POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY GIDEON RACHMAN IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES
There is only a military rivalry in American eyes.
China has been explicit in policy statements that it has no intention of pursuing America's place at the top of the arms totem.
It really is important to remember that China spends a small fraction of what the U.S. does on arms.
Official numbers used to put it at 10% of American expenditure, but analysts have put a more realistic figure of 15%.
No matter how clever you are you cannot compete in an arms race spending roughly 15% of what the other fellow spends.
Of course, all those percentages assume American published figures are accurate, something which is almost certainly not the case.
America spends as much as the entire rest of human society on arms. It is also the world's largest arms merchant, contributing greatly to violence in dozens of places.
What China is doing with its military is only preparing it to defend its legitimate interests. After all, it isn't China sending warships to Chesapeake Bay or buzzing around San Francisco with spy planes.