Comparative Assessment: The Military Option

190
Thu, Feb 6, 2014 - 12:31am

Any true analysis of near term predictions must take into account the various military options and capabilities of the world's current powers.

Recently, and I apologize in advance for not taking the time to go back and link to it, a post appeared here discussing the Chinese military reality. There was mention of a submarine that sunk, and that the Chinese troops do not seem to have any real ability to endure field conditions or hardships.

I found that fascinating, because I am a former soldier, and nasty, miserable field conditions are just no big deal. We call that camping, and even pay dearly for the privilege.

Thinking on a macro level, though, I began to wonder about the concept of an actual outbreak of a shooting war somewhere in the world.

Going beyond the concept of currency wars, which are playing out in real time right in front of us, what would happen if shooting really started?

This thought lead to a cascade of simultaneous war game scenarios, all of which lead to a most startling question: why is there NO discussion at all about the role of an increasingly capable Chinese fighting force or the denigration of US fighting forces from logistical and personnel decreases or budgetary concerns?

Is this subject so taboo as to warrant NO MOPE at all? Or, have TPTB realized that any mention of the USA military capabilities via a via the Chinese would lead to polarization beyond that which we have now, or worse, to an honest critique of the true dire situation that the failure of western fiat paper has created?

Or, is it just that the Chinese are truly ass backwards when it comes to military capabilities? It is true that they have no professional military. But, the Soviets had their one party system, yet they fielded a most formidable military, even with conscription and less than perfect weapons systems as compared to the Americans.

Or is it something else entirely, like for example, the Chinese play a longer time frame, easily out maneuvering the hasty Americans who are bound by managers on a quarterly return basis, and by politicians focused on a narrow, two year time cycle? If this is the case, then is it not a compelling conclusion that the Chinese are playing a physical gold accumulating, hegemony altering, world commerce dominating game of thrones?

Is this not obvious who has played the best hand, and that the game is revealing itself?

Think about why Bill O'Reilly had Ms. Bartiroma as a guest tonight? Was she advocating something real, or managed? Why is she on TV, right now, advocating continued buying of the USA stocks?

I am more convinced by the day that 2014 is it. The collapse is afoot. I'm buying more gold.

About the Author

  190 Comments

Green Lantern
Feb 6, 2014 - 9:39am

Here is my observations of

Here is my observations of Chinese people being married to a Chinese Chick, being embedded in a city with over a million Chinese people including the surrounding area, working for a Chinese company (aggressive bastards) who helped American companies earn the Chinese consumer and helped American business man find a manufacturer for goods in China.

Chinese pay for today, with the efforts of yesterday. Americans pay for today, with money they haven't earned yet. I have no Chinese friends with a mortgage. They take their hard earned money, put it in the suitcase, walk over to the wealthy residential section and slam the money down on the table. They don't mind waiting ten years to buy shit and know it's theirs. They don't get married, get a job and run to the bank.

American's go to a US banker, fill out a form asking how many pairs of under wear they wear, and wait for the banker to drop scraps on the table.

Robert Kiosaki says it another way. If you want a lesson in economics, go to China, where they work for food. Go to the Us where they work for Ipods and glow in the dark sneakers, then go to France where they don't work AT ALL. Hey, I didn't say it.

The American dream designed to enslave. Mission accomplished. My wife keeps me grounded in the ways of good monetary habits. Save every scrap. And I deprogram her from the brain washing of the Communist Party. Good deal. All of her friends and business colleagues all have some programming even if they are unaware of it. Americans and Chinese are equally programmed.

___________________________________________________________________________

Having second thoughts on those Ruskies. Couldn't build roads and have rooms ready in time for the Olympics.
And they royally screwed the snowboarding course. The top competitor dropped out because the course was screwed up, and there have been multiple injuries. Oh yeah, Putin gonna be knocking some heads together. Russian style.

SamSchlepps
Feb 6, 2014 - 10:14am

Found this link yesterday - good timing CL

US Army Report on China to Congress

https://www.defense.gov/pubs/2013_China_Report_FINAL.pdf

GL thanks, clearly the US post office must be running second comparatively and trying to catch up; I worry about mail trucks with mounted flame throwers - drive right up to your door

woofwoof
Feb 6, 2014 - 10:22am

Chess vs. Goa

Military.

