A Player, but No Superpower -- Andrew S. Erickson and Adam P. Liff, Foreign Policy
Why China's military is a threat to its neighbors, but shouldn't concern the United States on its home turf.
On March 5, at the opening of the National People's Congress, Beijing announced its official 2013 defense budget: roughly $114.3 billion, a 10.7 percent increase over the previous year and, in nominal terms, nearly four times the official budget a decade ago. This level of spending is enough to make China a force in its neighborhood, but not one to engage in combat overseas.
Beijing has long faced a much more problematic geostrategic position than Washington has. The United States borders two friendly neighbors and is buffered by massive oceans to its east and west. It enjoys abundant natural resources and the most allies in the world. China, by contrast, borders 14 countries (including four states with nuclear weapons) and has ongoing disputes with all its maritime neighbors, including its powerful rival, Japan.
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My Comment: The Chinese are still two or three decades away from even approaching what the U.S. has today. But they are making progress, and with sequestration and U.S. defense budget cuts becoming the norm, the Chinese may end up having a superior military for the simple reason that the U.S. has abdicated that position.