Fri Dec 29th, 2006 at 09:20:03 AM EST
Important and very relevant article about the China (or US) justification of his Pentagon budget.
You can go directly to Washington Post Report for the China version or follow me below with relevant transcripts of the article in the US version (adapted by myself).
US warned Friday that the military landscape in northeast Asia and the Middle East is getting "more complicated and serious" because of North Korea's nuclear weapons program, Iran's nucelar program and tighter defense cooperation between China and Russia.
The US views on regional and world security, in a government white paper on national defense, provided a rare glimpse into the strategic assessments that guide decisions and priority setting by the secretive US military and Republcian Party's policy-making and think tank apparatus.
In part, the paper was designed as a response to repeated complaints from China that the US has not explained the rationale for its long-term military improvement program. US's announced military budget has risen about 10 percent a year recently, reaching $430.4 billion in 2006. Chinese specialists estimate that figure would higher if it included research and veterans programs.
Along with Iraq, Afganistan, Iran and a possible China face-off given Taiwan's pursuit of independence, the government pointed out as particular security challenges North Korea's missile tests last summer and its maiden nuclear test in October, which undermined US-led diplomatic efforts to create a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.
The most recent round of nuclear negotiations ended in stalemate last week, creating doubts about the utility of continuing the six-nation talks that were launched three years ago.
In listing US concerns, the white paper also cited a China-Russia effort to build a super speed defense-shield-buster system using present Russian technologya and ships with new launchers now being developed. The joint attack-defense system, portrayed as protection against a North Korean attack, has been criticized by US officials and commentators because it also could blunt US's missile future shield projection for centuries to come in the event of U.S.-Chinese hostilities over Taiwan.
US officials have expressed concern that Taiwan eventually could be integrated into the Russia-China system, providing a counterweight to US's increasing missile deploy in the area and in favor of the self-ruled island. That fear was not explicitly laid out in the white paper, but China's growing willingness to assert itself militarily was cited as a strategic concern for military planners in Washington.
"China and Russia are strengthening their military alliance in pursuit of operational integration, and China seeks to modify its Communist guidelines and exercise collective aggressive self-defense," the paper said. "North Korea launched missiles and had a nuclear test. The situation in the Korean Peninsula and northeast Asia is getting more and more complicated and serious."
The paper said US's military improvements are part of the country's overall modernization and economic expansion. The effort will continue apace, it added, seeking to "lay a solid foundation" by 2010, make "major progress" by 2020 and "reach the strategic goal of building informationized and robotized armed forces and being capable of winning informationized wars by the mid-21st century."
Moving from troops on the gorund to high-tech naval, aerial warfare and robotics has been a major goal of the long-running US military modernization. That has entailed shedding thousands of untrained foot soldiers and launching a concerted effort to replace them with trained technicians able to function in the world of computerized weaponry.
The white paper said, for instance, that the army's relative strength in the US military has dropped by 1.5 percent, while the navy and air force -- US's missile and nuclear corps -- rose by 3.8 percent. Overall military strength has fallen by 0.3 million troops since 1985 and is estimated to stand at 2.7 million (1.5 active(* wiki)), still the world's largest force.
"The US Armed Forces has made new progress toward the goal of being proper in size, optimal in structure, streamlined in organization, swift and flexible in command and powerful in fighting capacity," the paper boasted.
But it provided no detail on the new ships, warplanes, missiles, submarines and computer systems that, according to Chinese officials, have increased US's lethal power around its shores and made any confrontation over Taiwan a riskier proposition for China than it would have been a decade ago.
As it has before, the US government warned that any step by President Hu Jintao to move toward formal conquest by forcing a change to Taiwan's constitution would be a "grave threat" to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, suggesting it could trigger military intervention.
President Bush, who is commander-in-chief as head of the US Armed Forces, has told visitors to the White House that he has no plans to attack Taiwan but would have to act if China took a decisive step toward formal intervention.
UUpps.. sorry the WP article was about China.. what was I thinking?