by Eric Margolis
March 12, 2008
WASHINGTON: For old timers like me who miss the Cold War, Washington’s increasingly heated rhetoric over China and various other malefactors brought back piquant memories of the bad old days.
The US Department of Defense warned last week, `China threatens the stability of Asia.’ Defense Secretary Robert Gates criticized the 17.6% increase in China’s 2008 military budget ads dangerous and provocative.
China’s official military budget is $58.8 billion, but the real figure is estimated at around $110 billion. Beijing’s claims its hike in defense spending were solely to boost military pay were believed by no one. Even so, Washington’s warning was pretty rich coming from the sole superpower that spends ten times more on its military than China – a nation with four times the US population.
Secretary Robert Gates unblushingly accused China of `lack of transparency’ in concealing major defense programs. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Some 25-30% of the Pentagon’s trillion-dollar budget is believed to be hidden in secret `black’ projects, or concealed in other government departments. The US intelligence community’s budget alone is 40% of China’s total military and intelligence spending.
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