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Increased military spending is not the way to peace with China | READER COMMENTARY

In this Oct. 10, 2021, file photo, Taiwanese soldiers salute during National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Building in Taipei, Taiwan. After sending a record number of military aircraft to harass Taiwan over China’s National Day holiday weekend, Beijing has toned down the sabre rattling but tensions remain high, with the rhetoric and reasoning behind the exercises unchanged. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying, File)
In this Oct. 10, 2021, file photo, Taiwanese soldiers salute during National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Building in Taipei, Taiwan. After sending a record number of military aircraft to harass Taiwan over China’s National Day holiday weekend, Beijing has toned down the sabre rattling but tensions remain high, with the rhetoric and reasoning behind the exercises unchanged. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying, File) (Chiang Ying-ying/AP)

Thank you so much for the important commentary, “U.S. courting a cold war with China” (Oct. 15), by Melvin A. Goodman. An especially significant point he raises is how unnecessary, and therefore profligate, are the recent increases in defense spending authorized by Congress, including the so-called “modernization” (or more specifically very expensive upgrades) of nuclear weapons. As Mr. Goodman notes, without these increases, “the size of the U.S. military is already disproportionate to the Chinese threat.”

It is only the weapons manufacturers that win from such a huge military budget; the rest of us lose due to our taxes being spent for things we don’t need while what we do need goes unfunded — like a better public health system, medical care for all, and climate protection measures. Mr. Goodman argues persuasively that instead of the current threatening posture of the Biden administration, the U.S. should focus on arms control as the way toward peace with China.

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The U.S. Department of Defense, however, is preparing for war, not arms control. Such a war with China could easily expand into a nuclear war, leading to the end of life on earth as we know it. The stakes are too high for the kind of macho posturing and misplaced planning on the part of the administration that Mr. Goodman describes. Let’s tell Maryland’s U.S. Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, plus each of our members in the U.S. House of Representatives, to vote to reduce the size of the military budget, seek dialogue with China and avoid activities that are highly provocative, such as the recent agreement to sell nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.

As Mr. Goodman states, the U.S. needs “to end the militarized approach to Asia, and institutionalize a serious bilateral dialogue.” The world is big enough for both our nations.

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Jean Athey, Baltimore

The writer is executive director of Maryland Peace Action.

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