Some things never change. America fight wars like the game of Chess and China fight wars light the game of Goa.

Cleburne61
Feb 6, 2014 - 10:37am

Good discussion, Mr. C.

Does anyone else remember this little bump in the road?

It was a big deal...for about 48 hours...then *blip*! It went down the memory commode. When the authorities see something like that, and respond, "let's wait and see what the military authorities say about this", they're really saying "Oh ^&*$! Um....I haven't been quizzed on the official lie, so you'll have to get the official lie from them, I'm afraid! Sorry!"

Now that China and Russia are both holding massive drills in east Russia, as well as navy drills in the freaking Mediterranean...all the while passing multi-billion defense budgets to upgrade their standard army weaponry and tactical gear(completely overhauling standard gear they've used since the Soviet era)....you know someone means business.

Germany was a major world power in WWII. They crossed a line invading Kievan Rus that proved fatal. Did it matter that the Soviets were broke? Did it matter that they didn't have cutting edge technology? Or the most $? Or personal liberty to fight for?

No. All that mattered was that the every-man Russian saw a threat to their Folk's very survival as a nation and culture.

Russia was "all-in".

Same with Vietnam. We won every battle, but that didn't matter did it? Their Folk had an unshakeable, relentless desire to drive out the strangers, and they did. Technology and wealth didn't make the difference.

Technology has its limits, furthermore, it is highly unstable and subject to vulnerabilities. What separates victors from conquered is not simply manpower, or technology, but far more importantly it is the unbeatable power of will and state of mind(and of course, the will of God). But, I'm speaking strictly on the human level here.

Sun Tzu said that to be unbeatable lies within yourself, but to be beatable lies with your opponent.

It would take an invasion to bring either China or Russia to heel. There will not be a repeat of the 19th century European occupation of China(which required all of European powers' forces to pull off, with great difficulty). China's and Russia's will to be free from us, is indomitable.

ivars
Feb 6, 2014 - 10:40am

Now this is clear

Now this is clear bluff:

Quote: No, Mario Draghi just plain isn’t that worried about deflation.

He reiterates that price declines aren’t anything like what was seen in Japan as it entered its long deflation spiral and that inflation rates in the euro zone aren’t terribly lower than in the U.S.

That said, the longer inflation remains extremely low the more it becomes a risk in itself, he says. But he notes that the low inflation is driven mostly by low food and energy prices, while weak demand, which would be a more troubling cause, is probably secondary. And economic activity is slowly picking up, he notes.

Also, there’s little evidence people are postponing spending plans. People delaying purchases in anticipation of lower prices is a characteristic of a deflationary environment.

He is worried like hell about deflation I bet. But it is clear that all other banks have agreed to give no front warning of what FED most likely will do.

In this situation where so many parties have made agreement You have to check that the other side has done a) before you do b).

For central banks to act they need from USG or Obama tomorrow an NFP below 6,5%. That would be a) .

After a) will be said, b) will follow. FED will act first, BOE and ECB , BOJ, POBC follow.

If a) is below 6,5%, FED will tighten , UK will tighten, ECB ease, China ease but fiscally.

China is the one heading in for hyperinflationary crash in that below 6,5% scenario, believe me or not. Within 7-8 years. Starting ASAP as FED tightens China will fiscally ease Remnibi vs. USD will fall and it will continue falling for these 8 years.

China economy can not withstand Western recession. No way. It will fall apart as they did not succeed to create local economy. What they have is enormous private credit bubble that will blow apart ASAP. And State will go into huge public debt and PBOC will ease like hell. Until military take over.

And as a result, the scenario CL touched upon with China turning into French revolution pattern from 2014 ( 1789 in French history) , and then launching Chinese Napoleon around 2023 -2025 into war in Asia and few years later with the USA will be fixed.

