Is China a Long Term Threat to the United States?

There cannot be two suns in the sky, nor two emperors on the earth,”                     Confucius, 551-479 BC

Our current trade war with China will probably be resolved soon because the Chinese economy is slowing down (see chart) and the current $250 billion in tariffs on Chinese exports to the U.S. are a major contributor to this.  There is a good chance of achieving our two main goals of obtaining greater access to Chinese markets and ending intellectual property theft.

Chinese Economic Growth
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But the Chinese economy is growing much faster than ours and China’s population is four times as large.  China does have some very serious long term economic problems  but it would be shortsighted for the U.S. to expect the Chines economy to collapse any time soon.  In other words, the U.S. needs to prepare for the likelihood that the size of the Chinese economy will greatly exceed ours in the near future.

Anyone who is concerned about this should read the book, “The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s secret strategy to replace America as the global superpower,”  by Michael Pillsbury, a longtime U.S. China expert who speaks fluent mandarin.

The People’s Republic of China was founded by Mao Zedong in 1949.  No later than 2049 China will almost surely be strong enough to challenge the U.S. dominated economic and geopolitical world order founded at the end of WWII.

The hundred year marathon strategy suggests that China should, for example:

  • Induce complacency to avoid alerting the opponent
  • Be patient – for decades or longer – to achieve victory
  • Steal the opponent’s ideas and technology for strategic purposes
  • Recognize that the hegemon will take extreme action to retain its dominant position
  • Always be vigilant to avoid being encircled or deceived by others

Mr. Pillsbury has performed a great service by spelling out in detail the immense challenge the U.S. will have in containing China’s growing power and influence around the world.  How should the U.S. deal with this huge threat to its current world dominance?  Stay tuned!

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