As Xi takes the helm, a foreign military ‘adventure’ is an attractive option

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By Willy Lam,

One of the biggest foreign and national security questions regarding the new Chinese Communist Party leadership is whether newly anointed General Secretary and Chairman of the Central Military Commission Xi Jinping will sponsor a foreign “adventure” to consolidate his relatively weak power base.

Xi Jinping, center, stands with Zhang Gaoli, left, and Li Keqiang, right, on Nov. 15. /AFP/Mark Ralston

Historical parallels are not lacking.

After Deng Xiaoping seized power after the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), the late patriarch launched a punitive war against Vietnam in 1979.

That brief but bloody battle served to buttress Deng’s status as the nation’s undisputed supremo as well as “chief architect of reform.”

In the international scene, Deng’s unexpected flash of aggressiveness demonstrated the readiness of the People’s Liberation Army to do whatever it takes to substantiate China’s claims to being a major player in global geopolitics.

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