So Tomorrow is SO CRUCIAL. On many fronts, but NFP below 6,5% will signal the turning point for all events that will follow. Bankers and others would have made choice to tighten reserve currency money supply. Everything else is derived, I really believe in it. NFP much below 6,5%, like 6,2% I expect will be deadly for future. Obama still has a choice not to publish such bullshit. But looking at the sun activity pattern and indications of irrationality winning over rationality ( which would be to say honestly we have shit unemployment situation in the USA, above 9%) - I think he will publish low unemployment figures and make his choice to send humanity into another World War in near future. Its not accidental he got Nobel peace prize before he even started. That is a joke fate often plays on humans.

But its no joke what will be put in motion tomorrow,on February 7th, 2014.

Mr. Fix
Feb 6, 2014 - 10:47am

First, this has to be fixed....

THEFT IS DEFLATIONARY–ESPECIALLY THE CRONY-CAPITALIST/STATE KIND

FEBRUARY 6, 2014 BY THE DOC LEAVE A COMMENT

When the Federal Reserve drops the yield on savings to near-zero to funnel all that stolen wealth to its cronies on Wall Street, how is that not theft? Monopoly power in all its forms–in our system, crony capitalism and its partner, the neofeudal state–enables theft on a systemic scale.
1) Thieves control the government; 2) Which results in increased stealing; 3) Deflation results from that; 4) Which gives the thieves a reason to print money and give it to themselves; 5) Which enriches the thieves some more; 6) Which gives them more resources they can use to consolidate their control of the government; 7) Back to step 1.
Many people seem confused about how there could be deflation in the paper (or digital) money era. If they would recognize how much stealing is going on, and if they understood the powerful deflationary effect of stealing, then perhaps they would not be so surprised to observe price decreases, particularly in wages and the prices of manufactured products. [Read more...]

Strongsidejedi
Feb 6, 2014 - 11:42am

Military Balance report

Just saw a report on KCET aired from NHK on the topic of this thread.
1. Chinese military spending is significantly accelerated compared to previous years. This report was being announced via press conference. The report appears to detail military spending by various governments globally. (https://www.iiss.org/en/publications/military%20balance/issues/the-military-balance-2014-7e2c)
2. Acceleration of the military spending has been a mechanism used by bankrupt governments to (1) divert the citizen’s attention from the bankruptcy and (2) to falsely elevate GDP through military spending.
3. I can illustrate the diversion of citizen attention from bankruptcy or other domestic political issues by pointing at the behavior of nearly every major national government over the past 150 years. In each case, the governments obtained loaned money from international banks (primarily London based banks). The nations who did not create debt with those London based banks failed. The London banks were creating debt slaves and a national regime which disagreed essentially failed because that government was threatening the stability of the game. The start of nearly every war over the past 100 years can be aligned with the money games and these government loans.
4. Military spending can create an artificial bump in GDP. This was seen in all of the major conflicts over the past 100 years also. But, these temporary surges in GDP have eventual debt that must be paid. Guess who loans the money up front and guess who gets paid in the end?

genuis8
Feb 6, 2014 - 11:47am

The main problem with a

The main problem with a shooting war is always LOGISTICS:

*How to move your troops & equipment to where you need.

*How to support your troops (Food) & Equipment (Fuel, Munitions, Repairs, etc.).

*Where and how to acquire all of these to support the troops & equipment.

Another food for thought: Every wonder why almost all of the US Special Forces (Delta, Seals, Recon, etc.) are located all over the world, and not in the Continental USA? Aside from the obvious answer - They are there to do the fighting (Dirty Wars). My thoughts ..... These special forces are our elite fighters. They have undergone intensive training in all forms of warfare, including torture/capture, are highly resistant to external influences against their imbedded loyalty to our idea of the US ideal nation (democracy, freedom, US constitution). With the curent corrupt people in power, and all the conspiracy theories (facts?) about the destruction and selling our of our country by the bankers/cabal/etc - Do these evil people want RAMBO & CO. back home, when they give the command to shoot our own citizens? Only the bullies would do so, without hesitation, and we know who these are.

Arag
Feb 6, 2014 - 12:06pm

Danger from Asia

The most life threatening danger presently is not China - it's the deadly radioactivity out of Fukushima, Japan.

While the forces of the world should unite to contain the leaking of radioactive material in the sea, what are we doing ? Focusing on a Superbowl or staging Olympic Games for distraction...

Humanity is too stupid, and will probably disappear without understanding how or why.

