Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Helprin on Remaining a Great Power

No regular post today, because of other business. However, a post from me is not needed, because Mark Helprin has written a splendid piece in the Wall Street Journal on the great power implications of the rise of China and what it means to us; and how America should respond to maintain its own position.
"The Challenge From China" tracks El Jefe's thinking in virtually every particular. In particular, Mr. Helprin argues for a vast increase in our defense budget, and maintains that we can afford it:
We must revive our understanding of deterrence, the balance of power, and the military balance. In comparison with our recnt history, American military potential is restrained. Were we to allocate the average of 5.7% of GNP that we devoted annually to defense in peacetime from 1940-2000, we would have as a matter of course $800 billion each year with which to develop and sustain armies and fleets. . .(emphasis in the original).
For comparison, the US military budget for FY 2007 was about $450 billion (depending on how you crunch the numbers). Spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (funded through special legislation, not through the regular budget process) was about $170 billion in 2007.
Read the whole thing.


louielouie said...

regarding dealing with china, this is the first sentence in an article from strategy page:

Russia is getting more and more upset at what it sees as Chinese making unauthorized use of Russian military technology. The latest irritation is the new Chinese diesel electric sub design, the Type 39A, or Yuan class.

this is the last sentence in the article:

The Russian sub building organizations are not amused, and are warning China of legal action if Yuans are offered for export (and in direct completion with the Kilos.)

now i am quite sure that the chinese are just shaking in their boots, or sandals, or whatever.
if on the other hand, the chinese were to see EJM I heading their way, briefcase in hand, i'm sure they would take pause. this of course would put EJM I on the side of the rueskies, and, well, i think a conflict would soon be brewing. given EJM I capitalist tendencies.
the bush/clinton/bush administrations have built the chinese economy. they have to do something with all that yankee money they are making. surely they would not bite the hand that has fed them.

El Jefe Maximo said...

Yeah, quaking in their boots, no doubt. I'm sure they're in a cold sweat at night, worried about EJM I and his briefcase. Actually, my "capitalist tendencies" as you put them tend to go right out the hatch when it comes to matters like submarines, aircraft carriers and situations geopolitical.

I'm sure the Chinese, and the PLAN are really sweating Moo Goo Gai Pan about the Russkies taking legal action about those license infringements. Actually, I bet John Chinaman's version of the Kilos has more bells and whistles than the Russian version, these days.

Still I don't suppose they'd want to hack off the Russians too much, lest they not get new toys to copy and improve. The Russians do make some very nice stuff.

I've wanted to cozy up to the Russkies for years because I'm worried about the Chinese. All that poppycock the Washington types put out about managing (i.e. enduring) China's "peaceful rise" is just that, a lot of poppycock.

I haven't been a fan of President Bush's policies towards Russia because they have tended to drive the Russians and Chinese together. That might have happened anyway, for a lot of reasons, but China is going to be bad, bad trouble for us, long run, I think. Ditto the Euros -- at least the continental ones. I have wanted to see us try to get Russia, Japan and India onside for a long time, and move away from NATO (except for Britain).

Americaneocon said...

Helprin's great, but I'm just not as worried as he is about China.

I wrote about China this week, with this quote from Joseph Joffe:

"China’s (nominal) G.D.P. is about $3 trillion, while America’s is $14 trillion. Assume indefinite Chinese growth of 7 percent. That will double G.D.P. to $6 trillion in 10 years and double it again to $12 trillion by 2028. Assume now that the United States will grow at its historical rate of 3.5 percent. By 2028, G.D.P. will measure $28 trillion. This is a silly game, but no more inane than those projections that see China overtaking the United States as early as 2020."

Good stuff, in any case. Keep the posts coming!

louielouie said...

with all due respect to mr. joffe, whom i'm sure is much smarter than LL, i think the fallacy in mr. joffe's position is that the chinese are not concerned with 2020, 2028, 2040, or 2050.
if i may digress, the mongols have never forgiven the japanese for the weather thwarting their invasion in 1290. the japanese employed this devine wind theology over 600 years later in a similar conflict with the USA. what i'm saying and i think el jefe is also saying is long term.
i think mr. joffe is short sighted if he stops sooner than 2050 in his projections, and i'm not talking strictly business either. the chinese want payback for WWII japanese occupation, and as soon as they can run the US out of the region, it will happen. just trade a little slave labor to american industrialists and the US will look the other way while the chinese change all the alphabets in the region.
by this time obama will be on his second 8 year stint as president. and the thought of standing up to the chinese for something like freedom of speech will be laughable.

afterall, we'll be pushing up daisies by then?
who will care about what happens then?
the chinese.

Anonymous said...

I'm still wondering if "shaking in their boots" is some kind of sick joke considering China's recent earthquake woes.

At any rate, I no likey China and I worry about them plenty. Their inreased rate of defense spending and their blue-water navy pursuit is scary. They can wreak havoc on world markets with a flick of the wrist (look at all the economies that they can quickly effect: Japan, S. Korea, Taiwan, their own...).

BUT, they are not without their problems. I just have this creeping feeling that they have a budding middle class that's going to start making demands pretty soon, let alone those pesky peasants. I see a social crisis coming soon. We'll see if the Chinese gov is ready to bring the smackdown again.

As far as the Russians go: what a pitiful cough of an effort. Basically, they're complaining about copyright infringement. Man, when bears fall, they fall hard. Then again, have you seen a pirated Chinese movie? That's one sub I wouldn't want to ride in.