The Provinces of China by Toby Simkin
from Toby Simkin
U.S. Will Counter Chinese Arms Buildup, New York Times, 1/9/11
Gates might remind the Chinese leadership that trying to match U.S. expenditure on WMD is what eventually disabled the economy of the Soviet Union and caused its collapse.
But still, what is the probably the most important issue for the Chinese leadership at the moment, and perhaps was throughout modern history, is the military might and capabilities of American-British-Western European capital. (Capital largely managed since the end of WW II by U.S. investment banks.)
For nations in revolution, the suffering brought about by the military power of imperialist capital investing in war (attack and invasions or threat of attack economic blockades, etc.), has always created internal stress, the redirection of natural resources, sacrifices in development for defense expenditures, and inevitably a martial mentality.
Historians have studied the roots of investor need for wars. In the America of 1893, investors were in trouble for a cyclic obstacle to capital accumulation caused when prices are greatly lowered by overproduction. Increase in production is a result of ever further mechanization through new technology. In the years after 1893, lower prices also brought growing economic and political power to labor. Owners of capital turned to a temporary use of military at home against workers on strike, and then permanent mperialist war overseas: the military conquest of land, resources and markets.
(In the earlier British Empire, the time line for capital requiring military predominance begins after the first overproduction crisis resulting from the industrial revolution introducing mechanization in textiles at end of the 18th century.)
[A bibliography would begin with:
Origins of the Federal Reserve System, Money, Class & Corporate Capitalism 1890-1913 James Livingston, 1986]
The impersonal, amoral and often violence producing need for capital growth is described in a line from in the film Godfather, "Tell Michael it was nothing personal, I always liked him, it was just business."
At the present time, Americans don't dislike the Chinese and vice a versa. Moreover, Chinese capital is intertwined with U.S. capital. But the business interests of private capitalists have to be gotten on with, ergo, the planning for war.
Chinese capital is generating its own need to accumulate. It remains to be seen whether or not Chinese capital can be limited militarily by a nominally Communist government. History has shown that the military potential of capital in large capitalist nations cannot be contained by capitalist government.