Amazing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh2X2shDnP8


ancientmoney
Feb 6, 2014 - 12:07pm

Why does U.S. Army need AK-47 magazines?

"Assuming an individual, unloaded magazine weight of 0.95 pounds, all of these magazines combined weigh more than the operating weight of a Lockheed Martin C-5 Galaxy, one of the largest aircraft in the world.

The C-5 Galaxy wouldn’t even be able to carry all of these magazines. Two trips would be necessary.

To put it in another perspective, all these magazines combined weigh more than seven 18-wheelers at the maximum legal weight of 80,000 pounds.

The U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) made the request for the immense amount of magazines, which seems excessive for only research and development purposes.

Chances are these magazines will end up in one of the numerous conflicts around the world."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Or, maybe some will be used to outfit the 60,000 Russian troops now camped here.

https://www.infowars.com/u-s-army-buys-nearly-600000-soviet-ak-47-magazines/

AlienEyes
Feb 6, 2014 - 12:33pm

China is a Paper Tiger

None the less, one must be careful to avoid painful paper cuts.

ivars
Feb 6, 2014 - 12:39pm

Update on coronal hole

Update on Sun's current coronal hole :

Quote:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Feb. 9th Sunday. Credit: SDO/AIA.

Looks quite impressive ( Coronal hole is the black area) :

Gold Dog
Feb 6, 2014 - 12:45pm

Ancient

The AK mags are going to our friends in Chaostan.

I like the Post Office bid, now we can "shoot" someone a card!

For most of my life it has been both "Fortress USSR" and "Fortress China", it may be time for us to pull back and let the rest of the world police themselves. Just because Chateau Lafitte starts tasting a little like Sake it's no fuzz off my junk!

If we wish to get into a shooting war, short of going nuke, we could whip the snot out of the rest of the joint in a day.

Knock Knock.

Who's there?

Smart Bomb and my buddies Daisy-Cutter and HellFire!

Your friend,

Loose the Dog of War

benque
Feb 6, 2014 - 12:52pm

Another sign of the times

In Olympic competition, these days at least, difficult is not acceptable. It seems that the snowboarding course is too "dangerous" (read difficult) for soft, western, spoiled-rotten athletes. Perhaps being the number one contender is only valid when earned on soft, and pleasantly groomed courses in the USSA. It also seems that the number one contender who dropped out due to the so "dangerous" course is the subject of much ridicule from many other contenders, who are snowboarding just fine, on this oh so dangerous course.

I suppose, if I went to Russia, I could be excused for expecting it to be "just like home", as, well, you know...they aren't commies anymore.

Too bad several US Olympians have had their equipment "misplaced" by the US based airline they flew with. Nice to see other Olympians lending them whatever equipment they need, to keep to their practice schedule, and even in competition (I hope) if their own doesn't get back from it's trip to Tahiti, or wherever, in time.

My guess is that the loaned equipment was flown in on non-US based airlines. Perhaps US airlines should consider cutting more staff, in the face of this embarrassment; you know, to improve their customer's flying "experience".

ancientmoney
Feb 6, 2014 - 1:12pm
cp3 Excalibur
Feb 6, 2014 - 1:12pm

stathis update

thanks for viewing the video ....

stathis, my research shows, has an incredible, documented track record .... even scarier, the metals cheerleaders, shun him and wont have him on their shows to debate .... google him and see .... as for the Jew deal, move past that and see his information .... he says the metals are dead, why havent we heard of this guy, ask yourself that ....

be interesting to see if Turd blows this off or if he would invite Stathis on a podcast, there's one I would pay for .... I believed in the metals when I bought them 5 years ago .... now i wish I wouldve sold them 2 years ago. Is there anyone who agrees with that? KMN, the SGS Tinka push, Turd going pay, Celente, Schiff, Rodgers etc etc, they all worry me now.

YT this.... "Mike Stathis reminds you that successful investors do not follow cheerleaders"

please watch this and get back to me.

cp3
Feb 6, 2014 - 1:15pm

meant King World News, KWN,

meant King World News, KWN, not KMN

ancientmoney
Feb 6, 2014 - 1:19pm

Ron Rosen looks into 2014 and sees . . .

