Bush requested the largest one year Pentagon budget exclusive of Iraq and Afghanistan ever, $515.4B. On the ‘buy’ list are F-22 Raptors, a CVN-78 aircraft carrier and a Virginia class nuclear submarine. In order to pitch this to Congress and the American people guess who the ‘threat’ target is? As detailed by Michael Klare…

Against whom are these super-sophisticated ships and planes intended to be deployed? Not Iran, which is still largely equipped with aging US arms acquired in the 1970s during the reign of the Shah. Not Syria or North Korea, both still equipped with Korean- and Vietnam War-era Soviet castoffs. Not any of the other so-called rogue states against which Bush has railed so often. In fact, it is impossible to conceive of any adversary with the capacity to engage the United States on anything approaching major-power status except China.

The China threat
In their efforts to secure funding for all these costly new weapons, US military officials – and their allies in Congress and the corporate world – have begun highlighting the China threat.

The American people have been sold before and time will tell if they will be sold again.

Just as the Department of Defense and its corporate allies often touted the “Soviet threat” during the Cold War period to stampede Congress and the American public into supporting ever-increasing spending on advanced weapons, so a hypothetical “China threat” will now be conjured up to achieve the same purpose in the post-Cold War era.

With the US public concerned over the rising costs of the Iraq war and other national priorities – health care, education, alternative energy development, the mortgage crisis, and so on – such threat amplification will become indispensable to ensure adequate funding for the Pentagon’s favored weapons programs.

This level of defense spending is not sustainable and history is replete with fallen empires that can attribute their demise to an imbalance between military actions and providing for their people.