• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: China's Military Rising

    In early January, President Barack Obama traveled across the Potomac River to the Pentagon and joined Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to discuss his Administration’s military strategy, promising that he would keep America’s fighting forces the best-trained, best-led, best-equipped military in history. Unfortunately, he’s not keeping that promise, and meanwhile, China’s military is growing by leaps and bounds.

    China announced this week that its new defense budget would total approximately $106 billion — an 11.2 percent increase over its previous budget. That’s on top of last year’s 12.7 percent increase, making China’s defense spending larger than that of all other Asian nations combined. Heritage’s Dean Cheng writes that those figures are “a sobering statistic when one considers that this includes the world’s third-largest economy (Japan) and North and South Korea, which remain locked in a Cold War-era standoff.”

    While China’s military is growing, America’s is shrinking. Under President Obama’s budget, the U.S. military will shrink dramatically, and the President makes defense the lowest budget priority among the major categories of spending in the federal budget. All told, the President would slash military spending by $487 billion over 10 years — and that’s on top of the $500 billion in cuts ushered in by the sequestration process under the Budget Control Act. The effect of all those cuts? A military that is woefully unprepared to execute its constitutional duty to protect America. As Heritage’s Baker Spring described it, “The combination of the budget request and the Budget Control Act of 2011 would reduce the military’s personnel levels and force structure to the point that they could no longer protect U.S. vital interests and keep U.S. security commitments around the world.”

    As a practical matter, those cuts will result in a military that has drastically reduced capabilities, the curtailment of advancements in weapons systems like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, a reduction in U.S. forces by 72,000 soldiers in the Army (13 percent), 20,000 in the Marines (10 percent), an elimination of brigade combat teams and Air Force tactical fighter and training squadrons, a retirement of ships in the Navy and a slow acquisition of new ones, and an abandonment of a robust nuclear deterrent.

    In selling this new way in the military, the President noted that U.S. forces would pivot toward combating emerging forces in the Asia Pacific, promising that “budget reductions will not come at the expense of that critical region.” That pivot, though, did not come with an attendant reallocation of resources to Asia. Meanwhile, China is stepping up its efforts to dramatically increase its military spending, thereby empowering it to project even more influence in the region.

    Though China’s increase in defense spending should not be alarming in and of itself, Cheng points out that there is an important distinction with its military buildup. Whereas the United States has global obligations in maintaining international order and sustaining trade, China’s efforts are centered primarily on countering U.S. influence:

    Thus, China can asymmetrically commit its resources against only a portion of the U.S. military and, in the event of a crisis, would likely try to defeat the U.S. in detail.

    What should be of concern, then, is that the Chinese Communist Party appears to be increasingly asserting itself against its neighbors, whether it is expanding its forces opposite Taiwan or making claims of sovereignty over the South and East China Seas. In this regard, the People’s Liberation Army is a tool, rather than the agent, for China’s growing antagonism with so many of its neighbors.

    All in all, China’s actions should be a cause for concern, particularly given the United States’ interests and alliances in the region. While China is rising and its military is growing stronger, the Obama Administration is hamstringing America’s forces, voluntarily demoting the military’s importance in the budget and degrading its capabilities to that of a hollow force, unable to meet its global obligations. A strong military inspires respect abroad, while a weak one invites aggression. If America is to secure its independence, it must maintain a military capable of keeping that promise.

    Click here to view this post in Spanish at Libertad.org.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    40 Responses to Morning Bell: China's Military Rising

    1. Dr. Henry Sinopoli says:

      Rome burns while our fearless golfer Boehner and the Republican and Democrat lifers play golf & Heritage dines with them…

      We know this comment will never see the light of day…

    2. JOHN PAUL JONES says:

      This is the same plan that FDR had in 1932 which led to the USA being ill prepared for WW2. BUT we will not have the luxury of time or distance in the future.

      • car says:

        maybe you dom't remember the great depression. you have to save some in order to spend some.

    3. Dan Sweet says:

      Nothing changes with the Left. Has anyone in the State department or these elite colleges
      ever read a history book and understood it? NO. They are blinded by there flawed ideology.
      I am hopfull the balance of power will change. I do not want my grand children to speak

      • Shoaling. Lin says:

        This is a strange way to put it, because the balance of power is havily in favor of the united states. So if you don't want your grand children to speak Chinese, you should hope to keep the way the power of balance is.

      • Chinese Power says:

        NO your grand children will not necessarily speak chinese but they have to like and be like Chinese .