Tripling of gold price in next few months as stocks go kerplooie . . .

https://www.321gold.com/editorials/rosen/rosen020614.pdf

Ron Rosen has been around the block a few times. I think he may be correct.

benque
Feb 6, 2014 - 1:19pm

I never knew...

that toothpaste could reach critical mass. Boy-oh-boy, those TSA folks sure are smart.

ancientmoney
Feb 6, 2014 - 1:19pm

This is really interesting

Everyone should click the ZH link and listen.

There is no doubt that the voices are, in fact, the people claimed. That they'd be stupid enough to have their lines tapped and recorded is a topic for another day.

Gold Dog
Feb 6, 2014 - 1:37pm

Good catch guys.

I am so sick of this bullshit. Can we use one of our time-outs for the rest of 2014?

YF,

D

ancientmoney
Feb 6, 2014 - 1:40pm

New World Order reason for takedown of U.S. . . .

and western financial system. We have heard this before, but bears repeating:

"The financial crash of 2008, the same crash which has been ongoing for years, is NOT an accident. It is a concerted and engineered crisis meant to position the U.S. for currency disintegration and the institution of a global basket currency controlled by an unaccountable supranational governing body like the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The American populace is being conditioned through economic fear to accept the institutionalization of global financial control and the loss of sovereignty."

https://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/02.14/swindle.html

Also, why Obama wants to disarm U.S. citizens, under UN rules.

dgstage
Feb 6, 2014 - 1:56pm

This is Not Good

TV: “Imminent situation” at U.S. nuclear site — Emergency operations center evacuated due to fire deep underground — “One of most serious incidents” on record — Anonymous footage of thick black smoke coming from ground (VIDEO)

Patrancus
Feb 6, 2014 - 2:03pm

A Military option

China probably not able to duplicate, pretty harrowing maneuver in 22 seconds, not me!

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=F-35+Take+off+problem&FORM=VIRE3#vi...

Galearis
Feb 6, 2014 - 2:29pm

Will the US start WW3?

An interesting discussion topic and one that probably can be handled in a short discussion rather than a long one....If the US Empire (E.E.) is based on the free-loading component of the world reserve currency (which it is) there is very strong motivation for the present less than moral oligarchs presently running Washington to protect the Empire at all costs. Will they start lobbing nukes?

It is impossible to say. Has Washington shown any sign of not playing hard ball militarily to protect its interests this past decade and more? No.

What we are really asking is whether the present administration will consider gotterdammerung as a policy expression? The preliminary stages - financial war against the rest of the global community are now in operation....

IMHO the nihilistic character of the US administration that became capable of initiating WW3 likely began at the end of the Eisenhower era. Or with the Kennedy assassination. I think it is safe to say that as soon as the oligarchs began killing their own presidents and initiating false flag events within their own borders and deleting the constitution of its citizens (enabling a war against their own citizens), they were capable of anything. All of these changes in relationships -whether national or international have been escalations in the rate of political institutional declines and visibility of these declines. And when it is demonstrated to those who run the United States that the citizen has been neutralized from the decision making of direction for the country, then the USA has succumbed to the pornography of corruption and is already at war with the rest of the world.

FWIW,

G.

ancientmoney Galearis
Feb 6, 2014 - 2:51pm

@Galearis re: nukes . . .

"Will they start lobbing nukes?"

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The elites everywhere are loathe to use the real nuke option--they know it will kill them, too.

They have spent the last 5 decades building other weaponry they figure to use on an as-needed basis to attain their objectives.

Still, they are only humans. And, that being true, they can be easily killed by an armed populace. This is why the 2nd amendment is so damn abhorrent to them.

Obama's job, among others, is to invoke UN rules to disarm the people. If congress can't/won't do it, he'll try to do it himself. He is preparing the way for that event by eliminating military officers who believe in the constitution (which enumerates government powers) and, especially, the bill of rights (which enumerates the people's general rights).

That having been said, I guess if they felt all was lost anyway, they may decide to take down humanity with them.

SilverRunNW
Feb 6, 2014 - 2:58pm

Mike Stathis is unimpressive

The first youtube video that cp3 recommended is just a hit piece on Peter Schiff. And the only thing the second video recommendation has is just stating the obvious, "don't follow the cheerleaders". No $hit Sherlock!

