Good News – Neither the USA or China have global military dominance as a top priority

Pjmedia discusses the book Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?”

Graham Allison’s much-heralded new book warns that China’s challenge to American strategic dominance sets us on a path to war. He calls this peril the “Thucydides Trap,” because he claims that it is similar to other great-power conflicts in history, above all Athens’ challenge to Sparta before the Peloponnesian War in 431-404 B.C. Expanding on a 2015 Atlantic essay admonishing American planners to avert a looming war with China, Destined for War urges Americans to accept China as a great power.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster distributed a dozen copies of Allison’s book to senior National Security Council staff earlier this year.

The Thucydides Trap thus demarcates a crucial turn in the thinking of America’s foreign policy Establishment. Through most of the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, conventional thinking held that America would promulgate the liberal international order in the Middle East and elsewhere, while China would struggle with the internal weaknesses inherent in a dictatorial regime.

Allison says China’s economy will continue to grow in breadth and depth to challenge America and America must accept it.

Allison notes that China’s economy has soared on a purchasing power parity basis from 10 percent the size of the US to 60 percent in 2007, 100 percent in 2014, and 115 percent today.

Nextbigfuture feels the good news is that neither the USA or China have global military dominance as a top priority

Those within China’s military and the US military have a similarity to Moriarty in the second Robert Downey Jr Sherlock Holmes movie.

Moriarty – War in an industrial scale is inevitable; they’ll do it themselves within a few years. All I want to do is to own the bullets and the bandages.

I will discuss the non-global military focus of the USA and China. Fortunately peacetime and small wars are safer and more profitable than an actual major war.

The top priority of China’s military is party loyalty. The number one task is to maintain order within China and to keep Xi Jinping and the communist party in power.

Xi recently said “The military should be ­“unswervingly loyal” to the ruling Communist Party and “extend the battleground to wherever the party points ­towards”.”

In 2016, the People’s Liberation Army and the nation’s armed police are set to stop providing all paid services in a move to curb corruption and make the army more loyal and focused on combat. The reform, first announced by President Xi Jinping in November, is expected to be completed in three years, according to a recently released document by the Central Military Commission, the army’s official newspaper PLA Daily reported.

So IF this program succeeds then China’s military is to get out of the for profit businesses they have set up by around 2020.

The cut will end the military’s decades-long participation in business, marking the further modernization of the PLA and following the practice of most developed countries of banning their armed forces developing commercial interests, said Wu Ge, a Beijing-based military commentator.

Former president Jiang Zemin ordered a ban on military business operations in 1998, but paid services were allowed to support military spending and train technicians. In recent years, the provision of paid services had become a source of “regulation violation and corruption”, necessitating the ban, it said.

Some paid services offered by the military included health care and construction projects. Wu said banning such services would hurt the interest of many officers, who relied on them as a source of grey income.

China has no experience whatsoever in modern war. Its last experience of armed conflict was in 1979 when it abysmally failed to teach Vietnam a so-called ‘lesson’. Border scuffles with India and the USSR in the 1960s and sending peasant armies into the Korean War in the 1950s scarcely rate as modern combat.

At one military exercise in the summer of 2012, a strategic PLA unit, stressed out by the hard work of handling warheads in an underground bunker complex, actually had to take time out of a 15-day wartime simulation for movie nights and karaoke parties. In fact, by day nine of the exercise, a “cultural performance troupe” (common PLA euphemism for song-and-dance girls) had to be brought into the otherwise sealed facility to entertain the homesick soldiers.

Apparently becoming suspicious that men might not have the emotional fortitude to hack it in high-pressure situations, an experimental all-female unit was then brought in for the 2013 iteration of the war games, held in May, for an abbreviated 72-hour trial run. Unfortunately for the PLA, the results were even worse. By the end of the second day of the exercise, the hardened tunnel facility’s psychological counseling office was overrun with patients, many reportedly too upset to eat and one even suffering with severe nausea because of the unpleasant conditions.

