Former US ambassador J.Stapleton Roy says that the US can’t start a Cold War with China because unlike Soviet Union’s economic disadvantages to the US, China’s economy has the potential to surpass the US.
Currently, China’s GDP is 73% to that of the US while at the height of the cold war Soviet Union is said to have had 30% or 40% of the US economy and both US and Soviets had a different economic system which is not the case today where China is fully integrated with US economy and other countries in the world.
Remember the Soviets had only 40% of the US economy but the cold war was intense and the Soviet Union had a strong military to threaten the US so I wonder why the US will not try the cold war-like style to China which in many terms seems to be at the same level as the US.
The US doesn’t need a bigger economy than it has to start a cold war and I can say that it’s already underway, it’s just that the chances of the US winning the cold war 1.5 are becoming less and less every day but that doesn’t mean the US won’t try.
U.S. will try all means possible including getting allies to go against China at their own expense or trying a military blockaded at sea to stop or slow China’s economic growth as means to protect its hegemonic power.
Ray says that unlike Soviet Union’s high military budget and low living standards, China’s military modernization doesn’t come at the expense of livelihood.
China’s growth delivered better living standards which is true but that doesn’t mean the US will try not to contain China’s economic growth. it’s just that prospects of the US emerging as a winner is slim since China may not encounter the same problem that led to the fall of the Soviet Union.
“Unlike Soviet Union’s selling arms and ideology, China is an economic engine to global growth which makes U.S. allies economically unwilling to choose the U.S. over china,” Roy says, but also this statement is a half-correct as some countries like Australia has already picked the U.S. over China even though China is Australia’s largest trading partner according for more than 40% of its exports.
We are seeing other countries which heavily depend on the U.S. for their own security moving to U.S. camp even though it risks their economic ties with China and such countries include Australia, the UK with AUKUS military alliance, and Japan which of recent has been more vocal about China’s activities across Taiwan, not forgetting Lithuania is under economic punishment from China for allowing Taiwan to open its office in the country under the request of U.S.
“Unlike with the Soviet Union, U.S. economy has been interconnected with China”, says Roy as he argued that decoupling will hurt the interests of both. He is right total decoupling will hurt both economies as we have seen since Trump started a trade war with China that led to global supply chain disruption but we have also seen the U.S. blacklist more than 59 Chinese companies mostly those involved in the technologies of the future like Huawei technologies the leading company in 5G technology, ZTE, and many other companies which deal in power generation, nuclear technology, shipbuilding, cotton production, aerospace Science, electronics, communication, marine, and Aviation.
The U.S may not afford full decoupling per now but it will try very hard to decouple with China in high-end technologies mostly those concerned with the future and those that help China’s military modernization as we have seen in Chips. I also must emphasize that U.S’s options against China are limited.
“Unlike Cuba missile crisis, Taiwan is closer to the Chinese army than to the U.S. and unlike Berlin crisis, Taiwan is a territorial issue which China is more determined to defend,” Roy said. its true U.S is far away from Taiwan and its chances of winning a war against China over Taiwan is almost non-existent but this does mean the U.S will not try as I heard U.S deputy secretary of defense Kathleen Hicks talk about deploying long-range weapons in Asia pacific region and a need to speed up the ability by U.S forces to integrate and get used to operating from different bases across the region in order to avoid being easily destroyed by China during a conflict over Taiwan.
My argument is that even if the U.S. had 50% of China’s economy, that would do little to prevent the U.S from trying to contain China because U.S leaders know the consequences of losing its superpowers and it seems they are ready to do anything to protect it as to whether it will succeed remains to be seen but that’s not important now as the answer is in future which most of the people living now will not have including many of our current leaders.