Should the West be worried that China has boasted of possessing “most of the sophisticated weapon systems found in the arsenals of developed Western nations”?
China is a rapidly rising world power with the potential to rock the world system as Germany did in 1914. It is an authoritarian country with few checks and balances. China is, however, also desperately trying to be a good stakeholder in the international system and needs to keep its economy growing. China can't afford to rock the boat. Does their weaponry present a threat to the West?
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Threats to the stability of Southeast Asia
The development of China's defensive and offensive capabilities in the past few years presents a substantial threat to the stability of the region, if not the entire international system. Frequently invovled in disputes over territorial claims, often criticised for it's bellicosity in dealing with regional powers, and clearly determined to expand it's geopolitical clout, China represents the most severe challenge to Western interests since the collapse of the Soviet Union. As John Tkacik from the CFR has argued "Within a few years, China will be America’s only global peer competitor for military and strategic influence." [[http://www.cfr.org/publication/12901/does_china_pose_a_military_threat.html]] Without sustained and consistent policies designed to counter this threat, conflict between the world's greatest powers is almost inevitable.
Specific threats to the West's military advantages
There are three areas of China's military development which pose immediate, direct, and serious threats to the advantages Western militaries have over other world powers.[[See http://www.cfr.org/publication/10824/%5D%5D.
1. Cyber technology - The development of offensive technology capable of disabling IT and communication infrastructure clearly enhances the ability of China to both deflect any potential attack and instigate a military strike. This is partcularly prevalent for Western militaries as they rely heavily on complex and relatively poorly defended electronic systems.
2. Anti-satelite technology - The boasts of Chinese defense ministers in the wake of their successful demonstration of the ballistic missile anti-satelite technology caused alarm in the US and the entire world. The obvious advantages of being able to disable communication and observation points for Western militaries seriously undermines the ability to conduct offensive operations against China, if the need arises. The development of this complicated weapons system also highlights the growing parity in capabilities between the West and China.
3. Maritime development - As the world's foremost maritime power, the United States is being directly threatened by China's development of it's naval capability. Specifically, China's new fleet of modern cruise-class ships, as well as their submarine and aircraft carrier contigent are significant forces capable of challenging the US fleet in the region.
Increase in weapons exports
China is often accused of supplying weapons and technology to nations invovled in conflict or internal political termoil. Specifically, their supply of small arms to Third World states, especially in Africa, has been widely condemned by the international community. Somalia, Nigeria, Chad, and the DRC have all been willing recipients of China's vast weapons cache. The continued modernisation and development of China's military capabilities will only exacerbate this situation, with more and more older weapons becoming available on the market, with all the obvious implications this entails for the stability of other regions.[[See http://www.cfr.org/publication/9557/%5D%5D
Threatens the promotion of democracy in the region
The agenda of the West to promote the development of democratic political institutions in the region is significantly threatened by the increasing military capabiities of the PRC. Whilst the Chinese leadership has paid lip service to regional institutions such as ASEAN and the ARF, it generally inhibits the growth of democracy in many of it's neighbours. China's growing military power has clear implications for regional stability and constitutes a threat to the interests of the Western world in terms of the exporting of democracy to authoritarian regimes.
The issue over Taiwan
With China's increasingly sophisticated army and weaponry, it is surely only a matter of time before the issue over Taiwan flares up again. Defeated Nationalist forces retreated to the island in 1945 after Mao and the Communists won control over China itself. Since then Taiwan has remained separate from mainland China and has blossomed economically. However China has always maintained that the island will one day be reunited with mainland China and the only way this can be achieved is with force. The USA has regularly stated that it will offer protection to Taiwan and as of now this has prevented any confrontation. US Naval vessels patrol the Taiwanese waters and China has begun to grow frustrated over US involvement. But, with a growing military might and willingness to become a major global power, the threat of war over Taiwan may become a real possibility in the coming years.
Border Disputes with Bhutan and India
An emboldened China may be threat to Bhutan. While India has a large army and nuclear deterrent, Bhutan does not. We have seen what can happen to one of China's smaller neighbors in the case of Tibet.
'A force for peace'
Recent criticism of China's military development by US officials has been rebuked by a Chinese military spokesperson, Hu Changming, as 'extremely irresponsible', as well as arguing that China's weapons development forms part of a 'force for peace' in the region.[[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8262183.stm]] Moreover, Chinese officials consistently, and correctly, maintain that China has been partly responsible for a period of relative peace and stability in the region, a process their military development has simply enhanced, not detracted from.
The threat from Russia and Iran is far greater
Whilst China presents a significant threat to the West's interests, especially in Asia, the threats eminating from a resurgent Russia and a belligerent Iran undermine the Chinese danger. The recent clashes in Eastern Europe, most importantly in Georgia, highlight the increasingly aggressive international policy of the current Kremlin leadership. Moreover, Russia's military capabilities, whilst diminished from the Cold War, are still sufficiently more threatening than anything China currently possesses. In particular, Russia's conventional forces are highly developed, their ballistic missile technology is superior, and their nuclear forces are substantial. Similarly, the threat posed by Iran's bellicosity in the Middle East and its own nuclear programme, as well as it's leaders' calls for the destruction of Isreal and the removal of the US presence in the region, is more substantial to Western interests than China.
Yes of course, they need to see china as treat, mind you the world has become a global village that the development has gone beyond our imagination. In life there is always a check and balance ,even though US is a super power many still feel threaten by it and many still look else where for an equal or almost equal in power to hide under or for kind of protection and that where countries like China and Russia come in. And the greatest treat you ever have is something you see and you know its dangerous but you don’t understand what it is and don’t know how to stop it ….with this in mind , the like of North Korea , Iran , Pakistan and even India are now nuclear heads and they keep hiding under the protection of either China or Russia or both of them from the West. So you see why the check and balance will always continue. China is a great treat but mind you its an enclosed country while US is a greater treat because its an open country which interfere with almost every region political issues across the globe which give the like of Russia and china the opportunity to grow.
The United States is still the pre-eminent global power
Whilst the gap in relative capabilities has been reduced in recent years, the US still maintains a substantial advantage in military force compared to China. With a defense budget which dwarfs it's closet competitors, sophisticated weapons technology that mocks it's adversaries - laser technology being a primary example - and conventional forces trained and equipped to a standard far, far superior to that of China, the United States stands as the worlds most powerful nation. The potential threat of China's weapons development should, therefore, not be of huge concern to the West or, indeed, US policy-makers.
In terms of military spending, of course the USA is still the world power. However China could in theory vastly increase their military spending by diverting resources from other areas. The likelihood of civil unrest is low as it could be easily quelled, as it was in Tienanmen Square and more recently in the northern regions. China has also one thing money cant buy - manpower. A country with a population of over a billion, that possess nuclear and sophisticated weaponry, and has a desire to be a major world power must always be viewed as a threat, whether they are one or not at this moment in time.
I may say, they shold worry about it
We, eastern people are just trying to invent new high technological machines for our own protection and security.
With these weapons, we may be powerful.
And so, from now on, we should be very careful on things we say against another country.
It's just a matter of protection and security, not on possession.
What do you think?