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Eyeing China's Military

How good is China's military? And how much better might it become in the short, medium and long range future?

This may not be as titillating as the near-constant chatter surrounding Mrs. Clinton and what she did or did not say about her marriage.

But it is more important, especially as tension mounts between the independent government of Democratic Taiwan, and the Communist government of China.

No one is predicting war. But few diplomats and military people familiar with China believe that Americans have paid nearly enough attention to this matter, one that holds the potential for big trouble because it could draw the United States into a military engagement.

Despite China's lengthy and determined campaign of military modernization, the general view in the U.S. - in high and low places alike - appears to be that China hardly poses any threat to America, or American interests in maintaining peace and stability in the Pacific.

The prevailing mentality in this country appears to be that our military is so enormous and advanced, that any military China could muster should not be of serious concern.

Well, maybe so. But for one, the U.S. military is not that big anymore. It's getting smaller by the year. Secondly, China might be farther advanced with its military modernization plan than Americans have been led to believe.

Nobody wants China as an enemy. But who - if anybody - in Washington is asking the question: Are we underestimating China's military capability, present and future?

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