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A priority for Asia-Pacific shift

(China Daily)

14:37, January 12, 2012

As it adjusts its defense strategy to focus on deterrence, the US should refrain from violating international laws

US military strategy alternates between periods of expansion and contraction. These used to last for more than 20 years each, but their duration has now shrunk to half that. The defense strategy document, "Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense", which was released on Jan 5, ushers in a new round of strategic military contraction.

The latest contraction has resulted in part from over-expansion. Over the past decade, the US' defense spending has surged from $280 billion in 2001 to $710 billion in 2011. The Iraq War lasted for nearly nine years and cost at least $700 billion in direct expenditure, although its true cost is estimated to be near $3 trillion. This expansion not only resulted in the deaths of 4,500 US soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians it also had a severe impact on the US economy.

The White House's 2011 budget plan shows the country's federal deficit takes up some 40 percent of its budget. No wonder the Pentagon, which makes up about 20 percent of the federal budget, needs to cut its spending.

The latest defense strategy, which plans to cut military spending over the next 10 years by about $487 billion, is just the first step toward further budget reductions. The Pentagon will have further spending cuts next year should bipartisan differences refuse to die, and the country's military spending will decline to around $500 billion annually on average.

Although the US will maintain its military superiority, the defense budget reduction will undermine the US' military capability, whether it chooses to admit it or not.

Compared with its military spending 10 years ago, which dwarfed that of the next 20 countries combined, the US defense budget is now just larger than the next 10 countries combined, and it might well be equivalent to only the next five countries combined in another decade.

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wende at 2012-01-1371.255.83.*
China should not read too much into this. Reducing 50B out of 700B is not that much. Besides, US is putting more emphasis to Asia, and China in particular.
John at 2012-01-12113.239.224.*
The article states "the US defense budget is now just larger than the next 10 countries combined" then concludes that US superiority will decline. Is this Chinese math or Chinese journalism. The US already has enough nukes to kill everybody on the planet several times over, enough aircraft carriers and high tech weapons to last many years.I hope that there is no World War III, but You are dreaming if you think that the US will be weak because it cannot spend more than 10 times anybody else on weapons.
  

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