Trade Deficits Paying for China Military Buildup
The pair reportedly met in Dalian, where Xi will attend a ceremony launching the country's first domestically-built aircraft carrier.
America's trade deficit with China serves the authoritarian state's global ascendance and regional power ambitions, said Decker."What are our dollars doing?" asked Decker. "We're building, paying for, and underwriting [China's] military buildup. We're building their infrastructure. We're making their country stronger for the future, sort of at the long-term expense of our own. We're not making the investments in our own infrastructure.""Every three years, we're at a rate of $1.2 trillion in trade deficit with China," said Decker. "That's money they're just using to build a deepwater fleet so they can project force in the Pacific. It's a national security issue, as well." ...The trade deficit "is not only a consumer question," said Decker, inviting political observers to contemplate "the bigger picture" of geopolitics.
Let's see, however, if we can put the size of the U.S. trade deficit with China into some perspective; and let's start with the F-22 – the only U.S. fighter jet with the agility, speed and stealth to overcome the latest Russian air defense systems and newest Chinese and Russian fighters[.] ...America can deploy only 187 F-22s because Congress, with President Obama's veto gun to its head, cancelled further construction due to high costs: about $360 million a plane[.] ...In contrast, China surely will have the capability to churn out record numbers of its F-22 clone known as the Chengdu J-20Mighty Dragon. The sad irony here is that even as Congress was voting to halt F-22 construction, Chinese cyber hackers were brazenly stealing the F-22's blueprints.Now here's the relevant trade deficit math: Assuming that it costs about half the price for China to build its F-22 clone because of cheap labor and no need to pay for the R&D that went into developing the F-22, China can use a little more than one month of its trade surplus to replicate the entire U.S. F-22 air wing – and pay for 1,000 of these planes with American consumer dollars in less than six months.
[Y]ou can do the (admittedly) rough numbers for any of a number of other Chinese weapons systems. For example, one day's worth of China's trade surplus with the United States buys 1,000 new cruise missiles that Beijing can point at Taipei or one hundredanti-ship ballistic missiles to target American carriers.Similarly, just one week's worth of China's trade surplus finances the construction of at least three new Chinese aircraft carriers to patrol the South China Sea and Indian Ocean or twenty new Yuan class diesel electric submarines to lay [sic] in wait for Japanese destroyers or American aircraft carrier strike groups. And Beijing can pay for its entire annual defense budget with a mere five months of what American consumers contribute to Beijing's imperial fisc.
Beijing has long declared the South China Sea to be its territorial waters and has laid claim to two disputed chains: the Paracel Islands, about 200 miles from the coast of Vietnam, and the Spratly Islands in the southeastern part of the South China Sea. China's territorial ambitions include the Senkakus in the East China Sea, part of what Chinese military doctrine refers to as the "first island chain" that surrounds China.