Just when it seemed a comprise had been reached between China and the US on trade; there was the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. Arrested in Canada for extradition on December 1, Meng faces charges levied by the US Justice Department. The unusual case has come under scrutiny and garnered nervous murmurs from sectors beyond the technology and economics fields. China’s stern warning amidst Capital Hills hasty determination to ground China’s lofty economic ascent, has put many on edge with talks of both a cold war and a warm one. The arrest is tinged with a twist of irony in that Huawei has become a worldwide technology behemoth pushing US economic interests to the background.
In May 2017, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute released its annual report, indicating that among nations, the US had the highest military expenditures in its budget worldwide spending $610 Billion last year. However, China has been fast closing the gap, it increased its military budget by $12 billion in 2017; become the nation with the second largest military budget in the world. The SIPRI study found that worldwide military spending was up overall with increases in Western Europe, Asia, Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East.
Undoubtedly, the world is destabilizing as the order of power begins to shift. It seems the world stands on the precipice of a new world order as the possibility of a monetary system shift and large population migrations continue to mount. The question then is how effective is each military and it’s intelligence capacity? China has had an incredible strategy in the economic arena, pushing itself from a Western cheap labor hub to an economic powerhouse before anyone in the West had figured it out. In fact, it is possible that China’s military and intelligence prowess could be just as calculated and brilliant.
In 2008, China allocated only 5.8 percent of its budget on military spending, but in less than ten years it had more than doubled that figure to 13.5 percent. Contrast the US and China with African, Caribbean and Latin nations who saw their military spending fall. In fact Military spending in Africa overall fell by 0.5 percent according to the study. It begs the question in today’s changing world how does a nation-state protect its interests at home and abroad from threat? It doesn’t matter if one is the richest continent, if the wealth cannot be protected? It seems the US and China understand this as well as the moment in history in which we now occupy–including the important role military plays in securing economic gains.
We are now left to ponder the world’s economic future as we realize the new world order pushes forward.