Sunday, May 18, 2008

China's Challenge

"China is threatened neither by Japan, Russia, India, nor the Western powers, as it was not that long ago. ... Unlike the U.S., which governs itself almost unconsciously, reactively, and primarily for the short term, China has plotted a long course, in which with great deliberation it joins economic growth to military power. ... The crux is to raise per-capita income significantly enough that diversions for defense will go virtually unnoticed. ... As we content ourselves with the fallacy that never again shall we have to fight large, technological opponents, China is transforming its forces into a full-spectrum military capable of major operations and remote power projection. Eventually the twain shall meet. By the same token, our sharp nuclear reductions and China's acquisitions of ballistic-missle submarines and multiple-warhead mobile missles well eventually come level. ... Our reductions are not solely nuclear. Consider the F-22, the world's most capable air dominance aircraft, for which the original call for 648 has been whittled to 183, leaving, after maintenance, training, and test, approximately 125 to cover the entire world. The same story is evident without relief through our diminshed air echelons, shrinking fleets, damaged and depleted stocks, and ground forces turned from preparation for heavy battle to the work of a gendarmerie. ... We must revive our understanding of deterrence, the balance of power, and the military balance. In comparison with its recent history, American military potential is restrained. Were we to allot the average of 5.7% of GNP that we devoted annually to defense in peacetime from 1940-2000, we would have as a matter of course $800 billion each year with which to develop and sustain armies and fleets. ... And there we will be, if we are wise, not with 280 ships, but a thousand; not eleven carriers, or nine, but 40, not 183 F-22s, but a thousand, and so on. That is, the levels of military potential that traditional peacetime expenditures of GNP have provided, without strain, throughout most of our lives. ... And yet what candidate is alert to this? Who asserts that our sinews are still intact? That we can meet any challenge, especially when in can be answered with our historial strengths", my emphasis, Mark Helpirn (MH) at the WSJ, 13 May 2008.

I agree with MH. So far the 2008 presidential campaign has lacked any discussion of military affairs. See most of my previous posts on military affairs. See my 14 April and 1 May 2008 posts.

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