Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was last seen making the talk show rounds touting the Pentagons decision to make $78 billion dollars in defense spending cuts over the next five years. With this revelation announced just a week ago it seems "eerie" that yesterday he said the Pentagon is "stepping up investments in a range of weapons, jet fighters and technology in response to the Chinese military buildup in the pacific".  Hmm!
This latest development (which became known to reporters who were accompanying Gates on his flight to Beijing) comes as he is about to meet with Chinese Generals and President Hu Jintao "meant to promote a more open and stable relationship between the American and Chinese militaries". 
The new American hardware Gates was alluding to are investments in "new long range, nuclear capable bomber aircraft"and a new generation of electronic jammers"  to be used by naval surface ships to defend against potential missile attacks (presumably launched by a newly aggressive China in some future conflict with them) because of his concern over Chinese "development of the anti ship cruise and ballistic missiles". 
Gates said, "If Chinese leaders considered the United States a declining power because of the financial crisis they were wrong"  adding, "For those both home and around the world who think the U.S. is in decline is that history's dustbin are filled with countries that underestimated the resilience of the United States". 
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Just what sort of signal was Gates sending to the Chinese just prior to three days of talks with them?
From here it seems to be an implied threat to the Chinese not to take any measures that challenge U.S. hegemony in the pacific.
Considering the colossal Chinese economic development boom over the past 20 years and becoming the world's largest manufacturer and exporter of material goods, it seems natural they would take defensive measures to protect their interests.
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China has shown no imperial desires or designs beyond its borders. It is involved in trade and development all over the world including Iran, Brazil and countries in Africa primarily to enhance energy and resource development in those countries (particularly oil and natural gas) to supply growing Chinese domestic energy usage. Again China has shown no hegemony over its trading partners and particularly with the U.S. (even though China owns trillions in U. S. debt securities).
So Gates' call for a new arms build-up to counter Chinese advances to modernize their defense forces is nothing more than our conjuring up a new potential cold war foe and to justify the unnecessary, bloated spending of our military/industrial/political complex.
It's just another propaganda effort to frighten the American people unnecessarily about a non-existent threat coming from China.
It's all rather simple; if there are no real threats against us out there, imminent or otherwise, just conjure them up.
 U.S. Will Counter Chinese Arms Buildup", by Elizabeth Bumiller, "The New York Times", January 9, 2011