He calls out Schiff, but only in generalities and rarely in specifics. At the 3 minute mark, he talks about some Chinese problems. So what. Every market in the world has problems. He continues to hammer Peter Schiff and never get specifics. He's got a philosophical difference in what Social Security is. So what.

We never hear about Mike Stathis because he's a piece of shit! So he's not a gold bug. I get that. But I'm not influenced at all that this is someone I need to pay attention to.

CP3, just curious, but why did you not post the actual youtube web links?

Patriot Family
Feb 6, 2014 - 3:01pm

A shooting war with China is not very likely...

I cannot type up a long reply because I'm at work and I only have a few minutes of break time. However, I'd like to push forward a few points on China and their military capability.

1. Don't underestimate China - they are at the same stage of the game where we were during the cold war. We had nuclear weapons, spy planes and satellites, but very little in the way of precision weapons that didn't require close troop support. They have the financial means, scientific community and an extensive intelligence net to accelerate weapons development. All countries bluster about weapons technology before it's actually effective in the field. The US did it for decades - and then we went to war in the gulf and had cruise missiles landing within meters of their target and GBUs flying into ventilation shafts controlled by a pilot from 10,000 feet above the target. Now we have virtually unlimited capability to use stand off conventional weapons via drones and longer range missile systems. The Chinese are NOT all that far behind.

2. Any confrontations between the US and China will be fought on foreign soil or distant seas - two major superpowers won't likely pick a fight in each other's territory. The US would be foolish to intrude in China's territorial waters, and the Chinese Navy would face slaughter if they approached our coasts. An invasion force on US soil is, well, unthinkable. Good freaking luck to anyone who invades, especially in the South, South West, Pacific Northwest, etc. The logistics alone are a nightmare. The American military is not the only armed enemy they will confront on US soil. Hicks may be big talkers, but a thousand armed domestic guerilla groups would spring up overnight. So I do think any idea of an invasion is very far fetched at best.

3. Expect brief skirmishes followed by politicians trying to de-escalate the situation. The Chinese have a political agenda that is made more urgent by saber rattling. They know Taiwan is still too sensitive a topic, so they will go after the territorial islands claimed by Japan and will end up pulling them into the PROC. The US will not risk a shooting war over these islands.

4. Any confrontation that escalates beyond skirmishes would be very unexpected and something would have had to go horribly wrong (i.e., a Chinese sub commander kills a US destroyer, etc.). Neither country wants to engage in a shooting war, but they will use whatever means is necessary to "prevent" a more destructive exchange. A "disabling blow" that is recoverable is viewed as more humane and tolerated on the world political stage as a means to quickly end a conflict. Either country could effect this by hitting industrial/manufacturing capability while avoiding extreme loss of life. Again, it's a stand off war. Think of tools to take down entire network grids and essentially disable computer based manufacturing for weeks or months. Or, if things really escalate, an enhanced EMP from a nuke detonated at the edge of space can do serious damage but pose no immediate loss of life on a grand scale. Politicians would claim, "It was our only option to end this without conventional or nuclear strikes".

5. Any "war" between the US and China will most likely be fought via currency policy and alliances with energy producing nation states. It wouldn't be too hard to isolate the US economy... but in doing so they'd be cutting off their own life blood. There are no gains a shooting war could procure that would not eventually be offset by completely crashing their own economy. The Chinese economy is far too interlinked with the US' to be severed via war. This is why I believe saber rattling followed by brief skirmishes will be the mainstay over the next several years, especially as disputed territories are worked out between Japan and China. They want to keep their economy stable, but expand their territory and sphere of influence at the same time.

If anything, countries have far more to fear from the US. China seems to have been the voice of reason over the past decade by staying out of conflicts, compared to the US going to war frequently (unjustly, in some cases). If China is ramping up their military and looking to solidify their territorial boundaries (both geographically and economics) then perhaps we in the US have rattled their cage by carrying out our own military campaigns under the leadership of our own Nobel Peace Prize winning president.

All, of course is only my opinion.

AlienEyes
Feb 6, 2014 - 3:02pm

Obama

The most scary part is that Obummer really IS that stupid.

