US military budget hike to ‘support Taiwan’ will make few ripples in Pacific

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US President Joe Biden signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2022 on Monday. The Act authorizes $768 billion in defense spending, up about 5 percent from a year earlier. In the context of the US’ high debt and that it has to raise the debt ceiling to avoid government shutdowns, the country’s military expenditure has grown for the sixth consecutive year. This underscores the US’ twisted and distorted view of national security and lays bare some American politicians’ Cold War mentality.

The $768 billion figure is bigger than the GDP of many countries. It accounts for about 40 percent of global military spending, equaling the sum of the military expenditures of the nine countries behind the US. Nonetheless, for Washington which is suffering from the anxiety disorder of seeking “absolute security,” it is far from enough. It is widely reported that many Republican lawmakers, who complained Biden’s initial proposal was not high enough, pushed to add nearly $25 billion to the defense budget. The US Congress has the power of the purse and is known for its calculations and stinginess in appropriating government expenditure. It is hard for livelihood-related bills to get passed. But Congress has been more and more generous toward military spending.

Under this distorted security view, certain US interest groups such as the military-industrial complex and lobbying groups are doing their best to get more of the pie. The US in 2021 withdrew its troops from Afghanistan hastily, and formally ended its combat mission in Iraq. US military spending is supposed to drop. But instead, it has increased. What will the money be used for? The NDAA has put it bluntly, a large part will be spent against China and Russia, especially China.

We have noticed that this year’s NDAA of more than 1,300 pages mentions China in many aspects, including technological research and development, military comparisons, COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control, as well as international influence. Among them, the so-called Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI) and a statement of congressional support for the defense of Taiwan has attracted the most attention. The bill includes $7.1 billion for the PDI in order to worsen the environment around China by creating confrontation and division and calls for developing a “grand strategy” with respect to China. It also encourages improving the “defensive asymmetric capabilities of Taiwan” and calling for the island of Taiwan’s participation in the 2022 Rim of the Pacific Exercise. US media have hyped up these topics, but Washington should be clear that no matter in what ways it uses the island of Taiwan to contain the Chinese mainland, it is playing with fire, and whoever plays with fire will get burnt.

For China, we do not need to be affected by the US’ unrestrained greed for “security,” or fall into the quagmire of an arms race with the US. China has kept the ratio of defense spending to GDP stable. The increase of its military spending and growth of military strength is a natural result of China’s overall social development. China does not harbor ideas of initiating a war against the US somewhere in the world, but it won’t allow the US to act wantonly in the West Pacific, particularly on issues that concern China’s core interests. Such a determination and will cannot be swayed, no matter how much money the US spends on military. Facts will tell them that their military spending increase that targets China will make few ripples in the Pacific.

The Associated Press reported last month that 29 percent of US troops in the most junior enlisted ranks faced food insecurity in the past year, and as many as 160,000 active-duty US military members are having trouble feeding their families. This is unbelievable, yet is one of the weird truths about the US military. As an old Chinese saying goes, “Greed is like a valley that can never be filled.” The US cannot find the security it needs even if it doubles its military spending; nor can it solve its domestic problems even if it makes more imaginary foreign enemies. When it comes to the defense budget, what can really make the US safe is political rationality. And when it comes to the Taiwan question, the more Washington spends, the more easily it will draw fire on itself.

-The Daily Mail-Global Times News Exchange Item