    4. haroldson says:

      seems to me every one should by no know Barrack Obama is a lot better at lying then at running this country, So why do people act surprised when he is caught in one

    5. Carol says:

      Mr. B HO never keeps his promises. All he does, and he does do plenty, is any thing that will help to destroy America. There is no telling just how far-reaching, once gone, the ripple effect this evil man will have on History and America. Evil is as evil does and he does plenty. "How to catch a wild pig" Told by Lowell E. Hedges. This is what the communists do and what the Democrats are doing. If you want the Government to pay for everything and you are willing to give up your Freedom for that then you will get what you deserve.

    6. toledofan says:

      Just like Israel is the major bastion of freedom in the middle east, we, America, are the bastion of freedom for the world. What is clear is that as much as we are envied, we are hated as well. So, until we finally develop a national defense stategy that fits into this century and continues to maintain a safe level of manpower, technology and a stable and up to date air force and navy, we will continue to be bullied, pushed around or even attacked. I think that's why the democrats can't be trusted with managing the military, they see it as a place to go to get more money for implementing more socail programs.

      • pink23 says:

        How much money is spent on the political campaign"s? That alone would be enough to keep our military force maintained,also cut their salary by half I bet they would find it in the budget then.

    7. Maine Coon Lover says:

      The best solution for the US in this circumstance is to defeat Obama in November and attempt to try to un-do the disaster he's created in this country. Military funding is the LAST thing that should be cut from our budget!! Once again,we have a wimp in the White House and not enough $$ invested to protect ourselves. Cut entitlement spending,slash welfare,put a cap on the length of time unemployment checks are given and require drug tests and create jobs by opening up off-shore drilling and the Keystone Pipeline. That would just be a start.

    8. Norris says:

      Unfortunately, this president is abdicating his reponsibility to and the defense of this country. The growing threat of Chinese military growth as well as demonstrating weakness and lack of will toward radical Islam is hardly in our best interest. His policies–or those of his clones in the administration–are bringing the United States to Europe's economic level. All of these reductions simply invite more and more incidents against our national interests. Does this not reflect in the iincrease of gun sales to citizens who are concerned, not for revolution, but for the defense of one's property and family. This must come to a halt in November 2012. Turning this nation around will take far longer than the three years of economic and military damage we have just witnessed.

    9. Bill says:

      I do not have the facts, but I suspect we are paying enough interest to China on an annual basis to support their entire military budget.




    11. Pete says:

      If China budget is 108B per year and we are cutting a 500B and 498B out of the next 10 years, that is nearly the same as our budget cut per year.

    12. Allyson Forman says:

      Just so you know, if it weren't for Rush Limbaugh I would not be supporting you.

    13. RG Schmidt says:

      Once again I have to ask who cares what the president–any president–wants in the budget. The Constitution is quite clear on where spending is to be controlled, and it's past time for the House to put on its big-boy underwear and tell the Executive Branch to mind its own Constitutional business. He can suggest all he wants, but it's up to the House to decide how much to allocate, and for what, including military spending. Let him veto the spending bill (if the Senate ever passes one), and explain his reasons to the American public.

    14. woodie kirkwood says:

      Don't worry about China, Just stay away from thier borderes. The U.S. should know that from the Korean War. China does not have their military all over the world and they do not wish too.

      • ThoomNJ says:

        Somewhat but not exactly woodie – the Chinese have been pushing out into other regions and coutnries over time – it is just rarely reported. An example is that they claim the Spratly Islands as theirs (because of the likely oil deposits), but if you look at the location of these islands, one can understand why the Philippines is a bit miffed about that claim – they are the closest to the Spratlys and have claimed them for quite a long time. The next closest country is Vietnam…and surprise, they also lay claim to them.

    15. Jim P. says:

      Once again the glib Prezbo says one thing and does another. And the lamestream media ignores the reality, they believe what he says and passes it along to the masses as the "truth" rather than calling him to task. thanks to HF for alerting us to the real story behind the curtain.

    16. W Baldwin says:

      It's unfortunate to think that our military now fights wars that they cannot win. It began in Vietnam and in more recent years has spread to the battles we've fought and are still fighting in the Middle East.

      Look at Iraq. The president proclaimed it a done deal and we withdrew our troops. Yet we never fully cured the cancer that exists within. Suicide bombings, the continued threat of an Iran invasion and other acts of terrorism still prevail. Such activity will surely increase in magnitude over the coming months and years. It was and still is a battle we cannot stop or fully control. The story and conditions are similar for Afghanistan.

