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Peter Martin, a defense policy and intelligence reporter for Bloomberg News, frequently writes stories about international events, especially US foreign policy with regard to China, Afghanistan and other hot spots. He is the author of the book China's Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy, (Oxford University Press, 2021) currently the No. 1 best seller in Asian History on Amazon. I
The book argues that China's increasingly aggressive diplomats have not only failed to take advantage of the US diplomatic mistakes in "America First" policies, the Middle Eastern wars and in dropping out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Worse, even though the current generation speaks languages and is well educated in the West, they have antagonized other countries.
The term Wolf Warrior has caught on as a foreign appellation of Chinese diplomats. It is derived from a popular film in which Chinese military forces act forcefully and heroically abroad, a sort of Chinese response to "Rambo" or more recently "Seal Team" type films.
Martin read numerous memoirs of Chinese diplomats and interviewed many other foreign diplomats, finding that there are reasons for this counter-productive behavior. His book lays out the history, bringing the conversation to the current situation. Under Xi Jinping, who consolidated power and is now effectively president for life, strident "China First" rhetoric is popular domestically -- but counter-productive with potential international partners.
Whereas the US State Department has been weakened in recent decades both in resources and in authority, the Chinese MOFA has grown in resources and stature with the Chinese government. Even talented diplomats (now often western educated, and multi-lingual) are unable to speak diplomatically, let alone bend to compromise with foreigners, but must toe the party line, and in public, vigorously insulting foreigners. This Wolf Warrior mentality drives China’s foreign policy today.