Fred Kaplan has a good piece in Slate on the role the China threat plays in American defense politics:
Every day and night,
hundreds of Air Force generals and Navy admirals must thank their lucky
stars for China. Without the specter of a rising Chinese military,
there would be no rationale for such a large fleet of American nuclear
submarines and aircraft carriers, or for a new generation of stealth
combat fightersÂ—no rationale for about a quarter of the Pentagon’s
budget. In Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s Quadrennial Defense Review,
released this past February, the looming Chinese threat is the explicit
justification for all the big-ticket weapons systems that have nothing
to do with fighting terrorists or insurgents.
Read the whole thing for an assesment of China’s true capabilities. Even more important is that rich, capitalist nations are much less dangerous than poor, communist nations. Consider how well China has treated Hong Kong. Moreover, democracy will not be long in coming to China.
Thanks to Fred Hamden for the pointer.