      Certainly China knows this. And certainly it is their ultimate intent to dominate not only the United States, but the world in general. More than 30 years ago, long before China emerged as an economic and military giant, there was an expression that was often quoted; "Beware of the sleeping dragon", a reference to China. That dragon has now been roused from slumber and is beginning to breathe the fire. We should not only be alarmed, but well prepared for what lies ahead.

    17. Dorothy Callicotte says:

      Just think every time we have to purchase something made in China we are helping them and all the businesses from the United States are also helping them.

    18. Danny says:

      After reading today's Morning Bell, I am moved to share some information from long ago.
      There is a prophecy which recounts a war between the US and allies and the rest of the world. A conflict with Russia, China and probably Arab nations. It goes on to say that the US is pressed very hard, a dark day, to the point of loosing the conflict. The saving grace is when Russia changes sides!
      I am watching how Russia is progressing, its people once having the taste of freedoms and now suppressed under Putin.
      China building an army. Iran and Israel.
      Obama weakening the US and tearing down the military.
      All of these barometers setting the stage. I think that Russia wakes up and realizes that if they win the war they will become an Arab nation under Arab rule -and they will say, we don't want that!

    19. George S. S. Jr. says:

      So do we raise taxes (on the rich) to maintain a styronger Military?

    20. Feng says:

      This is really non-factual. Dean Cheng has no credibility. There is no way China's defense budget is larger than the rest of Asian combined. India + Japan alone would surpass China. There is a reason the Chinese budget goes up whereas the American one goes down. China does not have nearly the budgetary crisis that America has right now. Its economy has been averaging close to 10% growth every year. At this point, China still spends far less than America on defense when you look at it as a % of GDP.

    21. China is imperialist and colonialist and has been for 3000 years. At one time they had Iran in their grasp. Empires come and go. Worthy military forces on our part are absolutely necessary to thwart the PLA drive. Economy now invites war later. There is your choice, blood or dollars. We have some fantastic equipment awaiting funds.

    22. ThomNJ says:

      Just more treachery from the communist infiltrator in the Whitehouse….

    23. We cannot afford to be the military force that is supposed to take care of the world's problems and be the world's peace keeper. We can only be the beacon of freedom and liberty in the world. If the people and governments of other countries want our freedoms and liberties they must do what we did to gain those freedoms. We can help them help themselves but we cannot afford to just give them military support and aid with no sign of responsibility from their side. "If you want to win the world you will not do so by meddling with it". "If you meddle with it you will lose it". This phrase was written some four to six thousand years BC.

    24. Gilbert Doan says:

      But – but – but —he SAID it, didn't it?

      Doesn't that mean it HAS to be true?

    25. belleboy says:

      Obama's record and goals are quite clear: This faux President is inherently a Marxist-Socialist who will use everything at his disposal as President to destroy our American culture, economy, and defense.
      He must at all costs be defeated next November.

    26. Ann Wilson Kingsley says:

      Better to stand behind Ron Paul for president in 2012, so that the military cuts are made in the appropriate places. Ron Paul is for Military Research and Development and state of the art hardware. He wants to discontinuing obsolete hardware and bases. The U.S. has 45 military bases surrounding Iran, and we just gave Israel a new Missile Defense System. http://hellaheaven-ana.blogspot.com/2012/02/ww3-s… Americans need to get a brilliant Pro-American candidate Fiscal and Economic Conservative into the presidency, not an untrustworthy Anti-American president like Obama. Ron Paul is the tried and true honest red-blooded American who understands how to handle military spending cuts that will continue U.S. Superiority.

    27. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      China's a potential military threat.

    28. Carl Nelson says:


    29. Susanne says:

      We are sending billions and billions of our hard earned dollars overses to various dictators and scoundrels while cutting benefits to our children and elderly! We need to stop doing that, and keep the money here where it is desperately needed!

    30. Tim says:

      While USA account for 50% of the World Total Military expenditure, I never see you complaining.

    31. edree says:

      Let's see: China is increasing military by 12.7%, Iran is going nuclear, Nuclear Pakistan is unstable, North Korea IS nuclear, and the middle east is becoming a US hating Muslim Caliphate. Obamais leading the US to a secure future by cutting military forces and wepons development. Ok, I get it now, thanks.

    32. @Biosuit says:

      ooooooooo 11%, somebody call washington!!!!!!!!! Our military budget is still only 6 times larger, aaahhhhhh!!!!!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.