phrase, they would have been squeezed out like lemons and dropped into the dustbin of history.

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