Undoubtedly China Is Conducting Arms Race with USPosted: March 13, 2017
Whatever the defense budget that China has made public, China is conducting an arms race with the US. There is no doubt whatsoever about that.
We shall judge by what China is doing instead of what it is saying. Good relations with the US are very important for China’s economy as the US is China’s major trade partner. China certainly is not so stupid as to upset the US by declaring that it is conducting arms race with the US.
However, judging by China’s great efforts in developing top weapons such as hypersonic glide vehicles, scramjet engine, stealth fighter jets, etc., China is certainly conducting an arms race with the US in order to have the capabilities to defend itself against US attack.
In fact, if China had not developed such advanced weapons as aircraft killer ballistic and cruise missile and fleet of Type 022 stealth fast missile boats that can remain undetected by radar, sight and sound until they come close to their target, the US would have driven Chinese land reclamation ships away to stop China’s construction of artificial islands.
I had a post titled “Chinese Military’s Unlimited Budget” on March 10 as comment on SCMP’s report on March 9, 2017 titled “Is China avoiding arms race with US by setting ‘low-key’ defence budget?’.
In the report, SCMP quotes Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie as saying that the 7 per cent increase (in defense budget), which is the smallest annual increase since 2000, showed that ‘Beijing wants to clarify a long-standing misunderstanding’ at home and overseas that the PLA is in an arms race with the US.
Misunderstanding? No, not misunderstanding but reality. Li himself says, “The US wants to be the global police, but China just takes care of its peripheral security environment”. That determines that there is bound to be an arms race between them.
Being global police, the US wants to impose the Hague arbitration award on China to deprive it of all its historical right and interests in the South China Sea. That certainly damages China’s peripheral security environment that China has to take care of. China has to enhance its military capabilities to deal with the issue.
Therefore the misunderstanding at home and overseas is not about the existence of the arms race, which is a reality, but about China’s goal in its arms race with the US.
Previously the Soviet Union incurred heavy burden in conducting an arms race with the US for world hegemony, which perhaps caused its collapse. Since Soviet collapse, the US has been the sole hegemon in the world. However, in order to maintain its hegemony, it has become heavily in debts. Will China repeat Soviet and US failures? Chinese leaders are simply not so stupid. Their goals are to make all Chinese people moderately well-off by 2021 and turn China into a developed nation by 2049.
Therefore, China’s goal is entirely different from that of the US in conducting arms race with the US. The US wants to maintain its world hegemony while China only wants to grow strong enough militarily to deter US attack.
The situation is a little similar to the fairy tale of Snow White. Uncle Sam asks a mirror everyday who is the strongest in the world while Snow White’s step-mother asks who is the prettiest. When the step-mother learns that Snow White is prettier, she uses a poisoned apple to remove her, but when Uncle Sam hears that China will be stronger, he has no poisoned apple. Even if he has one, he is unable to make China eat it. He has first try to use aircraft carriers, then attack submarines and finally to spend billions of dollars to develop B-21 bombers to attack China.
For the US it is an arms race to get more advanced weapons to attack China while for China it is an arms race to develop weapons to resist US more advanced weapons of attack.
It is as stupid as Snow White’s step-mother, but China cannot help that.
Further comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2077391/china-avoiding-arms-race-us-setting-low-key-defence.