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Politics // Coffee Break
Jerry Coffee

U.S. Military Spending Falling Behind

A Chinese Army Z-9WZ attack helicopter, designed and manufactured by China, performs a flight demonstration for press at a base of Chinese People's Liberation Army, Army Aviation 4th Helicopter Regiment | AP photo/Andy Wong

A Chinese Army Z-9WZ attack helicopter, designed and manufactured by China, performs a flight demonstration for press at a base of Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Army Aviation 4th Helicopter Regiment | AP photo/Andy Wong

Although a quick glance at a bar graph of military expenditures by the U.S., Russia and China – the three largest militaries in the world – shows the United States with an apparent disproportionate advantage, it says nothing about current trends to become stronger or weaker. Nor does it say anything about the willingness of the leadership of those three countries to even use their military power.

In the past few years, China rapidly has built up all phases of its military, especially its navy. In fact, it has been referred to as an “anti-navy” navy, meaning the development of weapon systems and tactics to specifically target the U.S. Navy. For example, cruise missiles and submarines specifically designed to take out a U.S. aircraft carrier, which, if accomplished, would be tantamount to a naval 9-11 and could either undermine our resolve and morale, or invite nuclear retaliation.

In my book, it should be the latter.

China has been increasingly aggressive in probing several disputed areas and island chains of the South and East China seas as well as posting vigorous protests when other nations – primarily the U.S., Japan and the Philippines – transit areas of the high seas that China claims to own.

Both China and Russia are on track to nearly double their military budgets in the next two years. Of course, adding to the volatility of the area, we have North Korea’s unpredictable dictator Kim Jong Un, who recently has fired nuclear-capable missiles over Japan and shelled parts of South Korea.

On the opposite side of the globe, as I pen this column, Russian flags are flying on some government buildings in eastern Ukraine, “unidentified” (read Russian) troops are occupying some of those buildings, and thousands of Russian troops are massed over the border from Ukraine, just waiting for some contrived pretext to storm across.

Earlier in the standoff, a Russian fighter-bomber made a dozen threatening low passes on a U.S. Navy ship in the international waters of the Black Sea. The plane drew closer to the ship with each pass. Just another cynical spit in the eye by Comrade Putin.

By the time you read this, the “Eastern Ukraine” may have become the first new Russian satellite in the new “cold war” which, according to our president, no longer exists.

President Obama has said: “Of course Ukraine is not a member of NATO because of its complex history with Russia, nor will Russia be dislodged from Crimea or deterred from further escalation by military force.” So there you have it, Mr. Putin, fear no “dislodgement” nor “deterrence” from the U.S.

We do have an ace in the hole in the form of reinstating our intention to go ahead with the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) with our Eastern European allies. This was an anathema to the Russians, which is why it should go back on the agenda.

So we have ample evidence (not to mention that of international terrorism) of an ever-increasingly dangerous world. So what is the U.S. response? We drastically decrease our defense spending, of course (gotta level that playing field), to a level before the beginning of World War II. But isn’t that why the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, because they thought we were just a paper tiger?

Ah, for the days of the Reagan presidency (which replaced the Carter post-Vietnam military drawdown that resulted in the Iranian hostage crisis) – you remember, those halcyon days of “Peace Through Strength.” The toughest kids on the playground never get challenged or bullied. It ain’t rocket science. coffee1776@gmail.com

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