China ups military spending by 12 percent. Are the gloves coming off?

1) The exchange rate between the yuan and US Dollar is sizeable – 6.12 yuan per US Dollar at this very moment.

2) The PLA doesn’t have the same overhead costs, as servicemen are paid peanuts compared to their American counterparts.

3) Screws, bolts and other similar parts do not cost $25 each after everyone gets their pockets lined.

The moral of this story: Don’t ever let anyone use the “But the Chinese costs are only 0.00001% of what America spends!” argument. They’re absolutely clueless, haven’t done their homework, and are the exact reason why one day the United States will get hit with One Clenched Fist.

The Chinese threat (as well as the Russian) is real and becoming more dangerous each day. Combine this with the US un-intelligence community not even knowing what their enemies are up to and, Houston, we have a problem.

The sword is coming.

China made headlines today with its annual military budget, up 12.2 percent to $132 billion dollars this year. That’s about one quarter of the $495 billion military budget that President Obama presented to Congress yesterday.

Predictably, official commentary here stresses that China is a peace-loving nation with no aggressive intentions. But Beijing has also signaled its ambitions to be the power that holds the ring in the western Pacific, and those ambitions have been spelled out, arguably clearer than ever before, in a direct challenge to US military preeminence.

China needs a powerful military, explained Fu Ying, spokeswoman for the National People’s Congress, on Tuesday because “if some country provokes or undermines consensus or even damages peace and order in the region, then China must respond effectively.” 

Not that the Chinese military is as powerful as America’s. Beijing may have the world’s second largest military budget after Washington’s, but its armed forces are still hundreds of billions of dollars and years, if not decades, behind US forces. As a proportion of GDP, China spends half as much as America: two percent of GDP in 2012 compared to four percent of US output, according to the World Bank.

Still, China has launched its first aircraft carrier, tested two models of stealth fighter planes, and recently deployed an anti-ship ballistic missile that some analysts see as a potential threat to US vessels in the Pacific. Governments in the region and beyond have expressed concern over how Beijing is allocating its extra military funding.

“We remain concerned about a lack of transparency regarding China’s growing military and its increasingly assertive behavior in the maritime domain,” said David Helvey, US deputy assistant secretary of defense, in testimony to a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday.

Foreign governments are not necessarily convinced by China’s insistence on its peaceful intentions in light of an increasingly assertive stance on maritime issues backed up by an ever expanding navy.

Full article: China ups military spending by 12 percent. Are the gloves coming off? (Christian Science Monitor)

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