US is the dominant Global Military power but is not really serious about it

A Navy investigation concluded that recent fatal collisions with commercial shipping was because of incompetence and lack of training. The Navy chose to handle budget limitations by reducing training and maintenance instead of procurement.

The US has been constantly involved in many small wars, but the Pentagon and Congress does not view them as serious or major wars or they have not had official war declarations and have not elevated any general to five star.

The Army rank of 5 Star General is only specifically handed out at wartime during the most extreme of circumstances as it was during both World War 2 and the Korean War (their awarding date follows their name). The last Five-Star rank was held by General Omar Bradley until his death in 1981. Bradley became five star Dec 20, 1950.

The evidence for higher importance being placed on the military industrial complex is the hundreds of billions being overpaid for the F35 fighter program and overall price inflation for submarines and other military equipment. $14 billion for an aircraft carrier and $5-6 billion for submarines.

In 2010, the defense industry spent $144 million on lobbying and donated over $22.6 million to congressional candidates. This does not account for the jobs that go to retired military officers.

Halliburton gained $39.5 billion in “federal contracts related to the Iraq war”.

In 2014, the Pentagon’s top-100 contractors had obligated contracts worth $177.6 billion and this fell slightly in 2015 to $175.1 billion, according to government figures.

In May 2008, there was a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing, “Defense Base Act Insurance: Are Taxpayers Paying Too Much?” There was also a series of congressional hearings in 2011 after the multiyear Commission on Wartime Contracting found that at least $31 billion, and as much as $60 billion, had been lost as a result of contract waste and fraud. However, for roughly a decade, there has not been a single hearing focused on the overall responsibilities borne by contractors in U.S. military activities.

The Defense Department continues to spend more than half its contracting dollars without legitimate competition between vendors, according to its Office of Procurement and Acquisition Policy.

A competition scorecard for the third quarter of fiscal 2016 released this week by the office shows that of $205 billion awarded in contract spending across DOD, only $101 billion was competed.

That compete percentage, about 49.7 percent of total contract spending, falls short of DOD’s stated 57 percent goal for fiscal 2016, and indicates a continuation of almost a decade of declining competition across the military space for everything including IT systems, professional services and weapons systems.

The mercenary army that began as Blackwater and is now known as Academi was a top recipient of Pentagon contracts for training Afghanistan’s security forces from 2002 to 2014.

The 2015 report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) also includes the surprising disclosure that IBM—a company not generally known as a defense contractor—was the largest beneficiary of a Pentagon program to stabilize Afghanistan by facilitating private investment in its vast mineral wealth.

Both findings were included in a SIGAR report that attempts to account for $66 billion appropriated by Congress to the Department of Defense for Afghanistan reconstruction. Altogether, the government spent $104 billion between 2002 and 2014 for the program. The Pentagon issued the bulk of the contracts, and the rest came from the Department of State and the US Agency for International Development.

Of the $66 billion spent by the Pentagon, however, SIGAR said DoD could only report on $21 billion, or less than one-third of its total. It accounted for the huge “discrepancy” to differences in executing contracts between “DoD and Federal accounting systems.” The Pentagon was also “unable to provide” contract data from the pre-2010 time, SIGAR said.

Half of the richest counties in America are roughly an hour away from Washington DC.

Virginia’s Loudoun County boasts an eye-popping median household income of $125,900, tops in the nation, according to 2015 Census Bureau estimates, the most recent available. Almost 10,000 Loudoun residents commute to D.C., but the vast majority of residents find plentiful well-paid job opportunities close to home – the top local employers are Dulles Airport, the Department of Homeland Security and the Loudoun County Public Schools.

Loudoun County also houses a large amount of technology companies and data centers — up to 70% of the world’s Internet traffic flows through Loudoun’s data centers each day.

