Pentagon Uses China to Justify Huge Budget Increase

Shanahan: New spending needed to 'counter China's momentum'

President Trump’s massive $750 billion budget proposal is raising a lot of questions within Congress. Luckily for interim Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, they all have the same answer: China.

The administration may spend a lot of time talking about fighting ISIS, or confronting Russia, or border security, but when push comes to shove at an Armed Services Committee, Shanahan is emphasizing “China’s momentum” as the real driving factor for more spending.

In most cases this doesn’t make a lot of sense – the $25 billion going for nuclear weapons, for instance, is being justified by China having its own, much smaller nuclear arsenal. Yet Congress was sold on a Pacific pivot during the Obama era that never happened, and those lawmakers are all buttered up for China as an excuse.

China does have the world’s second largest military, by spending. Yet the US outspends them by several times, and China has never shown interests beyond their immediate vicinity, meaning the US is going to be spending vast sums challenge China in its own backyard, and contesting American control of seas just off the Chinese coast.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.