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March 04, 2005

Comments

Abiola Lapite

"Even by the inflated $65 billion estimation in defense spending, it is only 14% of US defense spending"

You make no adjustments for purchasing power, and your figures are therefore a drastic understatement of just how much military force China's $65 billion actually buys. A single American GI's salary will pay for several PLA soldiers, each and every one of which is a human being roughly equivalent to himself.

Bill

Abiola, I thank you first all for your comment, but I must disagree. The advancement of technology, and the US intergration of battle systems, increased armor protection that are yielding far less fatalities from casualties than from any other US war, communication and logistics systems are so superior to even our allies, let alone our adversaries that it is very challenging to compare one US soldier with one Chinese PLA soldier.

China has an a very large standing army, but it is difficult to compare to the US force structure and claim that it is superior. PPP is important for comparing figures across countries. However, Chinese defense spending Dollar for Dollar or Yuan to Yuan is still very much dwarfed by the US military spending.

Europe spends a good deal as well salary wise on their forces, but they lack many of the above items that the US has. In the case where a nation retains a large standing army that is not well equipped, it is actually worse off. The soldier's salary is a continual expense, thereby eating up a larger portion of the countries defense budget. The purchasing of sophisticated hardware, software, systems and weapons can serve the country for a longer period of time. China's large standing army is a drain on their defense spending, especially as incomes rise and the Chinese need to match competitive salaries. As the US demonstrated in Iraq and to a lesser degree Kosovo, a well equipped, highly trained, smaller force can overwhelm a significanlly numerically superior opponent with historically low casualties.

The US is in a far stronger position on all accounts.

Regards,

Bill

ps. I stopped by your blog, and really enjoyed it. Much to think about.

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