You have just lost your most powerful ally and you are forced to watch as US forces lay waste to Saddam's armies, who are using technology similar to your own.
This was the reality for China at the time. It is likely that this is what triggered China's massive military growth since then. Over the past 20 years, the Pentagon has become increasingly concerned over the growth of China's military prowess.
As you may have been able to tell from my post on Red Dawn, the astonishing rapid growth of China’s military is of serious concern to me. I recently came across an article on China’s new Dong Feng 21D SSM. US security officials believe this missile is capable of sinking a Nimitz class Aircraft Carrier, something no country was ever capable of doing. It has always pondered me as to why China would need such sophisticated military equipment. China’s only real “enemy” is Taiwan, but they pose almost no threat. This could only mean that China feels threatened by the the US and the Western powers in general, but China has no reason to feel threatened by America as long as they do nothing too aggressive on the world stage. That brings up the question, what are China’s long term intentions? China’s military spending has had an annul increase in the double digits for over a decade. China claims all of that money is going toward “defense”, but as I said above, defense against what? Why do I feel this kind of military build up has been done before? By a certain island nation not far away less than a century ago?
Oh thats right! Japan! Despite having no real enemies, Japan spent the latter part of the 19th century building its military, with the intent of creating an empire in the pacific, particularly in attempt to usurp China as the reigning power of the eastern world. Surely enough, Japan soon invaded China in the first Sino-Japanese War, starting a deadly chain of events that would eventually lead to the Pacific War.
Now switch the positions of China and Japan, and keep in mind Japan is used by the United States to assert its influence in the pacific. Scary isn’t it? It leads me to wonder if China is attempting to challenge America’s influence in East Asia. So far it is only doing so through intimidation, but it doesn’t take much for things to turn bloody. Im not so sure China is intending on creating an empire, but they certainly see America as a roadblock in asserting dominance in East Asia. It seems like this military build up has the intention pushing America out through intimidation and if necessary, through force.
For those conspiracy theorists out there who want to dig into this topic more, there are some interesting documents worth reading: