Theory, Arms Races, and the Prisoner’s Dilemma

Purpose: The primary goal of this weekly summative assignment is to explore some of the most important concepts and paradigms used in the study of international relations (IR). In this first week of class, you will utilize major IR theories along with the Prisoner’s Dilemma paradigm to analyze one of the most long-standing and perplexing international issues, an arms race.Prepare: Review the Introduction and Chapter 1 of the course text. In addition, read the assigned article, China’s Double-Digit Defense Growth: What It Means for a Peaceful RisReflect: The study of international relations often involves trying to describe, explain, and predict global interactions using various theoretical perspectives. Importantly, our ability to describe, explain, and predict accurately how states react to military competition, often described as arms races, is critical for expanding our understanding of global politics. Consequently, the ability not only to analyze arms races between states using established theories of international relations but also to explain these interactions using the Prisoner’s Dilemma paradigm are critical skills that all political scientists must have in order to become proficient in their chosen field of study.Write: In your assignment, complete the following:
Discuss how the article illustrates a prisoner’s dilemma.
Describe the realist, liberal, and identity perspectives reflected in the article.
Explain the best course of action for the U.S., using the Prisoner’s Dilemma paradigm as a guide.Must be at least two pages (not including title and reference pages) and formatted according to APA style Must include a separate title page with the following:
Title of paper
Student’s name
Course name and number
Instructor’s name
Date submitted

Must use at least three appropriate sources:

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These could include the article, the course text, and any of the required or recommended resources for this week.
You can also include additional resourcesMust document all sources in APA styleMust include an introductory paragraph with a succinct thesis statement.
Must include a conclusion that summarizes the main points and restates the thesis.
Must include a separate references page that is formatted according to APA style
pol255.w1.chinasdoubledigitdefensegrowth.pdf

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China’s Double-Digit Defense Growth
What It Means for a Peaceful Rise
by Richard A. Bitzinger
FOREIGN AFFAIRS, MARCH 19, 2015
 
China  has  done  it  again.  In  early  March,  it  released  its  defense  budget  for  2015,  and  as  in  
almost  every  year  for  over  almost  two  decades,  it  increased  its  military  expenditure  by  
double-­-digit   percentages.   This   year,   the   Chinese   defense   budget   will   rise   by  
10.1  percent,   to   roughly   $145   billion.   And   it   seems   likely   that   the   trend   will   continue,  
much  to  the  concern  of  Washington  and  regional  capitals.  
Already,   China   is   the   second-­-biggest   military   spender   in   the   world,   having   surpassed  
the   United   Kingdom   in   2008.   China’s   new   budget   for   the   People’s   Liberation   Army  
(PLA)  is  more  than  three  times  those  of  other  big  spenders  such  as  France,  Japan,  and  
the  United  Kingdom,  and  nearly  four  times  that  of  its  rising  Asian  rival,  India.  It  is  also  
the   only   country   besides   the   United   States   to   have   a   triple-­-digit   defense   budget   (in  
billions  of  U.S.  dollars).  
 
This   level   of   spending   is   all   the   more   remarkable   given   where   China   started.   In   1997,  
Chinese   military   expenditures   totaled   only   about   $10   billion,   roughly   on   par   with  
Taiwan   and   significantly   less   than   that   of   Japan   and   South   Korea.   Beginning   that   year,  
however,   China’s   defense   budget   began   to   rise.   There   were   two   economic   factors   that  
made   this   growth   possible.   First,   the   country’s   economy   soared;   in   1997,   defense  
spending   made   up   less   than   two   percent   of   GDP,   which   remains   roughly   the   same   share  
today,   at   least   according   to   Beijing.   Second,   low   inflation   rates   over   the   past   two  
decades  have  meant  that  real  growth  in  defense  spending  has  nearly  matched  nominal  
growth;   even   the   most   conservative   estimate   of   actual   growth   rates   (accounting   for  
inflation)  reveal  a  five-­-fold  real  increase  in  military  expenditures  since  1997.  
 
What   is   particularly   striking   about   the   growth   in   defense   spending   over   the   last   two  
decades   is   that   it   has   almost   always   outpaced   GDP   growth.   Between   1998   and   2007,  
China’s   economy   grew   at   an   average   annual   rate   of   12.5   percent,   while   its   defense  
spending   increased   at   an   average   of   15.9   percent   per   annum.   Given   that   the   economy   is  
likely   to   grow   by   only   seven   percent   in   2015,   and   its   defense   spending   is   growing   at  
double   digits,   the   disconnect   between   economic   performance   and   defense   spending   is  
becoming  more  pronounced.  
Comparing  China’s  Military  Spending  and  GDP  Growth  Rates  (Foreign  Affairs)  
 
