U.S. May Assess National Security Risk of Debt to China

I suspect China knows all this and is playing us for complete fools.

From Bill Black:

I’m sorry, but this passes even my ability — while in Ireland — to apply Irish humor and simply chuckle at such surpassing stupidity. Seriously, the Chairman of House Armed Services — faced with all the real threats to security (plus all the frenzied fears that beset national security considerations and all the stupid wars we wage) — decides that what he wants to talk about and legislate against is the mythical national security threat posed by China giving us lots of goods in return for small portraits of dead politicians printed on increasingly garish paper (or, more commonly, electromagnetic bits of data). Does he think the PRC has embedded nanotechnology nukes in the crud they sell to WallMart? That concern would at least be a form of paranoia we are familiar with and could treat. Reporters have to start asking for comments on these ravings. Printing them without any analysis or alternative views by someone who is qualified to explain why this claim is equivalent to my poor Aunt who believed that the dentist, on behalf of the CIA, bugged her tooth creates “moral panics” and disastrous policies. (For an example of hucksters deliberately generating “moral panics” listen to: “The Music Man” song about “Trouble in River City”).

U.S. May Assess National Security Risk of Debt to China

By Roxana Tiron

May 25 (Bloomberg) — A senior U.S. House lawmaker is pressing top military and intelligence officials to formally assess the national security risks posed by the U.S. debt owed to China.

The chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, Representative Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, a California Republican, is asking the Congressional Budget Office to determine and make public the total amount of accrued interest the U.S. has paid China over the last five years on federal debt. Once that is complete, the U.S. defense leaders must assess the national security risks, according to his draft legislation.

McKeon’s request comes as his committee this week is writing the 2012 defense authorization bill, which sets military policy and funding targets for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. The U.S. and China today will wrap up a two-day strategic and economic dialog in Washington.

“This year’s annual defense authorization bill will help Congress truly understand how much leverage China might have over the United States because of our debt, as well as the national security implications associated with the federal government’s out-of-control spending,” McKeon said in an e-mail statement.

Washington Talks

The chief of the general staff for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will visit the U.S. May 15-22, as the Obama administration seeks to improve military ties with China to match economic and political contacts. General Chen Bingde will tour U.S. military bases and hold talks with his American counterpart, Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It will be the first visit of a PLA chief to the U.S. since 2004, according to Mullen’s spokesman, Navy Captain John Kirby.

Mullen has repeatedly said that the U.S. debt is a national security issue.

Part of the national security assessment, mandated in legislation written by McKeon, would be a “discussion of any options available to China for deterring United States military freedom of action in the Western Pacific as a result of its creditor status,” according to a draft of the legislation.

China held $1.15 trillion in Treasuries at the end of February, more than any other country. Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said on May 6 that China is paying “close attention” to U.S. efforts to reduce its budget deficit.