Nearly two years ago the Colonel rocked the geopolitical world with his mastery of the obvious (http://www.thecolonelscorner.blogspot.com/2008/05/coming-war-with-china.html). In that widely-read post (the Colonel had to remove a boot to count the total readers), the Colonel posited that war with the Peoples Republic of China was a looming inevitability--the causes for which could be seen mirroring, to no little extent, those that preceded and precipitated the war in the Pacific between these re-United States and the Empire of Japan in the last century.
Comes to the Colonel's attention this first glorious day of the month following the calendar period designated Scourge of Humanity Month by the Peoples' Representative (singular and sovereign) of the Tallahatchie Free State, the following article: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6200P620100301 wherein is reported recently published books by senior officers in the Peoples Liberation Army calling for Chinese military preparations to defeat the United States in a war for global hegemony. The article quotes PLA Senior Colonel Liu Mingfu, the author of The China Dream, as saying that his call for an aggressive military stance versus the United States reflects "...a tide of [Chinese] thought [that]...we need a military rise as well as an economic rise." Demonstrating that the prescience possessed by the writer of this blog is not limited to the few remaining cognitive cells laying fallow in the amorphous goo in the recesses of the Colonel's brain-housing group, the above article also quotes the author of another similarly veined book, Colonel Dai Xu as saying, "I'm very pessimistic about the future. I believe that China cannot escape the calamity of war, and this calamity may come in the not-too-distant future, at most in 10 to 20 years."
While most of the rest of the world has wallowed in economic recession, the Chicom economy has continued to experience robust expansion, proceeds from which have fueled an unprecedented expansion of military spending and force modernization. Over the last decade, defense spending (at least what they claim to be spending--actual expenditures are probably much higher) by the PRC has increased at an annual rate of over 15%. By comparison, the military budget of these re-United States has increased at an average rate of only 9%, during a time, need not the Colonel remind you gentle readers, of ongoing extensive military operations in the undeclared war against Islamo-fascism. True, the U.S. defense budget is nearly 9 times that of the Chicoms'. But, the United States is far more generous to its military personnel during and after their military service, and personnel costs (pay, housing, medical care, and other "quality of life" expenditures) make up nearly a quarter of the U.S. defense budget. Maintaining a significant worldwide military presence and keeping global alliance commitments also represents a huge cost not presently incurred by the Chinese. As a result, the PRC has been able to devote a larger proportion of their increased military spending to modernization of a force that is rapidly becoming capable of standing toe-to-toe with the United States military in a contest for control of the Pacific.
The Chinese population, rapidly approaching 1.5 BILLION souls, has enjoyed significant, if uneven, increases in quality of life and economic vitality. Chinese national pride is, as was evident to the world during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, at an all-time high. The ruling elite's 20th Century concern for filling the bellies of the Chinese people has been supplanted by a need to feed their growing 21st Century national aspirations. The Chicom ruling elite must also appease the Peoples Liberation Army, without whose strength they could not maintain control of the people; and the proud PLA desires above all else to grow and bypass the United States military as the world's greatest. Finally, rapid Chinese economic growth has created a massive hunger for energy and resources beyond the capability of their own territory to provide.
All of the above is a snapshot of a situation not unlike that in which the Empire of Japan found itself in the early part of the 20th Century.
We all know how that turned out.