Further,  it  is  commonly  assumed  by  many  in  the  West  that  the  official  defense  budget  
does   not   provide   a   full   picture   of   Chinese   military   spending   and   that   the   central  
government  hides  expenses  for  certain  items—for  example  research  and  development,  
arms  imports,  and  subsidies  to  defense  industries—in  other  parts  of  its  overall  budget.  
Estimates  of  additional,  off-­-the-­-books  spending  range  from  35  percent  to  50  percent  of  
total   defense   expenditures,   based   on   estimates   by   IHS   Janes   and   the   Stockholm  
International   Peace   Research   Institute,   respectively.   A   few   years   ago,   the   U.S.   Defense  
Department  asserted  that  China’s  true  defense  budget  could  be  as  much  as  double  the  
official  figure;  in  fact,  it  has  since  stopped  trying  to  figure  out  off-­-the-­-books  spending.  
Indeed,   the   exercise   in   guesstimating   “actual”   Chinese   military   expenditures   has  
become   increasingly   irrelevant.   With   an   official   military   budget   approaching  
$150  billion,   the   PLA   has   all   the   on-­-the-­-books   money   it   needs   to   underwrite   a   very  
aggressive   military   modernization   program,   and   if   the   military   wants   more,   Beijing  
appears  more  than  ready  to  provide  it.  There  is,  quite  simply,  no  reason  for  Beijing  to  
conceal  actual  military  spending,  at  least  the  overall  figure.    
 
China  is  still  opaque,  with  some  reason,  about  how  it  allocates  its  defense  budget.  The  
country   has   never   released   separate   figures   for   its   ground   forces,   navy,   or   air   force.  
Chinese  defense  white  papers  (released  every  two  years,  starting  in  1998)  once  broke  
down   spending   by   personnel,   operations   and   support,   and   “equipment”   (which  
presumably   includes   weapons   procurement   and   defense   research   and   development).  
But  that  stopped  in  2009.  
 
Still,   a   few   predictions   can   be   made   about   the   breakdown   of   this   year’s   defense  
spending.   The   white   papers   consistently   revealed   a   near-­-even   one-­-third   split   of   funding  
between   personnel,   operations   and   support,   and   “equipment.”   Since   these   ratios   have  
remained   more   or   less   constant   since   the   late   1990s,   it   is   reasonable   to   say   the   same  
breakdown   applies   today.   That   means   any   increases   in   spending   are   still   likely   to   be  
broken  down  equally  among  these  three  categories.    
 
As   a   result   of   this   equal   division   in   spending,   China’s   expenditures   on   equipment   are  
particularly  large.  In  1997,  for  example,  spending  on  equipment  totaled  about  $3  billion,  
or   roughly   32   percent   of   the   overall   Chinese   defense   budget.   In   2009   (the   last   year  
Beijing   provided   categorizations   of   its   spending   data),   equipment   still   hovered   near  
32  percent   of   the   total   military   budget   of   $58.8   billion.   If   this   roughly   one-­-third  
percentage   rate   holds   for   the   2015   budget,   then   PLA   expenditures   for   equipment   this  
year   could   be   somewhere   in   the   neighborhood   of   $48   billion.   In   comparison,   Japan  
spends   about   $8.3   billion   on   equipment   and   research   and   development;   the   United  
Kingdom,   roughly   $10   billion;   and   France,   $12   billion.   China’s   spending   on   equipment  
would  likely  include  as  much  as  $10  billion  in  military  research  and  development    
 
spending,   which   is   more   than   double   the   amount   that   all   of   Western   Europe   spends,  
combined.    
 
In  fact,  China’s  budget  for  equipment  alone  is  greater  than  the  total  defense  budgets  of  
Japan,   India,   or   any   other   Asia–Pacific   rival.   Not   surprisingly,   from   roughly   the   mid-­-
1990s   to   the   mid-­-2000s,   China   became   one   of   the   world’s   largest   arms   importers:  
buying  advanced  fighter  jets,  submarines,  destroyers,  and  transport  planes  from  Russia,  
missiles  from  Ukraine,  and  drones  from  Israel.  Since  the  early  2000s,  China  has  begun  to  
phase   out   arms   imports   in   favor   of   homegrown   weapons.   Fueled   by   an   explosion   in  
research  and  development  spending  and  the  injection  of  new  funds  to  modernize  arms  
factories,  China’s  domestic  defense  industry  has  begun  turning  out  scores  of  new,  very  
advanced   weapons   systems.   Over   the   past   decade,   the   PLA   has   produced   hundreds   of  
locally  built  J-­-10  and  J-­-11  fighters  (copied  from  the  Russian  Su-­-27);  dozens  of  modern  
destroyers,  frigates,  and  submarines;  several  types  of  new  missile  systems  (including  a  
unique   anti-­-ship   ballistic   missile);   and,   of   course,   an   aircraft   carrier   (acquired   from  
Ukraine  but  rebuilt  almost  entirely  in  China).  
 
Meanwhile,   the   PLA   has   still   had   plenty   of   money   left   over   to   increase   soldiers’   salaries,  
construct  new  barracks  and  other  facilities,  and  improve  the  rigor  of  military  training,  
such  as  preparing  for  modern,  integrated  joint  operations.  
 
