Don’t Forget China

Chinese military push missile at aircraft facility

We’re used to thinking of Islamofascism as a primary threat to United States security, and it certainly is. But the military build-up in China, as the United States reduces its military capacity to levels not seen since prior to World War II, presents a more traditional, and just as real, threat to the United States as well.

Investor’s Business Daily [ 1/29/15] reports:

A senior weapons developer tells Congress that Beijing’s massive defense buildup, emphasizing precision-guided and other advanced weapons, has placed the U.S. and its shrinking military at serious risk.

‘I am very concerned about the increasing risk of loss of U.S. military technological superiority,” Frank Kendall, deputy undersecretary for acquisition, said Wednesday. “We’re at risk, and the situation is getting worse.” He was testifying before the House Armed Services Committee at a hearing on the subject of defense and technological change.

“What I’m seeing,” he went on, “is foreign modernization, again particularly China’s, in a suite of capabilities that are intended, clearly to me at least, to defeat the American way of doing power projection, (the) American way of warfare when we fight in an expeditionary manner far from the United States.”

Examples of China’s arms buildup include: anti-satellite weapons; hypersonic glide vehicles; carrier-killer ballistic missiles;  and stealth fighters.

The article concludes, “China is once again embarked on a “Long March,” this time a military one, and with a determination that this century will not be an American one.”

For the most part, debate in recent years has consisted of whether we should engage in foreign wars in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. Some claim that it’s immoral to engage in war at all, while others argue that it’s not in the interest of the United States to wage such wars, especially when there’s no reliable endgame.

Overlooked in all this is the more basic need for self-defense. The most fundamental principle of security for any nation is the simplest one of all: Peace through strength. War is not always necessary, and in a best case war is not required at all. However, the only surefire way to gain or maintain national security is through a strong military arsenal. The stronger you are, the less likely you’ll be attacked.

It matters that China is gaining on, or even surpassing, the United States in military strength. China is still a dictatorship, and the United States is still a floundering free country. The defining essence of a dictatorship is the absence of freedom of speech. Citizens of the United States for the most part still enjoy this right; citizens of China do not, neither in principle nor in practice. China has no First Amendment to uphold or violate.

China is also a one-party government. Strictly speaking, it’s still a Communist monopoly. It’s not your granddaddy’s Communism, but it’s still not freedom, either. Unlike the Maoist Chinese Communists of the 1960s, who hated any notion or implication of capitalism, today’s Communist government permits imitation business enterprise. It only happens because the government allows it to happen. It can stop at any time, although that’s unlikely because these Communists — smarter than their grandfathers — understand that allowing for wealth creation permits the buildup of a military, and eventually sets the stage for military aggression, particularly in the context of a weakening United States. Those of us who look merely at the machinations of Chinese going through the motions of “free enterprise,” and conclude this is capitalism, are beyond foolish. None of it is grounded in private property rights, and none of it happens in a context where there’s free speech. Everything that happens in China happens only because the government permits it. Wealth production is ultimately for the sake of the government. That’s fascism, not capitalism.

Unlike genuinely capitalist and free societies, fascist nations naturally seek to be militarily aggressive. While this does not prove or guarantee that China will at some point strike the United States militarily, it certainly stands to reason that the weaker the United States becomes, the more vulnerable it will be not only to terrorism, but also military threats posed by an equal or greater superpower. Even if China didn’t exist, the United States makes itself a sitting duck by downsizing its defense and military to the levels Obama is taking it.

There are basically two ways for a nation to protect itself. One is a thriving economy. The other is a strong military arsenal, based not on aggression but on peace through strength. Pacifists insist that if you stop building weapons, war will go away. This is incredibly wrong. There will always be others who build weapons even if you don’t, and they almost certainly will attack if you give them no reason for pause. If the United States had never built up arms during the Cold War, Soviet Russia would have ultimately won, even if only by default.

Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have obviously been pointless. But this is no excuse for systematically degrading and downsizing the military, either. The first and primary way for a nation to secure itself is through a robust, thriving and free market economy. America’s economy is anemic. It never fully recovered from the last recession, and growth levels are not near what they could or should be. Government, instead of getting out of the way, has only strengthened its grip on the private sector since the recession of 2007-08.

Worst of all, more people are dependent on government insurance, food stamps, unemployment checks and all manner of government dependence-fostering programs than ever before. This is what passes for “economic recovery” in the eyes of the present political establishment and most of our media, but such self-deceit cannot make it so. While China would be a surmountable threat if the United States were a free market economy with a high GNP and low dependence of citizens on government, America has become much more vulnerable as it has morphed into a European style semi-socialist entitlement state.  There is no United States to rescue the United States from potential Chinese aggression, to say nothing of escalating Islamofascist aggression. Don’t think the Chinese — who are much more rational than the Muslim terrorists — don’t see this.

Nothing makes a nation safer or stronger than freedom. Economic freedom leads to the most robust and thriving economy possible, and must be part of the mix. It also means more money to fund a military for strictly defensive purposes.

Perhaps most importantly, free people care about their lives and have more “skin in the game” than anyone suffering under a dictatorship. The naive fools who think, “The Chinese are just like us, getting more capitalist all the time,” ignore the fact that the Chinese are not actually free to challenge or question their government. Even if the Chinese citizens are just like us and don’t want a war with the United States, this doesn’t mean their government won’t want one when their nuclear and military capability surpasses ours to a point where an attack (or any form of military aggression) seems credible.

Everything done over the Obama years, in particular, has been exactly wrong from the point of view of peace. Government should get out of the economy, private wealth should be permitted to increase, and the military should have the strongest defensive capability money can buy. Obama and his impotent Republican opposition have given us more government, more taxes, more regulation and socialism, greater debt and deficits, and less spending for military — even defensive military — than ever before. We could not have got it more wrong than we did.

Maybe Obama ended the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he has also downsized the military, further constrained the economy with government controls, and made more Americans permanent or semi-permanent wards of the government for various services. All this is financed at an incomprehensible level of debt (growing as we speak) and with no plan for repayment, and no discussion of the consequences of financing a massive entitlement state with such a debt.

Whatever you call this, it’s not economic strength. And without economic strength, there is no military strength. The Chinese are watching, and if you think they aren’t you haven’t learned a single lesson of world history.


Note: Sources on Department of Defense spending reductions: 2/23/14, 2/24/14, 1/27/15]

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