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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

Arms race will happen, but who to blame?

(Global Times)

08:41, March 20, 2012

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released a report Monday. It claimed that Asia and Oceania accounted for 44 percent of global arms imports in the last five years. India, with 10 percent of the share, was top of the list. It concluded that Asia is in a major arms race.

China is often cited by the West as the root reason behind the arms race in the region. The claim is half right at most. Countries cannot overcome the psychology of being wary of each other. This is in itself the cause for a regional arms race.

The US is increasing strategic moves against China. Every action of the White House, however, will be followed by Chinese counter-measures. It is a chicken-and-egg affair. But the US is the one that stands to benefit most since most arms sold are made in the US.

It is already difficult to stop this arms race. The substantial benefit it brings to the US is another disincentive.

Some suggest China cut its military budget as a way to reduce defensive competition in the Asia-Pacific. But this is unrealistic in the current global order. China cannot bet on regional peace while not modernizing its forces.

The arms race is inevitable in the Asia-Pacific given the current circumstances. Now it is important to prevent the race from turning violent or tapping into prejudice that will turn it from a defensive race to real preparation for war.

The money is better wasted in an arms race than put to use in war. It is noticeable that it is always US and European think-tanks that lead the hyping of an arms race. It is increasingly unlikely to be a coincidence.

As China develops, China and the US need to communicate seriously over their respective understandings about security and try their best to form a situation in the western Pacific region that they can both accept.

The US should help China eliminate the military danger across the Taiwan Strait and become a real peacemaker in the South China Sea.

Besides, the US should set a model of competing with China peacefully and not intervening in China's affairs in an unacceptable way. If so, China will be much less motivated to develop its own military strength. The problem is whether the US is interested in making these adjustments.

As long as the US doesn't make these changes, China is destined to be cautious. Of course, it is necessary for China to increase military transparency and to develop non-military means to counter US ambition. But none of this will affect the overall military situation in the Asia-Pacific.

Emerging countries like China and India have much room to boost their military spending. But neither China nor the US can control the region alone.

China is willing to cooperate with the US and try to balance the strong demand for military building in Asia-Pacific region. If the US is unwilling to do so, China cannot help it.

But whatever the future looks like, as long as China keeps its momentum of development, China will not be the loser.


Leave your comment6 comments

  1. Name

ahti at 2012-03-22137.186.193.*
the U.S. is an out of control borrower that is way over bankrupt. It seeks to subjugate China so it doesn"t have to pay it"s debts. India which is under control of Seikh minority is headed for a military conflict with China, due to American prodding. India has become the U.S. toilet towel, but many innocent people will suffer. Greetings from Canada.
Mukul at 2012-03-21117.194.0.*
The author blames it entirely on the US for the arms race that has set off in South Asia. It blames India too for being the largest procurer of arms over the last few years. I agree to a great extent to what the author says but I believe this argument is being used to hide the larger reason why China is acting in a hegemonic manner. The author wants us to believe that China is merely building up its arsenal in self-defence and if the alleged instigation from the United States subsides it will naturally halt its militarization of South Asia. Who will believe that. China"s Great Power aspiration is as much responsible for the the unrest prevailing in South Asia as are other powers alien to the region. It must first learn to engage in peaceful cooperation with the countries bordering it and neighbouring around the South China Sea and address their concerns if it wants itself to be regarded as the harbinger of peace in the South Asia.
Srinivas at 2012-03-2059.160.135.*
It is the Chinese designs to dominate the Asia and then dominate the world that is a major concern to the world. I appreciate the author to accepting one true fact about arms race that is going to happen, But the fact is the recent bullish nature of communist china in the south china sea dispute is the turning point.
Jason W. Smith, Ph.D. at 2012-03-2068.97.0.*
This is as perfect an analysis as I have ever read. Another reason I have proven in my book The ABC"s of Communism, Bolshevism 2012 that the PRC is the center of the global socialist stage today.
Jason W. Smith, Ph.D. at 2012-03-2068.97.0.*
This is as perfect an analysis as I have ever read. Another reason I have proven in my book The ABC"s of Communism, Bolshevism 2012 that the PRC is the center of the global socialist stage today.

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