Interesting read: until the the 21st Century, People's Liberation Army soldiers didn't have elastic underwear—they had to tie a knot in the rope that held up their one-size-fits-all drawers. As recently as the 1980s, helmets weren't even standard issue: "equipment for the weak."

Chinese soldier is outfitted with "the equivalent of two iPhones'" (several hundred dollars), whereas U.S. soldier wears a mid-range automobile's ($50K USD) worth of gear.