[Allan Topol / AllanTopol.Com]
Lightning paced thriller writer
of International Intrigue
National Bestselling Author

China's Military Expansion
by Allan Topol, [IMAGE]2011


Photo Courtesy: Julie Zitin
[Allan Topol / AllanTopol.Com] In the last decade, China has undertaken a phenomenal military expansion, with military budget increases exceeding twelve percent a year. But expenditures only tell part of the story.

The Chinese have developed cutting-edge, high-tech weapons to rival those of the United States. For example, the Chinese Air Force has created a stealth jet, the J-20, to rival the U.S.'s F-22 Raptor, the world's only operational stealth fighter. Larger than the F-22 and with bigger fuel tanks, it will fly higher, faster, and with less chance of detection. In a bold in-your-face move, the Chinese chose to debut their stealth jet last January when then U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates was in Beijing.

The J-20 is part of a Chinese Air Force arsenal which has added hundreds of fighter jets comparable to the U.S. F-15s and F-16s. The Chinese have also created sophisticated missiles with a 900-mile range to hit ships in the Pacific. Those are no doubt intended for the United States.

At the same time, the Chinese have flexed their Naval muscles, they have launched their first-ever air craft carrier. They now have more warships than their neighbors and as many attack submarines as the U.S. In terms of inactive duty forces, the Chinese have 2.29 million versus 1.56 for the U.S.

Chinese spokesmen regularly state that this build-up is for purely defensive purposes. "China never intends to threaten any nation and we do not wish to challenge the United States" is an often repeated refrain.

However, facts on the ground tell a different story. The Chinese are already using their enhanced military to create tensions in Asia with American allies. Acting like schoolyard bullies, the Chinese have destroyed equipment and interfered with oil and gas exploration by Vietnam and the Philippines, in waters not belonging to China. They have interfered with Japanese fishing and navigation. They have threatened Taiwan. And they seem poised to do battle with India over border issues.

All of these situations, and many other scenarios, create a risk that the United Sates will be drawn into a war with China. In my new novel, The China Gambit, I deal with one such scenario when a Chinese General develops a plan to cut off the flow of imported oil to the United States.

The question confronting decision makers in the Obama Administration and the Pentagon is how to respond to this huge Chinese military expansion and to China's willingness to use its new might.

One essential response is for the U.S.to develop and refine weapons which will be able to neutralize those of China. For example, the largest threat facing the U.S. is that China will create weapons that would essentially block the United States from acting in the region, such as long-range missiles which could destroy a U.S. aircraft carrier at sea. The U.S. carrier force is the backbone of our mobile military, allowing U.S. attack jets to operate anywhere in the Pacific. Chinese long-range missiles could also target American bases in Guam.

The development and refinement of technology to thwart these long-range missiles is critical. Unfortunately, weapons developments and military realignment cost money. Here, the United States is at a distinct disadvantage.

Beginning with Mao, China's autocratic rulers have expended as much as they want for their military regardless of the poverty, misery, or depravation it has caused the Chinese people.

At the same time, we in the United States are struggling with major financial issues and a dysfunctional political system. The threat of large-scale blanket cuts to the U.S. defense budget looms on the horizon, right when we need the money to respond to the Chinese threat.

Hopefully, in the weeks ahead, some sanity will come to our leadership in Washington, and the defense budget will be maintained at a level required to stand up to China.