Opinion / Zhu Ping

Pentagon's PLA report waste of money

By Zhu Ping ( Updated: 2014-06-06 13:41

Isn't it a big waste of US tax payers' money that every year the Pentagon submits a similar report about the Chinese military to Congress?

On Thursday, the US Defense Department said in the annual report that China continues to modernize and improve its military capabilities, and is also preparing for contingencies in the South and East China seas, where China has increasingly tense territorial disputes with some neighbors.

Barely bringing anything new compared with previous reports, the 96-page report just trumped up the clichés of “China military threat theory”. It said Chinese military spending exceeded $145 billion last year as it advanced a program modernizing an arsenal of drones, warships, jets, missiles and cyber weapons, higher than the official figure of $119.5 billion.   

Pentagon's PLA report waste of money
China Military Watch

It's really hard for Uncle Sam to change the habit of lecturing others. Being the largest military power, the US spends far more than any other country, including China, on defense and security. The US' defense budget soared from $287 billion in 2001 to $600.4 billion last year.

Despite being fully aware of the huge gap between the two militaries, the military big brother insisted on accusing China of flexing its muscles. The reason is clear: the US government still bears the arduous task of budget cuts as the debt ceiling crisis is lingering in the shadows.

Therefore the Pentagon and the arms dealers have to secure budget and arms orders with the excuse of another “simulated rival” after the Iraq and Afghanistan wars end. That's why Uncle Sam meddles in the waters of the East and South China seas under the banner of “navigation freedom”, even though it's not a disputing party. It needs to create and maintain a certain degree of tension in the region, which is not only part of its strategy to keep a rising China in check, but also to guarantee interests of US big arms dealers.

Early this year, saying there is no longer need for a force to fight two wars, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed shrinking the US military's size down to pre-World War II levels to reduce spending without losing its worldwide presence. But the budget still vowed to secure money for crucial programs such as cyber warfare, a key to modern warfare.

All of these made it even more ridiculous when the annual Pentagon report renewed warnings about China's “offensive cyber capabilities”, days after the US “charged” five Chinese military officers of cyber intrusion. The US' hypocrisy was fully exposed that it tried to justify its global surveillance on one hand and condemn others' cyber hacking as illegal on the other.

Similarly on the drone programs, the US may steal a horse while China may not look over a hedge. The Pentagon report highlighted the test of PLA's new stealth drone Lijian in November last year, after four years in development. Previously the Pentagon had cautioned China's push "combines unlimited resources with technological awareness that might allow China to match or even outpace US spending on unmanned systems in the future."

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