I have seen many discussions on these boards about this county and that country being the next Super Power. But, yet I have seen little proof and if
we look at past performance it is very dismal!
Let's look at the five largest militaries in the World by personel.
2) United States
5) North Korea
Very large land army of 2.3 million, with 1.5 reserve militia and 1.0 armed police for a total of 4.8 million. 50 divisions with 3 Airborne Divisions
and 2 Marine Bridgades. Very impressive.
The air force has 220,000 personnel, 100 Surface to Air Sites, 16,000 AA Guns, Just under 3,000 aircraft. So-So.
The navy has 350,000 personnel, of those 34,000 are for naval aviation, 38,000 costal defence and 56,500 marines. 700 Ship Navy of which only about 70
are capitol ships and only a handful are modern.
Recent War Performance
Vietnam (1979) - Month long war, China was unable to mobilize over half of its forces and quarter of it army. 25% casualty rate and they were
repelled, very poor performance.
Sino-Soviet Border Conflict (1969) - Very small incident, China was unable to make advances. So-so performance.
Sino-Indian War (1962) - Chinese Victory, first since the revolution and ousting of Chiang Kai-Shek. It was a mixed bag, the Chinese were unable to
advance on their victory and declared a cease fire. The Indian defence minister resigned in disgrace. Indian increased its support of the Tibetian
Korea (1952-3) - Allied with North Korea, supported North Korea against allied advances. High casualties, performance was adequate, but not strong
enough to expell the US and UN forces. They war showed the man power of China in a ground war. Very good performance. Since that time North Korea has
been a drain on China militarily and economically.
As you can see, China is barely able to project its military power beyond its own border. They are currently projecting economic power all over the
world, but if you can't back it up carrier group or a marine assault division it is what it is!
While China is modernizing it will be hard pressed to catch up to the US and NATO powers. Meanwhile unrest is building through out China, in Tibet,
Hong Kong, Manchuria, etc.
China's military is pinned down in its own land trying to hold the house of cards built on the Communist Revolution, held together by corrupt and
ruthless political leadership and pushing the day of reckoning with the introduction of free market captialism!
The other countries on the list, other than the US are not the up and coming world military powers that you think, there militaries are mainly
defensive and for internal control of their own populations.
The United States is still the 800 lb canary and its only rivals are the NATO forces and Israel.
[edit on 2/4/07 by mel1962]