Wal-Mart, Other American Firms Financing A Chinese Arms Race
China's help in the multiparty talks to eliminate the North Korea nuclear threat is much appreciated by the United States, but it also must be taken in a realistic regard. While attempting to eliminate any other Asian power from becoming members of the nuclear club, China is seeking to extend it's own military and that could include a buildup of nuclear arms to reach a parity level more similar to the United States 7,000 nuclear warheads in the future. Using the wealth produced in China by such corporations as Wal-Mart, China has added new nuclear tipped Sunburn cruise anti-ship missiles in the last few months, as well as six new naval destroyers to the People's Liberation Army Navy also within the last few months. Chinese military spending is now the third highest of any world nation. Chinese arms spending increases are now outpacing the growth of the Chinese economy. Chinese military spending may now top $90 billion a year. America had a $162 billion dollar trade deficit with China in 2004, up from the $124 billion trade deficit posted in 2003. Yet 32% of Chinese live on only $2 a day average. All the trade has yet to benefit many Chinese. Yet the Chinese military has greatly benefitted from this trade boom with the U.S.
While China only currently has a suspected 200 nuclear warheads, it is likely that this will grow to counter any American military strength from the 7,000 the U.S. has by weapons designed to defeat any missile shield antimissile weapons, and these could include producing a number of nuclear arms meant to overwelm America defenses, much like the 20,000 Russian warheads would in any potential conflict.
Two areas could become potential conflicts between the U.S. and China. The shortest term conflict could be over Taiwan, which seems to draw an irrational level of anger from Chinese officials. The other longer range area of possible conflict is over the growing need for world oil resources. While the U.S. economy loses many industries and continues to suffer major industry regression, still the American economy is dependent on world oil reserves, however the peak oil output of every major world oil reserve has come and passed, where production is now only kept at high levels by pumping seawater or gas into oil well reserves. In Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil well is only kept at high production levels by pumping 7 million barrels of seawater a day into this oil well and raising oil levels to the surface. And while Iran has many friendly arrangements with China, any attempt by the U.S. to have a conflict with Iran over their own nuclear program could be seen as a threat to Iranian flow of oil supplies to China. Iran and China have signed a huge oil and gas deal recently. In 2003, China imported 226 million barrels of oil from Iran, second only to oil exports from Saudi Arabia to China. But Iran controls the Strait Of Hormuz, of which all Middle Eastern oil must flow. Any attempt by the U.S. to attack Iran militarily, or by Israel to attack Iran over their own nuclear program, could worry China as a threat to their economy and supply of oil which they could fear could be falling under U.S. control, rather than independent control. The possibility for an oil based conflict are very real.
Under Bush, the U.S. seeked to prove it's power around the world by the Iraq War. But with the ground war failure for America, which proves the U.S. can only prove military dominance at a 30,000 feet air war, America has proven a weakness to other world states. Nuclear strength seems to be the key for nations such as North Korea to avoid a U.S. invasion, until a beneficial treaty with the U.S. is reached that provides security guarantees as well as massive financial aid. But Iraq further encouraged both China and Russia to maintain world "superpower " status by massive military strength, and nuclear arms are the easy shortcut to this status. Most of the G8 and other world economy members either gain world respect by a large growing economy, or some like Russia with 20,000 nuclear warheads but virtually no economy. China seems to be following a twin track effort to achieve this superpower status, a booming economy and a boomimg track of military spending both. And this may provide future conflict between the U.S. and China if Taiwan or oil flow concerns over Iran should take a bad turn. A continued trust between both the U.S. and China is vital. But a growing Chinese military does not give the U.S. experts much peace. And major U.S. corporations whose store shelves are packed with Chinese made goods are helping to fuel this military buildup.