Because  of  this  significant  expansion  in  its  military  power,  it  is  perhaps  not  surprising  
that  Beijing  has  grown  more  secretive  and  more  defensive  in  recent  years  in  revealing  
its  spending  breakdowns.  On  the  one  hand,  the  Chinese  government  is  presumably  loath  
to   disclose   the   details   of   its   military   expenditures   because   foreign   intelligence  
organizations   could   exploit   that   information.   Or,   more   likely,   it   simply   finds   it   too  
uncomfortable   to   reveal   its   gargantuan   procurement   and   defense   research   and  
development   budget—second   only   to   that   of   the   United   States—especially   given   the  
lengths  that  Beijing  has  gone  to  advance  its  “peaceful  development”  policies.  
 
Beijing’s   refusal   to   reveal   information   is   matched   by   an   increasingly   stiff-­-necked   and  
uncompromising   defense   of   its   military   spending.   In   a   spate   of   editorials,   the   Chinese  
government   has   stood   by   the   recent   increase,   arguing   that   it   is   “moderate   and  
reasonable,”   and   part   of   the   “new   normal”   in   the   PLA’s   ongoing   modernization.   An  
article   by   the   state   controlled  Xinhua  news   agency   asserted   that   Western   countries  
want  to  keep  China  a  “military  dwarf,”  and  that  “through  tinted  glasses,  some  Western  
countries   and   media   could   see   nothing   but   threat   regarding   China’s   military   budget.”   In  
the   east,   China   claimed   that   its   security   was   being   increasingly   challenged   by   Japan,   a  
“recidivist  trouble  maker”  with  “surging  military  ambition.”  
 
In   almost   the   same   breath,   Beijing   argues   that   its   military   expenditures   are   still  
relatively   meager.   The   latest   rise   in   defense   spending   is   the   lowest   increase   in   five  
years,  officials  claim,  and  military  spending  still  accounts  for  less  than  1.5  percent  of  the  
country’s   GDP.   They   also   assert   that   in   terms   of   per   capita   military   spending,   China’s  
defense  budget  is  still  only  one-­-fifth  of  Japan’s,  one-­-ninth  of  the  United  Kingdom’s,  and  
less  than  one-­-twentieth  of  the  United  States’.  “Current  Chinese  military  spending  is  by  
no   means   a   big   one,”  Xinhua  declares,   “for   a   country   that   has   the   world’s   largest  
population  and  a  territory  of  over  9  million  square  kilometers  to  defend.”  
 
Much   of   what   China   says   is   true   but   misleading.   For   instance,   this   year’s   10.1   percent  
rise,   although   on   the   low   side,   is   otherwise   more   or   less   in   line   with   China’s   defense  
spending  increases  over  the  past  two  decades.  That  could  mean  that  China  is  trying  to  
use   a   small   dip   in   its   spending   growth   to   downplay   its   military   spending   overall,   in  
order   to   head   off   criticism   that   it   has   issued   the   largest   defense   budget   in   China’s  
history,  and  to  bolster  Beijing’s  “peaceful  development”  approach.  
 
The   simple   fact   is   that   Beijing   is   committed,   at   least   publically,   to   sizable   defense  
spending   increases   because   China’s   leadership,   from   the   hardliner   to   the   reformer,   is  
united   around   the   central   idea   that   the   PLA   must   become   a   modern,   twenty-­-first  
century  fighting  force.  
 
Moreover,  this  view  appears  to  be  widely  shared  among  the  general  populace.  A  recent  
poll   undertaken   by   the   Australian   think   tank   Perth   USAsia   Center   found   that   the  
Chinese,   by   a   solid   majority,   backed   Beijing’s   claims   over   the   disputed   islands   in   the  
East   and   South   China   Seas.   In   addition,   a   sizable   number   (greater   than   70   percent)  
believed   that   the   PLA   could   prevail   in   any   conflict   in   those   regions,   even   if   the   United  
States   were   to   intervene   (although   most   felt   it   would   not   be   in   China’s   interest   to  
pursue  a  military  solution.)  
 
This   support   is   driven   by   two   factors:   growing   nationalism   and   the   government’s   active  
promotion   of   historical   victimization   and   ongoing   vulnerability—particularly   through  
its   20-­-year-­-long   “patriotic   education”   campaign,   which   downplays   the   faults   of   the  
country’s   leaders   and   emphasizes   the   brutality   committed   against   China   by   “evil”  
foreign  powers.  As  one  Chinese  official,  when  defending  the  most  recent  defense  budget  
increase,  put  it,  “our  lesson  from  history—those  who  fall  behind  will  get  bullied—this  is  
something   we   will   never   forget.”   In   this   regard,   too,   a   modernized   PLA   dovetails   well  
with   Chinese   leader   Xi   Jinping’s   “China   dream,”   a   vision   of   a   “rejuvenated”   and  
“revitalized”  China.  If  China  wants  to  be  a  great  power,  it  requires  a  powerful  military.  
Consequently,   the   “rich   nation,   strong   army”   ideal   resonates   with   much   of   China’s  
population.  
 
Military  Expenditures  in  Billions  of  U.S.  Dollars  (Foreign  Affairs)  
 
What   does   a   rising   Chinese   defense   budget   mean   for   the   United   States?   Certainly   the  
United  States  continues  to  be  the  bigger  spender,  outpacing  China  on  defense  by  a  factor  
of   four   to   one.   Moreover,   by   nearly   every   metric—quantity   and   quality   of ? …
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