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Is the U.S. Underestimating the Chinese Military?

Written by on Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

With a population of over 1 billion people and military spending estimated at approximately $450 billion dollars a year, why is it that the U.S. continues to underestimate the Chinese’s military strength and technology? Fueled by a military budget that includes 4% of their GDP and a strong desire to advance military hardware thru their acquisition process, is it any wonder that China has passed Russia as the number two developer of military equipment? Even knowing the facts and figures and China’s military buildup, the U.S. still refuses to admit that maybe, just maybe they might be capable of huge leaps in military technology.

When the Chinese launched a missile that destroyed a satellite in space, the U.S. was surprised and thought they didn’t have the technology to conduct the missile launch to a direct hit. When the Chinese unveiled their long-range “carrier killer” missile to destroy moving targets in the ocean we were shocked and yet somehow before the introduction, the U.S. was convinced that China didn’t have the engineering skills to develop the capability. During Secretary Robert Gates’ visit to China last year he was met with the flight demonstration of their first stealth fighter aircraft, the J-20 that looked remarkably similar to the U.S. F-22 Raptor stealth fighter. While the Chinese economy has tripled over the past decade and the U.S. has been locked in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and completely burdened with a debt that shows no relief in sight, it’s hardly a stretch to see how this happened. The Chinese have tripled their GDP, increased their focus on technology and are committed to developing the very best military hardware. The question remains, how did the U.S. not anticipate this?

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