After on Tuesday the Senate passed the massive $778 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with a vote of 89 to 10, China's state media is busy hyping the ramp-up in US military spending as signaling near future escalation over Taiwan.
The NDAA is now headed to President Biden's desk, and will become law with his signature. The bill designated $740.3 billion for the Pentagon, $27.8 billion for the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons program, and $9.9 billion for "Defense-related Activities Outside NDAA Jurisdiction." Crucially also listed within defense department programs is $7.1 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI).
The Pacific Deterrence Initiative will not only seek more US troops in the Asian Pacific region in order to "better confront China" - but there are long-standing plans in place to establish a network of long-range missiles near China. The only thing is there have been no readily willing allies who want to be the first to host such missiles, given they'll immediately become "target #1" for Chinese defenses.
A new Thursday report in state-run English daily Global Times focuses on the $7+ billion in counter China efforts, saying it's all about propping up pro-independence forces in Taiwan: "Judging from items in the act, Chinese observers said an escalation in the collusion between the US and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority is likely and the mainland should be prepared in strategy and military tactics to respond to further provocations," the GT report says.
Highlighting language in the 2022 NDAA which signals Taiwan's Navy will likely be invited to participate in the US-led Rim of the Pacific exercise (RIMPAC) conducted in 2022, GT cites a Chinese military analyst who says Beijing must "prepare for the worst" in terms of provocations surrounding the Taiwan issue...
The Chinese mainland should "prepare for the worst" and get ready, in strategy and military tactics, for any scenario amid the worsening cross-Straits situations and China-US rivalry, Song said, as the US has lost multiple "handles" to contain China, including Hong Kong and Xizang (Tibet), which will make it play the "Taiwan card" hysterically.
Given also US-Russia tensions over Ukraine and NATO's expanding presence over the past years in Eastern Europe, the GT analysis concluded that the Pentagon's bloated budget demands the constant creation of hyped external threats:
Li said the shockingly high and continuously rising military budget is the foundation for the US to maintain its hegemonic status worldwide. To justify the high spending, the US has to create conflicts, crises and hype "external threats," which only demonstrates that the US is the "destroyer of world peace."
Graphic by Global Times comparing defense spending by other major powers...
Lately the US has been clearly beefing up its presence in the South China Sea region, which has included the US having conducted over 2,000 sorties in the waters near China’s coast, according to Chinese researchers compiling figures last month, which is more than double that of the previous year.