Miles Maochun Yu


Miles Maochun Yu is a professor of East Asia and military and naval history at the United States Naval Academy (USNA). He is the author of numerous scholarly articles on military and intelligence history and newspaper columns; his books include OSS in China: Prelude to Cold War (Yale University Press, 1997) and The Dragon’s War: Allied Operations and the Fate of China, 1937–1947 (Naval Institute Press, 2006). He is the recipient of numerous awards including the USNA top researcher award, US Navy Special Action Award, and US Navy Meritorious Service Awards. He consults with other government agencies and Congress on China-related topics and has appeared on the PBS NewsHour as a China analyst, at various congressional hearings as an expert witness, and with the History and Discovery Channels as chief historian for military documentaries. He received a doctorate in history from the University of California, Berkeley, a master’s degree from Swarthmore College, and a bachelor’s degree from Nankai University.

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Recent Commentary

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The Lessons Of Dien Bien Phu

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Friday, December 22, 2017

The most consequential military engagement in Southeast Asia in the 20th century is the 1954 Battle of Dien Bien Phu. It was fought ostensibly between the French and the communist-led Vietmin at Dien Bien Phu, an obscure valley bordering China, in the remote northwestern part of what was then French Indochina. The battle ended with a humiliating defeat for the French, which brought down the French government, ended French colonial rule in Asia, ushered in America’s epic military involvement in the region for decades to come, and fundamentally changed the global geostrategic landscape.

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China’s Achilles Heel

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The best political commentary out of East Asia last week is the one published on December 15 by South Korea’s second largest newspaper, Dong-A Ilbo. The paper’s editors asked a question on the mind of the entire Korean nation after their president had been outrageously snubbed by the Chinese leadership during his four-day state visit to the communist country, and Korean reporters accompanying their president’s visit were savagely beaten by thuggish Chinese security guards: “China should reflect on this question: why is it that for such a big country, there is hardly any neighbor that can be described as China’s friend?”

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A Dangerous Triangular Liaison—How To Avoid The Next War In East Asia

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Thursday, December 14, 2017

Today, China is having tense, and often explosive, territorial and maritime disputes with many of its neighbors including Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and India. The threats of wars are routinely reported in the news.

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It’s Time To Change America’s Alliance Approach In Asia

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Last week marks the 63rd anniversary of the signing of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States of America and the Republic of China. The historic mutual defense treaty, signed on December 2, 1954 in Washington, provided an ironclad guarantee to keep Taiwan from being invaded by the People’s Republic of China between 1955 and 1979. Since President Jimmy Carter unilaterally terminated the vital treaty on January 1, 1979, Taiwan has been subjected to constant threats of invasion by the communist government in Beijing, as the subsequent Taiwan Relations Act does not guarantee direct military assistance to Taiwan if China invades the island democracy.

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Reasonable Conventional Options In A Second Korean War

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Strategika
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

While the world is abuzz about North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, it is Pyongyang’s conventional capabilities that are not given sufficient attention. As mentions of a general war with North Korea are hardly absent on a daily basis, this indolence on seriously dealing with Kim’s conventional forces is alarmingly dangerous, because, despite the global focus on Kim’s nascent nuclear weapons and missile programs, the actual fighting will remain overwhelmingly conventional, primarily because Kim knows that his strength lies preponderantly in his conventional capabilities, not nuclear or thermonuclear ones.

Related Commentary

Annihilate the North Korea Threat: Possible Options

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Strategika
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The very fact that the DPRK has nuclear weapons with formidable conventional strike capabilities is unacceptable. Because of this, in dealing with Kim Jong-un, the risks are not unacceptable and they will have to be factored into any strategic and contingency plans.

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Lenin’s Ghost

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 23, 2017

Russia and China once contested each other’s claims to socialist purity. Now they vie for this distinction: who will challenge America? 

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Challenges And Opportunities Facing The Trump Administration’s China Policy

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Strategika
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

In general, America profoundly lacks interest in communist ideology, a phenomenon Karl Marx would have called “the poverty of ideology.” As a result, our China policy by and large has failed to take into sufficient consideration the primal forces that motivate Chinese communist leadership in foreign and domestic affairs.

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Cheeseburgers At Mar-a-Lago And The Inexorable Logic Of History

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Friday, March 31, 2017

One of the most memorable lines from the recent presidential campaign was offered by the GOP frontrunner and eventual nominee: “We give state dinners to the heads of China. I say ‘why are you doing state dinners for them? They are ripping us left and right. Take them to McDonald’s and take them back to the negotiation table!’ Seriously!”

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The Ghost Of Lenin: The Epic Fight For A Dubious Honor

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Friday, March 24, 2017

The cadres of the global commentariat often discuss the intricate relationships among the world’s most meaningful triumvirate, namely the United States, Russia, and China. Less often analyzed, however, are the very potent and peculiar interactions between Moscow and Beijing. It is the ghost of Lenin—the decades-long competition between Russia and China to be the leading rival of the United States.