The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been ramping up its military spending to meet its stated goal of replacing the United States as the world’s preeminent superpower. Many who seek to minimize the risk compare actual dollars spent on defense in hopes of proving the risk that China poses is minimal. But the truth is, once you adjust for the cost of things, China is approaching parity with the U.S. For example, the pay for military personnel in the U.S. is 16 times higher than in China.* Yet, China’s armed forces are approximately 2.2 million, whereas the US armed forces are only 1.4 million — roughly equal with North Korea in terms of manpower.
Moreover, China has long been engaged in high-tech espionage and steals a great deal of the latest and greatest technology from the US. We have foolishly allowed their spies — posing as students or business and cultural exchanges to gain access to our technology. So we spend billions developing new technology and the Chinese regime spends comparative chump change to steal it. These cost savings allow China to spend less, while building up its military more. This is one of the reasons China now has the worlds’ largest navy with over 360 ships — dwarfing the U.S. fleet of 297 ships.
China is also clearly seeking to exploit for its advantage the recent change in administrations. President Joe Biden has long been comparatively conciliatory toward the communist regime and has often downplayed the risks China poses. Moreover, Biden’s son, Hunter, has highly lucrative business dealings with major Chinese firms with strong ties to the Chinese Communist Party — that’s how business works in China. Even if there is nothing illegal about Hunter’s business dealings, it creates a troubling conflict of interest for the White House.
It is clearly not in the interests of the U.S. to downplay the risks and pretend that China’s threat isn’t real. And China isn’t just a threat to the U.S., they are a threat to the entire world. They don’t intend to simply be a major economic and military power. They mean to rule and dominate the world with an iron fist.
If you don’t believe me, look at how China deals with those it perceives to be dissidents. Look at how it treats Hong Kong. Look at how Chinese health officials who warned of the COVID-19 virus were punished or mysteriously disappeared. Look at the death camps and “re-education camps” and how China tortures, murders and rapes the Uyghurs and other “dissidents.” If China achieves its stated goal of control and domination, it will be a brutal reign of terror and oppression.
It Is Not the Backward, Developing Nation It Once Was
Beyond raw military power, China also seeks economic supremacy. World shipping is an interesting case study where China seeks to dominate and is well on its way. The global trade fleet is about 41,000 ships. China builds about 1,300 new ships each year. The U.S. builds only 8. China is now the dominant player in ship building and in owning and operating and controlling ports around the globe.
The good news is that China does not, and cannot, dominate U.S. domestic shipping because the Jones Act stands in their way by requiring that ships used to transport goods between two or more American ports, must be American ships with American crews.
The Jones Act was passed shortly after World War I to ensure that the U.S. had sufficient shipping capacity, trained mariners, and a ship building and ship repairing capability necessary for our national security needs. But in the 21st Century, the Jones Act turns out to be a big help in stopping China’s attempts to dominate U.S. domestic shipping.
Imagine if there were no Jones Act, and China could simply underbid the competition and gain an economic stranglehold on the U.S. and even world shipping markets. Also imagine Chinese ships sailing up and down the 25,000 miles of inland water ways in America with spies and high tech spy equipment intercepting communications at will.
After being caught unprepared for WWI, the Jones Act seemed pretty necessary in 1920. But 101 years later in 2021, the Jones Act is even more necessary as one of many important ways America must stand up to the PRC and say, “Your oppression, aggression, and brutal domination are not welcome here!” The Jones Act may not have been written with China in mind, but it is exactly what we need to prevent their expansionism into America’s inland waterways.