Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

China becomes the world’s leading manufacturer, India the top arms importer

This may be the most significant national security news of the day, even bigger than the Japanese meltdowns, but you won’t see it in the Early Bird or most other defense-related news discussions. News vaults over the horizon that China has surpassed the United States in manufacturing volume, ending a 110-year long run by the ...

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

This may be the most significant national security news of the day, even bigger than the Japanese meltdowns, but you won't see it in the Early Bird or most other defense-related news discussions.

News vaults over the horizon that China has surpassed the United States in manufacturing volume, ending a 110-year long run by the Americans. My initial thought was to remember that I read a few years ago that Great Britain effectively lost World War I when it was overtaken in goods production in the late 19th century by both Germany and the United States. (I am travelling and so can't look at my World War I shelf to see where I read that -- I want to say Corelli Barnett's The Swordbearers, but that doesn't seem right.) 

This may be the most significant national security news of the day, even bigger than the Japanese meltdowns, but you won’t see it in the Early Bird or most other defense-related news discussions.

News vaults over the horizon that China has surpassed the United States in manufacturing volume, ending a 110-year long run by the Americans. My initial thought was to remember that I read a few years ago that Great Britain effectively lost World War I when it was overtaken in goods production in the late 19th century by both Germany and the United States. (I am travelling and so can’t look at my World War I shelf to see where I read that — I want to say Corelli Barnett’s The Swordbearers, but that doesn’t seem right.) 

I asked my CNAS colleague Abe Denmark, who is both very smart and is in China right now, what to think of this, and he wasn’t as worried. I hope to have more from him on this tomorrow.

Meanwhile, in other Asia-as-number-one news, I see that India has become the world’s largest weapons importer, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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