Foreign Policy published an op-ed by John Issacs, a senior fellow at the Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation, about the “2021 Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China” report. The report gave out a long list of military and security achievements in recent years, which could be considered a sign of an arms race leading to war. However, according to Issacs, this report should not be interpreted as how mass media has done.
China’s nuclear power still lags far behind the US
Issacs said although U.S. big news outlets reported that China’s significant reserves of nuclear warheads would reach 1000 by 2030. The report failed to mention that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) currently has about 200 to 350 nuclear heads, while the U.S. had 3,800 nuclear heads and another 5,500 nuclear heads decommissioned for dismantling.
The report stated that the CCP owned the world’s biggest navy army, with a total combat capacity of about 355 ships and submarines. Supposed that this number includes tugboats and nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, it might be correct. But the U.S. has a lot of bigger and more complex ships than China. Moreover, the Chinese navy was built chiefly to serve its territorial waters, while the U.S. navy is a global navy.
According to Issacs, the report also exaggerated China’s economic advantage. The “American Enterprise Institute” has pointed out that China is a big country experiencing its downfall. Its economy has lost momentum for more than a decade. China’s official economic growth rate was 14% in 2007 but decreased to 6% in 2019. China’s true growth rate is now close to 2%.
The victory of the Cold War depended on the strength of three alliances, the free market and democratic values, and not just military spending. A strategy to cope with China’s expansion should be considered from every aspect, not only the number of nuclear weapons or warships but also all policy measures, not just military measures.