America, obsessed with military power

China Military Online
Huang Panyue

By Zhang Jiadong

BEIJING, Nov. 8 (ChinaMil) -- Two recent reports have drawn extensive attention.

The first is that the U.S. Department of Defense recently assigned three aircraft carriers to the East Asian waters and claimed that they were considering holding military exercises there.

The second is that the budget office of the American congress estimated that Washington will invest USD1.2 trillion in the next 30 years to maintain the nuclear arsenal and conduct modernized renovation of it.

Actually, everyone knows how powerful the American military is, so it doesn't have to flex muscles everywhere, which will only create the opposite effect. As the largest military power in the world, the U.S. has been excessively obsessed with developing and enhancing its military force.

The most important reason is that in the American economic structure, most manufacturing is centered on military industry, which accounts for over 60% and is the center of the American manufacturing industry.

To protect the interests of military industry, the country must continuously "strengthen the military", increase military procurement, consume the majority products of the manufacturing industry, and drive the domestic demand.

But as the American military is getting stronger, it will result in a military imbalance in the world, and the chain effect is that other countries have to follow suit and strengthen their military too, thus creating a vaster market for America's military goods export.

But the American military isn't content with regular buildup, and has to take some substantial moves every few years.

Regular weapons have a reliable life span of only 10 years, and will expire after that if not fully used.

As it is extremely difficult to dismantle the weapons, which is sometimes more costly than producing them, many countries decide to keep a low level of armament.

But the U.S. must keep up a high level of armament in order to maintain its global hegemony.

How to deal with the aged weapons then? The most convenient way is to use them up and then deploy more advanced ones.

In fact, America has repeated this process many times in the past.

When the government found that there was too much military expense and the fiscal burden was too heavy, it began to curtail the military expense, which, however, would rebound soon afterwards.

When military manufacturing has become an important life line for the American economy, it's

The U.S. is able to continue this military game today because of its hegemony and the dominant position of the US dollar.

The position of US dollar as an international currency brings about USD400 billion net profits for the U.S. every year, which is enough to sustain the routine expense of the military.

But once these profits decrease or disappear, the model whereby the U.S. keeps up its military with the world's money, controls the world through its military, and gathers wealth to maintain its military in return by ruling the world will collapse.

Besides, the heavy pressure of US dollar's depreciation caused by the long-term trade and fiscal deficit will lead to the fast depreciation of the currency once the country is no longer bolstered by its economic strength and international confidence, and that will quickly drive up the price of America's imported goods.

Under such circumstances, the U.S. either continues to maintain the military by sacrificing the benefits of its people, which will hardly sustain, or retracts its claw back to the homeland and sits on the heritage and bountiful resources to keep up the current living standard and maintain social and political stability.

There has never been a country that can play the boss for a long time based on military strength alone.

(The author is a professor with the American Studies Center of China's Fudan University)


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