文摘:The Challenge From China

A Disgusting Cartoon About Earthquake: from cleveland.com

Disgusting Cartoon About Earthquake

 

 

The Challenge From China

By MARK HELPRIN May 13, 2008; Page A17 from Wall Street Journal

 

在这样的天灾之下,还是有“清醒”的美国人的,请看这位鬼子的表演。

 

Even as our hearts go out to the Chinese who have perished in the earthquake, we cannot lose sight of the fact that every day China is growing stronger. The rate and nature of its economic expansion, the character and patriotism of its youth, and its military and technical development present the United States with two essential challenges that we have failed to meet, even though they play to our traditional advantages.

 

The first of these challenges is economic, the second military. They are inextricably bound together, and if we do not attend to both we may eventually discover in a place above us a nation recently so impotent we cannot now convince ourselves to look at the blow it may strike. We may think we have troubles now, but imagine what they will be like were we to face an equal.

 

China has a vast internal market newly unified by modern transport and communications; a rapidly flowering technology; an irritable but highly capable workforce that as long as its standard of living improves is unlikely to push the country into paralyzing unrest; and a wider world, now freely accessible, that will buy anything it can make. China is threatened neither by Japan, Russia, India, nor the Western powers, as it was not that long ago. It has an immense talent for the utilization of capital, and in the free market is as agile as a cat.

 

Unlike the U.S., which governs itself almost unconsciously, reactively and primarily for the short term, China has plotted a long course, in which with great deliberation it joins economic growth to military power. Thirty years ago, in what may be called the “gift of the Meiji,” Deng Xiaoping transformed the Japanese slogan fukoku kyohei (rich country, strong arms) into China’s 16-Character Policy: “Combine the military and the civil; combine peace and war; give priority to military products; let the civil support the military.”

 

Japan was able to vault with preternatural speed into the first ranks of the great powers because it understood the relation of growth to military potential. A country with restrained population increases and a high rate of economic expansion can over time dramatically improve its material lot while simultaneously elevating military spending almost beyond belief. The crux is to raise per-capita income significantly enough that diversions for defense will go virtually unnoticed. China’s average annual growth of roughly 9% over the past 20 years has led to an absolute tenfold increase in per-capita GNP and 21-fold increase in purchasing-power-parity military expenditure. Though it could do more, it prudently limits defense spending, with an eye to both social stability – the compass of the Chinese leadership – and assimilable military modernization.

 

As we content ourselves with the fallacy that never again shall we have to fight large, technological opponents, China is transforming its forces into a full-spectrum military capable of major operations and remote power projection. Eventually the twain shall meet. By the same token, our sharp nuclear reductions and China’s acquisitions of ballistic-missile submarines and multiple-warhead mobile missiles will eventually come level. The China that has threatened to turn Los Angeles to cinder is arguably more cavalier about nuclear weapons than are we, and may find parity a stimulus to brinkmanship. Who will blink first, a Barack Obama (who even now blinks like Betty Boop) or a Hu Jintao?

 

Our reductions are not solely nuclear. Consider the F-22, the world’s most capable air dominance aircraft, for which the original call for 648 has been whittled to 183, leaving, after maintenance, training, and test, approximately 125 to cover the entire world. The same story is evident without relief throughout our diminished air echelons, shrinking fleets, damaged and depleted stocks, and ground forces turned from preparation for heavy battle to the work of a gendarmerie.

 

As the military is frustrated and worn down by a little war against a small enemy made terrible by the potential of weapons of mass destruction, the shift in the Pacific goes unaddressed as if it is unaddressable. But it is eminently addressable. We can, in fact, compete with China economically, deter it from a range of military options, protect our allies, and maintain a balance of power favorable to us.

 

In the past we have been able to outwit both more advanced industrial economies and those floating upon seas of cheap labor – by innovating and automating. Until China’s labor costs equal ours, the only way to compete with its manufactures is intensely to mechanize our own. Restriction of trade or waiting for equalization will only impoverish us as we fail to compete in world markets. The problem is cheap labor. The solution, therefore, is automation. Who speaks about this in the presidential campaign? The candidates prefer, rather, to whine and console.

 

We must revive our understanding of deterrence, the balance of power, and the military balance. In comparison with its recent history, American military potential is restrained. Were we to allot 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. During World War II we devoted up to 40% of GNP to this, and yet the economy expanded in real terms and Americans did not live like paupers.

 

The oceans have been our battlefields since the beginning; we invented powered flight; and our automobiles still await us on the surface of the moon – our métiers are the sea, air and space. Thus, we have been blessed by geography, for with the exception of South Korea our allies in the Pacific are islands. With Japan, Australasia, our own island territories, and Admiral Nimitz’s ocean, we can match and exceed indefinitely any development of Chinese strategic power – which, by definition, must take to the sea and air.

 

* * *

 

And there we will be, if we are wise, not with 280 ships but a thousand; not eleven carriers, or nine, but 40, not 183 F-22s, but a thousand; and so on. That is, the levels of military potential that traditional peacetime expenditures of GNP have provided, without strain, throughout most of our lives. As opposed either to ignominious defeat without war, or war with a rising power emboldened by our weakness and retirement, this would be infinitely cheaper.

 

And yet what candidate is alert to this? Who asserts that our sinews are still intact? That we can meet any challenge, especially when it can be answered with our historical strengths? That beneath a roiled surface is a power limitless yet fair, supple yet restrained? Who will speak of these things in time, and who will dare to awaken them?

 

Mr. Helprin, a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, is the author of, among other works, “Winter’s Tale” (Harcourt) and “A Soldier of the Great War” (Harcourt). This piece was adapted from a speech given at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

 

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One Response

  1. He is a notorious hawk. I am not surprised to see what he is saying. As long as these neocon or neo-neocon can sell war plans to Americans, they and their major sponsors – defense industry and oil industry will be very happy. From time to time these people always remind Americans to prepare for wars or exaggerate whatever they can claim as possible enemies.

    It’s sad that these people have already failed America. It looks like they are continuing to damage the country.

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