An arms race that the US cannot afford and cannot win

‘Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer, told lawmakers that when it comes to "technological superiority, the Department of Defence is being challenged in ways that I have not seen for decades, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region."’ AFP

China is making big strides in areas of anti ship missiles, in new stealth fighters, hypersonic aircraft and other hi tech weaponry that the Americans are still guessing in the dark, and America could lose its pole position if it does not response effectively to the challenge. This kind of scenario is unthinkable a decade ago and a big joke 30 years ago. The Americans would laugh themselves silly to imagine a poor communist country aeons behind in technology, and very poor economically, could even build an aircraft or submarine let alone challenging American military superiority in the most technologically advanced weaponry.

What Kendall told the House Armed Services Committee is no longer a joke and is being taken very seriously. For a start, China’s A2AD or anti area access denial capabilities are a crippling blow to the American aircraft carrier groups. This would drastically deny their ability to strike at China’s mainland without posing an unacceptable risk of total annihilation of the fleet. The Americans could not longer strike China with impunity and the comfort of safety from being attack.

What is making matter worse is that going on a head on arms race with China is going bankrupt the American Treasury on three grounds. It has very little money left and has to rely heavily on printing more paper money and the consequences of such a reckless adventure are horrendous. The next point is that the cost of maintaining the PLA and all its weaponry is peanuts compare to what it would cost the Americans. It was claimed that the interest alone on the T Bills that the Americans are paying to the Chinese is enough to keep the whole PLA happy.

Then there is the incomparable cost of soldiers and machine. The cost of maintaining a GI could support 100 PLA soldiers, an American fighter plane costs 10 to 20 times more than a Chinese aircraft. Added on to this, to maintain the kind of overall superiority, for every piece of equipment or soldier the PLA has, the Americans need three pieces to keep a healthy balance and advantage.

In short, an arms race would simply bankrupt the Americans. The Americans cannot afford it. The Chinese only need a fleet or two to keep peace in the East and South China Seas. The Americans have to keep fleets in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

The high spending days of the Americans is over. The strategy of maintaining a superior military force world wide based on the most advanced and expensive weaponry is just untenable. The Chinese only need to keep building on what they have and the Americans need to build three times as many and 100 times more in cost.
How long can the Americans stay on to this course of military expansion and expenditure to maintain an offensive military strategy to be able to hit at any country? 

Can the Americans afford it? China only needs a cheaper defensive strategy, to keep the enemies at away with no wild ambition to be the policeman or gangster of the world.


Anonymous said...

1 US pays PRC over USD100 million every month in interest money.
2 Shock and awe could come from the Chinese coast to any naval vessels or aircraft approaching with ill intent.
3 In one major exercise, the PLA moved vital assets 1,000 km inland away from the coast.
4 Missiles are cheap compared to USN assets: each ship costs anything from 100 million upwards and most ships cost at least 500 million.
5 PLA's missiles out-range all USN aircraft and missiles.
6 American air-sea battle is still a concept and has not been practised yet.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

As a defensive force, China does not need expensive attack ships and aircraft. It only needs a lot of cheap missiles to shoot down aircraft and ships, especially the huge aircraft carriers. It is like throwing mortar bombs into big complexes and landed properties.

b said...

Weapons technology is not rocket science. The AK47 is a machine gun developed by a russian with little engineering knowledge. the chinese invented the fireworks way before the cowboys even existed. the chinese would have conquered the world many centuries ago if that has been their ambition but instead they built a wall to keep barbarians out. The cowboys can stand aside if china pursue the weapon trade. they are silly to lead them into this trade by agitating them repeatedly. Make peace not war.

Joe said...

Good insight RB and to also know that our powderful SAF is in the F35 program really make sense of funding the Uncle Sam. tsk tsk tsk

Perhaps for US to cut cost they should start to buy weapons from China.