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China Spends the Cash

With all the attention being paid to problems in the Middle East these days, its easy to lose sight of the military buildup in Asia.

Remember pre-9/11 assessments that the major threat looming on the horizon was a rising China? The first significant military confrontation the Bush administration faced was the mishap between a Chinese F-8 fighter and an American EP-3 surveillance plane in March 2001. The incident and its messy aftermath sent Sino-U.S. relations into a tailspin, cutting off mil-to-mil contacts and icing over diplomatic relations.

As Americas involvement in the Middle East and its commitments to the global war on terrorism increased, China continued its double-digit defense buildup.

A column from the online magazine World Politics Watch analyzes the increase and its impact.

While much of the reaction to China’s increase in defense spending was dictated by domestic politics, there are real concerns about China’s military intensions. China has been reluctant to disclose such information — mostly out of fear that such a disclosure would remove any advantage it might have should a conflict over Taiwan break out. Still, Beijing does not want any suspicions over its army to lead to an unwanted conflict, so it has made greater efforts in the past year to air its military intentions.

Still, we need to keep in mind that even though the Chinese defense budget has posted huge increases for 19 years straight, its still only a fraction of the U.S. military budget in real terms. And the technical prowess of their purchases is generations behind American technology or even those of defense spendthrift Europe.

But the recent successful test firing of a Chinese anti-satellite missile has put that countrys military evolution back into the headlines. And intelligence officials still tell Congress Americas spooks are keeping a wary eye over their shoulder at the rising dragon in the East.

(Gouge: NC)

Christian

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

RTLM March 13, 2007 at 9:29 pm

The Chinese anti-satellite missile was militarily effective, but a diplomatic blunder. NO ONE liked any of the new 20,000 mph space debris it scattered here and gone over the atmosphere. And it was done much more efficiently 21 years ago by a US Air Force F-15. I’m more concerned about their laser technology.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-15_Eagle#Satellite_killer

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Keith March 13, 2007 at 11:06 pm

The Chinese will be good boys until after the 2008 Olympic Games; after that, all bets are off. Regards Keith

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Kevin Parkin March 14, 2007 at 1:47 am

1) Purchasing power parity is the key issue: What resources can you purchase _in China_ with the money you have, not in the US.
2) I mostly agree with Keith, though it’s unclear to me how much the PLA really care about the Olympics. Sure, the foreign ministry care, but they aren’t the PLA.
3) Having dealt with high tech at the research level for several years now, it’s difficult to imagine that a well educated and well funded group anywhere in the world can’t reproduce or surpass nearly any given military technology that we have. I think it unwise to base military policy on an imagined 20 year technological advantage. Just because Boeing, Lockheed et. al. take many years and billions of dollars to do something, it doesn’t mean that thing was actually hard or the solution non-obvious. Can you say Sar Lupe?

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Kevin Parkin March 14, 2007 at 1:49 am

1) Purchasing power parity is the key issue: What resources can you purchase _in China_ with the money you have, not in the US.
2) I mostly agree with Keith, though it’s unclear to me how much the PLA really care about the Olympics. Sure, the foreign ministry care, but they aren’t the PLA.
3) Having dealt with high tech at the research level for several years now, it’s difficult to imagine that a well educated and well funded group anywhere in the world can’t reproduce or surpass nearly any given military technology that we have. I think it unwise to base military policy on an imagined 20 year technological advantage. Just because Boeing, Lockheed et. al. take many years and billions of dollars to do something, it doesn’t mean that thing was actually hard or the solution non-obvious. Can you say Sar Lupe?

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JTH March 14, 2007 at 7:44 pm

According to AW&ST, a large part of the increase is scheduled to be for pay, some may get 20% increase.

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janny the fart July 17, 2008 at 3:12 am

-1) Purchasing power parity is the key issue: What resources can you purchase _in China_ with the money you have, not in the US.
actualy China is VERY RICH on ressources.
—2) I mostly agree with Keith, though it’s unclear to me how much the PLA really care about the Olympics. Sure, the foreign ministry care, but they aren’t the PLA.-
i dont see tanks and soldiers of forign ministry marshing in Tibet, south mongolia and East Turkestan. Do you?
-The Chinese anti-satellite missile was militarily effective, but a diplomatic blunder.-
that depens on what they wanted to show..

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