You see - if you listen to Midrats, you're years ahead of everyone else!
Quite a few of you sent me a copy of the latest on China from the Project 2049 Institute. Over at FP, James Traub has an interesting overview of their latest called, "Asian Alliances in the 21st Century."
They bring up a subject we also touched on during Midrats Episode 12 with Dr. Donald Henry and Dr. Dr. James Kraska, and Episode 55 with United States Naval War College Associate Professors Toshi Yoshihara & James R. Holmes that is worth a listen. Here it is; Does that contain China - or does that make her feel surrounded by a hostile alliance? That is the question.
We need a clear headed and realistic view of China as she grows stronger, richer, and then older; no too negative and not too hopeful. We also need to be clear headed and realistic about our own abilities as we try to claw ourselves out of the debt of the last few years. From Traub;
The costs for the United States would be greater still. The "Asian Alliances" report accuses the United States of courting "strategic insolvency" and proposes investments in vast amounts of new weaponry. In a congressional briefing, Blumenthal specified the hardware: "a next-generation bomber; large numbers of attack submarines (SSNs); a sizeable fifth-generation tactical aircraft fleet" and on and on and on.Ponder.
That sounds costly, no? Mitt Romney, who never loses an opportunity to talk up the threat from China, not to mention Russia, would peg defense spending at 4 percent of GDP -- $600 billion, or $70 billion more than the current total, which of course would necessitate equivalent cuts elsewhere to make up the difference. Or perhaps voters should accept that national insolvency is a price worth paying in order to address strategic insolvency. Or of course we could Lose China again. Or risk the Big One.
Americans are, understandably, much too obsessed with the economy right now to spare a thought for national security. But the debate is waiting in the wings. The threat of terrorist attack is very real, but diminishing. Al Qaeda is not the national nightmare it once was. Are Americans going to replace it with a new nightmare -- or rather, a recycled one from the depths of the Cold War? I certainly hope not. China's regional ambitions do need to be checked. But if America bankrupts itself in the process, we'll win the battle and lose the war.
I'm just happy that more and more this conversation is taking place.