Make China spend more?

Breaking Defense:
Why don’t we make the bad guys bleed money for a change? That’s the strategic insight that helped us win the Cold War, and it seems especially timely today as the nation wobbles back – we hope – from the brink of yet another budget crisis.

Delayed by vote calls and overshadowed by the news that House and Senate negotiators had finally reached a budget agreement — one that might actually stabilize the situation for two years — House seapower subcommittee chairman Randy Forbes went ahead with a hearing late yesterday on China’s growing naval power. The four experts on the panel couldn’t articulate a coherent strategy for the West Pacific, Forbes told me after the hearing, but they agreed on one big thing:

“All four of those witnesses [said] we need to be sure we go back to competitive strategies,” Forbes told me. What does that mean? “Causing our potential competitors to spend money, and not in the areas they want.”

That’s what the US did to the Soviets when it developed stealth aircraft that forced Moscow to question its massive investment in anti-aircraft systems. Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” initiative likewise threatened to neutralize the Soviet missile arsenal, forcing them to scramble for expensive countermeasures, even though we never managed to build it. The influential Center for Strategy and Budgetary Assessments calls these “cost-imposing strategies,” where every dollar you spend in the arms race makes the other side spend two dollars or more.

The first step, of course, is to stop bleeding money ourselves. “When you’re continuing the spiral of cuts downward, I think it sends an enormous message, a negative message, to our allies and to our competitors,” Forbes said.
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There is more.

It is an interesting strategy, but I doubt the Obama administration would buy into it.  They seem more intent on weakening our defense.

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