Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chinese Military Spending – A Warning

     As most of you know by now, one of the things I have been following and fretting about has been the slow and steady growth of the Peoples Republic of China. In the past 30 years, I have written opinion papers, white papers and blog articles. I have participated in webinars, seminars; round-table discussions and think-tank study groups. My recurring warning all this time has been that China is patient, has vast resources and is very astute. They have been growing steadily to the point where they are now a recognized power on the world stage. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many people said that the United States was the only remaining “super power." I argued that those people were overlooking China (to their own peril).  

     It is now my opinion that China’s long-term goal is to be the preeminent world power both economically and militarily. They want to be in a position to defeat the United States if we challenge them or interfere when they take actions they consider in their best interests.
    The Peoples Republic of China is not yet in that position. They have, however, made great gains on us over the past 30 years. And at a pace that is quickening at an alarmingly fast rate.
    Last week, Aria Cahill, a person who has read some of my writings on the subject, was nice enough to send me a link to an excellent infographic on the Chinese military budget. I am going to summarize it briefly below, but I would recommend you follow this link and take a look at it for yourselves. It is alarming.
    The first information it displays is the growth of martial spending by the PRC. The bottom line is that China spent 18.9 billion dollars on military spending in 1991. In 2011, they spent 129.3 billion dollars.
    It goes on to point out that the PRC has the largest standing military around the world with 2,285,000 active service members. By comparison, the European Union has 1,711,500 (tell me again why we need to station troops in Europe?), the United States has 1,428,995 (before sequestration), India has 1,325,000. North Korea has 1,106,000, and Russia has 1,040,000.
    If you count reserves and paramilitary units, China has 4,585,000 people in uniform, and if you consider  the people in their population who would be eligible (by age) to be drafted, they could swell to over 375 million people in uniform!
    These are just simple facts. It is essential we are aware of them, and that we craft a policy toward China that is firm and consistent. The Chinese are expert at exploiting weakness, and if they see us hesitate or back down regarding international policies, they will not hesitate to use these facts to try to make us back down even further. We must also make sure the people who form our military and foreign policies keep these facts in mind.
    One good note in closing. The United States has announced a shift and re-focus of our commitment to the Asian Pacific. The US Navy has transferred assets to the Pacific, and we have reaffirmed our commitments to our allies throughout the region. That is a very good thing, if long overdue.
    The time will come when our commitments in the Pacific (my guess in the S. China Sea) will be tested. How we react when that time comes could well set the course of world history for the rest of this century.
Live Long and Prosper....

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