DefenseNews (subscription required) notes this week that the draft Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) had some language about China that some government officials (perhaps in the State Dept) found unnecessarily provocative. Because the United States and China are so "economically intertwined," the decision was to excise the offending material.
Both versions contain this passage: "The United States welcomes a strong, prosperous, and successful China that plays a greater global role."
But the draft version goes on to include the following paragraph, which was stripped from the final QDR: "However, that future is not fixed, and while the United States will seek to maximize positive outcomes and the common benefits that can accrue from cooperation, prudence requires that the United States balance against the possibility that cooperative approaches may fail to prevent disruptive competition and conflict."
"Over the past ten years, for example, China has fielded more than one thousand short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, advanced attack submarines armed with wake-homing torpedos, increasingly lethal integrated air defense systems, extensive electronic warfare and computer network attack capabilities, and counter-space systems," the draft says.
Later in this week's publication, DefenseNews has a full-page article on China's evolving cyber-warfare capabilities. No doubt that China's serious about developing offensive computer warfare capabilities. I'm a little disappointed (again) with the DOD QDR writers that they could not figure out a way to note these concerns without wimping out because that China's got its hands firmly on our economic purse. We should note where regional superpowers have been working to modernize their capabilities. To keep this in perspective, though, it's still true that China's military investments amount to less than a tenth of ours. In fact, I think we ought to study China's military investments so that we can convince Congress that our overly wasteful and immense defense budget could be trimmed down considerably.
This week's DefenseNews also features a breakout of the DOD FY11 proposed budget, which, at $725 billion, is nearly double what it was in 2001 ($335 billion). As the articles discuss the next-generation fighters and bombers, the new helicopter purchases, the continued cost increases in major defense programs, you just have to ask - if other nations are able to modernize their forces in specific areas that are aimed at adversarial military force weaknesses, why don't we do that? Why continue the reckless spendthrift approach that so characterized the Bush administration?
Oh, I forgot. The Dems are afraid that they'll be called out as "weaklings." That, and the fact that the Republicans continue to stop any legislation from passing through their ridiculous "closure" process. What a great business we're in.