He, among others, has a gangster mentality and a large following of certifiable idiots. Never forget, the more the rat bastards want your guns, the more you need them.

¤
Feb 6, 2014 - 3:12pm

China's Military Spending Versus...

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons China’s Military Spending VS Asia’s Military Spending

In 2013 China continued to widen the gap between its military spending and that of its neighbors.

By Zachary Keck

February 06, 2014

China continues to widen the gap between its military spending on the one hand, and that of its neighbors throughout Asia on the other, according to a new report by a prominent English think tank.

On Wednesday the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) released its annual Military Balance report, considered by many to be among the most authoritative unclassified estimates of global defense spending.

In line with past years, IISS concluded that the gap between Asian and Western military spending continued to narrow as Asia’s defense spending rose while most of the Western countries cut defense spending. “In Asia, the growth of defense budgets is accelerating and military procurements are rising,” IISS said in a press release. “The shift in the global distribution of military power towards Asia, highlighted by the IISS in recent years, has continued.”

In the report, IISS noted that real defense spending is not only on the rise in the Asia-Pacific, but its growth rate has been in accelerating in recent years. “In real terms, Asian defense spending in 2013 was 9.4 percent higher than it was in 2011,” the report said. It noted that this included a mere 2 percent rise in 2011, a 4.5 percent rise in 2012, and a 4.7 percent rise last year.

Although most countries in the region are spending more on defense, the report found that the growth in China’s defense spending far outpaces that of its neighbors in absolute terms. Indeed, growth in China’s military spending in 2013 accounted for 46 percent of the total growth in the entire region. Northeast Asia in general continues to dominate regional defense spending, accounting for nearly 64 percent of all defense spending in the region. Northeast Asia also accounted for 57 percent of the region’s real defense spending increases last year, despite Taiwan’s military spending actually contracting.

As a result of China’s robust increases in military spending, the gap between it and many of its neighbors in the Asia-Pacific continues to widen. As one observer noted in response to IISS’s new report, “China now spends around three times as much as India on defense, and more than neighbors Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam combined.”

Notably, China also spends far less on personnel as a percentage of its total budget than most of the other countries in the region. This means that more of China’s defense spending can go to other uses, such as procurement. Last year, IISS estimated that personnel costs accounted for just 30 percent of the People’s Liberation Army’s entire budget. By contrast, IISS estimates that personnel costs eat up 43 percent of Pakistan’s budget, 44 percent of Japan’s, and 45 percent of India’s military budget. In Afghanistan, personnel costs accounted for a whopping 85 percent of all defense spending.

The rapid rise in China’s military spending, combined with a more assertive diplomatic posture, are causing much greater concern throughout Asia. Interestingly, after years of largely downplaying or ignoring the implications of China’s military modernization, U.S. officials have been expressing ever-increasing alarm in recent weeks.

For example, in his annual testimony to the U.S. Congress this week, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that China has been “quite aggressive in asserting in what they see as their manifest destiny.” In his own appearance before Congress on Wednesday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel expressed particular alarm about China’s actions in the South China Sea.

“There is a growing concern that this pattern of behavior in the South China Sea reflects an incremental effort by China to assert control over the area contained in the so-called ‘nine-dash line,’ despite the objections of its neighbors and despite the lack of any explanation or apparent basis under international law regarding the scope of the claim itself. China’s lack of clarity with regard to its South China Sea claims has created uncertainty, insecurity and instability in the region,” Russel said.

Lawmakers in Congress have been equally concerned about China’s maritime disputes in the South and East China Sea as of late. After largely ignoring them for years, a number of Congressional committees and subcommittees have been holding meetings about the sovereignty disputes in Asia in which most lawmakers take a hard line on China.

Echoing Clapper’s remarks this week, the somewhat hawkish Senator John McCain (R-AZ) dismissed claims that China’s increasing assertiveness was motivated by national pride or the CCP’s internal politics and desire to increase its support among China’s populace. Rather, McCain argued: “This is a matter of a rising threat or challenge to peace and security in Asia because of the profound belief in the Chinese leadership that China must, and will, regain the dominant role that they had for a couple of thousand years in Asia.”

thediplomat.com

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