SHORTER Bob Kagan: "Obama's being a pussy about confronting China's massive military build-up."
China's defense budget in 2008 was $57 billion, or just under one-tenth of the US defense budget. In 2009, China will spend around $70 billion - or just over one-tenth of the US defense budget. It's a funny thing, Bob - when nation-states have a booming economy and a large geographical area with lots of well-armed neighbors, they tend to buy more weapon systems (the US government being the exception, we buy more weapons whether or not the economy is good). Neocons view this as "threatening" and want to negotiate over the barrel of a gun. Realists understand it as a natural progression of an evolving superpower and want to negotiate as a potential partner.