Gongol.com Archives: April 2024

Brian Gongol

April 29, 2024

News The case for more teamwork

The American Enterprise Institute has published a paper which estimates that China is spending much more on its military than the country publicly reports, and even more than the intelligence community serving the United States has openly estimated. The estimated amount is very similar to what the US itself devotes to military spending, and far more than Russia, which has the world's third-largest defense budget. ■ Spending alone doesn't amount to a guarantee of results; the Soviet Union spent prodigiously on its military and all it got in the end was bankruptcy and collapse. But seeing a country run by a regime with hostile habits and intentions raise the stakes like that should be enough to alert the United States that now is an essential time to build and keep good alliances. ■ In so many ways, the US is capable of unilateral action. That's what having a quarter of the entire planet's GDP will buy. But capability isn't the same as strategy. ■ Strategically, we need mutual commitments. Not deals that merely reward us for having the upper hand or that hold a sword of Damocles over our counterparties, like China's government has been so fond of implementing. Contrary to the empty-headed hostility to cooperative action expressed by some isolationists, our best hopes lie in engaging with friendly countries on win-win terms. ■ And where we can advance the rule of law, individual liberty, and a decent respect for human rights by making new or deeper diplomatic friendships, we should. The deeper the global reservoirs of goodwill and commitment to liberal values, the higher the costs to adversaries who would try to harm the order which those values sustain.

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