Tigre tapi ou dragon de papier ?

Alors qu'il témoignait devant la Commission parlementaire américaine sur les capacités militaires chinoises, un expert militaire détaillait le programme d'armement militaire singulièrement puissant que l'Armée de libération du peuple (ALP) développe actuellement. Il mit en évidence plus particulièrement le nombre croissant de missiles balistiques de courte, moyenne et longue portée. Pourtant, cet expert concluait qu'en dépit du nombre alarmant de missiles, ils ne constituaient pas en eux-mêmes une « accumulation ».

Étonnés de cette conclusion, les parlementaires ont alors commencé à poser une question sans relâche : si les missiles existants ne constituent pas une « accumulation », quelle quantité de missiles représenterait une accumulation ? L'impossibilité d'apporter une réponse à cette question a clairement exorcisé et mis en colère l'expert aussi bien que la commission.

Ainsi cet épisode illustre un problème fondamental et frustrant : plus l'on sait ce qui se passe en Chine moins l'on est rassuré sur la menace que la Chine pourrait représenter. Nous savons que la Chine a doublé par deux fois son budget de défense militaire pour, entre autres, soutenir son programme de développement massif d'armes qui porte sur la modernisation de ses capacités nucléaires comme force de dissuasion. Pourtant, nous ne pouvons décider si cette accumulation représente une menace.

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