14 thoughts on “Good News – Neither the USA or China have global military dominance as a top priority”

  1. ” and America must accept it ” <– Accept what? The China will not be poor? Sure. That China will take territory, dictate terms to it's trade "partners" and ignore international law? No.

    " neither the USA or China have global military dominance as a top priority " <– Which says nothing about the fact China is an authoritarian nation far from classically liberal in it's internals which is attempting to create for itself a version of Imperial Japan's Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and it is doing it through military intimidation and overt and covert interference in the domestic affairs of it's trade "partners". In fact, China's military adventurism has extended to Africa and the Middle East, and this is not done independently of it's dirigisme.

    The proper course for the United States is to maintain, re-establish, and establish operating defense treaty structures which provide to China's current and impending victims, security from China's expansionism. This should include Taiwan and have the explicit goal of forcing China out of international waters which it is appropriating to call it's domestic waters.

    If in opposition to these just and reasonable measures, China chooses war, then China should be destroyed until it is in a fit state to conform tolerably to the behavior expected of civilized nations. Persons within the United States who disagree with this concept frankly are on the wrong side of a border.

    I'm looking at you, Friedman.

  2. I don’t think the US has ever had global military dominance in mind. The US just wants perpetual war so it can keep funding its MIC.

    • The US (and the UK before it, at least starting from Napoleon’s defeat) never had global military dominance in mind; they’ve always had global *mercantile* dominance in mind. The navy’s only there so they can keep selling you stuff. Now China’s going down the same path; what worries people is that the US or China may want to use their armed forces to help them against the competition, but in a globalised and transnational environment that is hard — it’s very difficult for Americans to hit Chinese interests but to preserve their own, or vice-versa.

      • ” what worries people is that the US or China may want to use their armed forces to help them against the competition ”

        No, what worries people is China’s willingness to use it’s military to take and keep territory.

  3. China is in the grip of a brittle, unstable authoritarian system. This is what is leading it into conflict with others. The longer this continues, the more trouble and conflict China will get into with others. There’s never been a question of the US not accepting China as a Great Power, but the fact is that China won’t be satisfied with that, and now wants to become the top dog, the supreme power on the planet. This is happening due to the deficiencies in China’s internal setup.
    It’s possible that the US could step back from its treaty alliances in the Pacific, but that would lead to those local countries then forging their own security paths independent of the US. Japan, for example, could easily become a nuclear power if circumstances forced it to. So could South Korea, even.
    Ultimately, if the US is going to keep itself from being unseated by China as the world’s dominant power, then the US will have to overcome its obsolete hostilities with Russia, in addition to roping in other powers for China’s containment.

    • ” then the US will have to overcome its obsolete hostilities with Russia ”

      First Russia must be reduced as a source of international violence. It can play no role in containing imperial China as long as it itself has imperial ambitions to violently recover the former Soviet extent of influence.

  4. Yet another Cold War moron writing a book that caters to other Cold War morons.

    Hey guys! Guess what?

    The Cold War ended almost 30 years ago!

    China is going to war with Japan and possibly India, not us. THAT is the ultimate outcome of US long-overdue disengagement.

    But hey! Cold War morons do as Cold War morons are. No stopping that, apparently.

    • US is the dominant Global Military power but is not really serious about it
      -> HAHAHAHA!!

      China is going to war with Japan and possibly India, not us
      -> HAHAHAHAHA!!

      Sometimes when I am tired and sad, I ehtier watch Fox News or read the comments ot this guy and feel much better. Comical, indeed

  5. I appreciate your optimism Brian. I might have agreed with you before Xi came to power in China. He has proved himself to be an authoritarian leader that will not stop short of having a full control, just like he did inside China.

      • ” Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst.” <– R.A.H. speaking through the character of Col. DuBois. Needful military actions undertaken for the defense of a classically liberal polity are no vice.

        " Mr. Xi so far started no wars " <– If China will not abandon it's seized international waters peaceably, then yes, it has done so.

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