Leadership: China Rising


March 5,2008: China is increasing its defense spending this year to $57 billion, a 17.6 percent increase from last year. The U.S. Department of Defense insists that China only publicly acknowledges as little as a third of its actual defense spending. But even using the worst case estimate, U.S. defense spending is still nearly three times as much as Chinas.

This sort of thing can get complicated, but one thing that is certain is Chinese military growth and modernization. Especially modernization. While China is a police state, it also has a market economy which makes it difficult to keep people from wandering all over the place with cell phone cameras. Then there's the Internet, where those digital photos of new military gear quickly appear. Finally, there are Internet resources like Google Earth, which make it difficult for any military organization to hide things, especially large things (like warships and large quantities of tanks or aircraft).

Whatever the Chinese are up to, it involves lots of new ICBMs, nuclear submarines and modern jet fighters. Oh, the Pentagon recently came out and said that China was responsible for the large number of hacker attacks on military and government networks, in the United States and elsewhere in the West, last year.

Something's up, besides Chinese defense spending, and no one but China knows exactly what it is.


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