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Temper your expectations about China, as it’s got to buy its weapons from the Russians:

The bluster about the emergence of a superpower is undermined by national defense industries that can’t produce what China needs. Although the United States is making changes in response to China’s growing military power, experts and officials believe it will be years, if not decades, before China will be able to produce a much-feared ballistic missile capable of striking a warship or overcome weaknesses that keep it from projecting power far from its shores.

The Chinese are building their first aircraft carrier, but they can’t manufacture “a reliable engine for a military plane.” Its carrier-killer missile may be progressing at an impressive rate of development, but it’s not going to be ready for a long time. Meanwhile, it’s got to reorient its regional diplomacy after its bluster drew its neighbors into re-embracing the U.S. Navy. It’s only a matter of time before the Chinese manufacturing base gets over this hump, but our investments in military technology are far more impressive and it’s all in our muscle memory.

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Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

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