and the New Strategy.
By RICHARD JOHNSON.
WE KNEW THE decision by the Chinese government to wage war had been hotly debated by some party insiders, but not by enough of them. Pacifists had been lumped in with Hong Kong protesters and Uyghurs, tagged as traitors and silenced effectively once the wonderful efficacy of the new range of bioweapons had been accepted by the party as the centerpiece of the New Strategy. It was, in every sense of the word, dope. All war is disruptive, but this new, one-weapon war disrupted even the machinery of conventional disruption, the kind of thing American president Donald Trump had mastered.
The New Strategy was built according to the demanding specifications of pure intelligence; no longer would old definitions of war and weaponry matter. The weapon was the war. Artificial intelligence and research in transhumanism had already created a plausible model for human intelligence, one especially useful in planning warfare. The Chinese looked at how computers solved problems without human intervention, then they simply intervened as humans behaving in ways they learned from computer models. While most wars start in a storm of bluster, this war had started silently many months ago. Some in the leadership had argued that St. Louis should be bombed. The north Koreans would be persuaded to launch an ICBM. But computer models showed that there would only be a million or so dead and injured with little disruption outside the blast area. Recovery would have only taken a few months and retaliation was inevitable. So it would also be expensive. The New Strategy was an obvious choice. And so far, it was progressing exactly as the models had predicted. The virus spread quickly, effortlessly. It had already commenced its programmed replication as planned. Soon, the subtle mutations were multiplying as enemy casualties filled hospitals, mortuaries, refrigerated hearse-trucks.
From the very beginning, defense was spectacularly ineffective. The targets were ripe. Biodefenses were nonexistent. Invariably, deepening internal divisions, especially in America, had made clear thinking impossible. Absent foxholes, artillery and invading armies, blind hatred of their fellow countrymen had made it impossible to understand they were at war even as it unfolded before their very eyes. Large corporations controlled the tools of internal discussion and, fearful of the economic impact of war against an important trading nation, insured that all political energy was directed toward silencing internal political enemies. Wartime measures were enacted by Americans against other Americans, Britons against other Britons. While the Chinese were seen as unreliable emotionally, what with their abuse of human rights and all that, there was no room for them on the battlefields that were most important to most combatants in America and the West. China was only a distraction.
Moreover, the New Strategy had been developed with brilliantly orchestrated deniability. The initial firing of the weapon had been completely obscured by complexity, the dominant color on the palette of modern science. Most assumed the war was just one of those crazy things. People shrugged it off, saying, “2020.” The weapon had been camouflaged to exactly resemble an unfortunate but effective act of nature, just one of those horrible things, far worse than, say, a Portuguese earthquake. It had to be something so horrible, so irrationally evil only bats could conceive of it. This camouflage had been an integral part of the weapon’s design. If the targets ever suspected they were actually at war, responses would no doubt become unpredictable. It was critically important that the truth be hidden, isolated from reality.
This is where Chinese aesthetics played an important role in the New Strategy. Chinese leaders knew that Westerners understood war only in terms of the obvious: big bombs, big noises, big explosions, big armies. They would never suspect something as subtle as a microdrop of virus falling silently from the petal of a lotus. It was perfect.
R.J.R. Johnson is a writer and analyst currently living in New England.